The mining industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by safety and productivity, and the growing importance of technologies that support the monitoring and management of operations, utilizing sensors, communication systems and artificial intelligence (AI). In the last three years alone, there have been over 62,000 patents filed and granted in the mining industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in mining: remote tunnel monitoringBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 70,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the mining industry, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Remote tunnel monitoring is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Underground tunnel monitoring systems deploy network of sensors over proprietary communication networks to provide critical information such as the structural and geotechnical behavior of a tunnel and underground conditions, underground workers and assets, helping to maximize worker safety as well as identify areas for maintenance, if any.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established mining companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of remote tunnel monitoring.

Key players in remote tunnel monitoring – a disruptive innovation in the mining industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to remote tunnel monitoring

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Sandvik 9 Unlock Company Profile
Strata Products Worldwide 9 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 4 Unlock Company Profile
Cniguard 4 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President Enterprises 4 Unlock Company Profile
Tian Di Science & Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Guangqi Intelligent Photonics Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shandong Hi-Speed Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
China Coal Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Sichuan Lexi Expressway 1 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway Eighteenth Bureau Group Third Engineering 1 Unlock Company Profile
Changzhou Lianli Automation Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Avic Intelligent Measurement 1 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 1 Unlock Company Profile
Bgrimm Technology Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Printing Mechanical & Electrical 1 Unlock Company Profile
The No. 1 Engineering Of China Railway Beijing Engineering Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Sincode Science & Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Ping An Kaicheng Intelligent Safety Equipment 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Chuangli Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
China State Construction Engineering 1 Unlock Company Profile
Datang Telecom Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hakim Information Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
China National Petroleum 1 Unlock Company Profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 1 Unlock Company Profile
Huaibei Mining Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 1 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Oracle 1 Unlock Company Profile
China United Network Communications 1 Unlock Company Profile
Fu Qiang 1 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Zhongkuanghuawo Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Strata Worldwide is one of the leading patent filers in remote tunnel monitoring. Strata Worldwide’s wireless tracking and monitoring mesh network enables underground communications, real-time tracking, monitoring, and control throughout tunnel and tunnel boring machine (TBM). These include two-way voice, text and data communications, personnel and asset tracking, atmospheric condition monitoring and gas detection, and control of fans, belt drives and pumps.

Sandvik, another key patent filers in this space, offers a remote monitoring service, which allows for the prevention and prediction of breakdowns. The technology ensures timely maintenance, decreases unplanned downtime, and enhances operator competence development and safety.

In terms of application diversity, Cniguard leads the pack, while Schlumberger and Shandong Hi-Speed Group stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Strata Products Worldwide held the top position, followed by Sandvik and Cniguard.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the mining industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Mining.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.