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February 24, 2020updated 06 Jul 2020 1:54pm

Wearable tech in mining: Key trends revealed

Wearables are evolving into important tools in the expanding IoT landscape, driven by a combination of technological progress, on one hand, and market demand on the other. Some technology experts believe wearables will be the next big consumer technology, with their impact similar to that of the smartphone. GlobalData expects wearable technologies to have a significant impact in specific areas such as healthcare, fitness, logistics, fintech, insurance, and defense.

By GlobalData Thematic Research

Listed below are the leading wearable tech trends in the mining industry, as identified by GlobalData.

Workforce safety and injury prevention

Minimising workplace injuries is one of the most important aspects of wearable tech. In mines, a worker can be exposed to risks of injury due to hazardous terrain or working around heavy machinery. Wearable technologies such as smart helmets can be employed to assess the health and wellbeing of workers. They can also provide essential support and assistance..

US-based Guardhat has developed a smart helmet that features sensors that can detect workers’ safety in their immediate surroundings.

Real-time monitoring and inspection

A major aspect of wearable technology is to maintain and inspect equipment to minimise downtime. The failure of major equipment may cost millions to a company. In case of critical issues, technicians require an expert’s help. However, bringing experts from onshore offices to offshore mines increases the overall expenses and time for the inspection and repairing of equipment.

Smart glasses or smart helmets could be useful in reducing the time and cost of inspection and repairing. They can provide relevant data, schematics, maps, charts and other related information to the field engineer. Wireless connectivity can also assist a field engineer receive expert guidance in real time. This could ultimately reduce the cost of maintenance, while increasing the productivity and uptime of the equipment.

Resource tracking

Wearable technology can be used to efficiently track the workforce during mine operations. Using location-based technologies and wireless connectivity, the device can feed a worker’s real-time location to the monitoring centre. In the case of emergencies it can help to quickly remove workers from hazardous events.

Canadian-basedK4 Integration incorporates RFID tags into personalised hard hats for each worker, providing mine supervisors with real-time information of their location and the state of the mine.

This is an edited extract from the Wearable Tech in Mining – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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