A key part of mining operations is not just about having the right equipment or methods in place but being able to properly maintain them. Many businesses within the mining industry are looking to revolutionise their processes and raise the standards within their workplace. For this to occur, top-level management and advanced maintenance systems must be in place. This is why many organisations across industries are choosing to integrate paperless solutions within their daily processes. For most mining businesses, paperless checklists such as mining maintenance notification forms are crucial to understanding what needs to be attended to, and what is currently working well. Simple or complex, these forms can trigger notifications to the right maintenance department in the form of a safety issue, corrective action, maintenance request or a simple ‘all clear’ notice. Within these forms there are often opportunities to describe the findings in more detail using visual aids in the form of photos and annotated images/drawings, as well as GPS and timestamps.
Another important aspect of mining operations to consider is their electrical compliance and safety. This can also have a huge impact on the long-term efficiency of processes, safety envronment and profitability of the organisation. Just like more general mining maintenance checklists, electrical reporting can take advantage of mobile device features. Reports can include subsections on training and employee compliance with regulations as well as section on the suitability of the electricians and electrical safety procedures. For electrical testing, a common misconception is that mobile devices themselves present an issue in certain working environments. Whilst true to some extent with regular consumer devices in certain high-risk environments, the majority of mining workplaces are still safe for use. For those areas deemed high-risk, there is now the possibility to use IECEx-certified intrinsically-safe devices [Zone 1 or 2]. This allows inspectors to take their device anywhere in order to measure things like voltage, zone safety, permit and lockout procedures etc.
Key Features in Modern Paperless Inspection Applications:
Speech recognition has dramatically improved over the previous years and is now a viable way of inputting information fast. The almost standard feature on phones can be useful when a truly ‘hands-free’ approach is required, as well as for making more casual notes and recordings.
With internet connectivity still not guaranteed everywhere you might go, its highly useful to be able to applications and the reporting mechanisms offline. Whilst the internet is needed to send data to the back-end server, reporting can still often be carried out without being online.
Many applications provide some form of tracking of assets, marrying report history with a listed equipment piece. What is more exclusive to the premium applications today is full life-cycle tracking from cradle to grave. This allows a more dynamic ROI to be calculated using age against actual use, a more accurate way in measuring performance and planning your budgets.
A crucial part of any maintenance, safety or management system is having an integrated trigger notifications system. This can include emailing of reports to the necessary stakeholders, informational updates to maintenance teams or simple reminders of compliance procedures and inspections that needs completing.
Businesses often need to upload important documents and checklists to ensure that all equipment operators have the necessary information in order to carry out their activities. This also includes past reports as well as reference manuals which can provide valuable insights into asset performance.
Cloud (SaaS) or on premise hosting
Many paperless applications give no option of hosting, but where premium paperless applications show their value is in the choice of hosting. This can be hosted remotely via SaaS (Software as a Service) or on a private in-house server. This ensures that whatever IT needs a business might have can be catered for.
Customisation and configuration
Where basic paperless applications really struggle compared with premium paperless solutions is the customisation abilities that the user, businesses or management have. This can be on a checklist, asset management, interface, automatic notifications, business intelligence or report content level. Customisation and tailoring are key to the paperless system working well with your mine in a seamless fashion.
Perhaps the most important feature of any paperless inspection solution is the support team behind the product/service. Premium solutions often provide global support 24/7 via phone, email or on site meetings, with user groups demonstrations and on-site visits.
When selecting a mining maintenance inspection solution, its important to remember what is important for your business. What is crucial to success and what can transform your current situation. After establishing this, its important to select a trusted, experienced provider that can tailor a paperless solution to your needs.