(Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf)
The term Industry 4.0 is now attracting significant attention in this part of the world, though it has to be said that few know exactly what it means. The Government has adopted a high-tech strategy aimed at driving Germany forward as a global innovation leader, with Industry 4.0 but one of ten future-oriented projects.
A reliable, sustainable and transparent supply of raw materials is an important factor for the development of future technologies – and not just from a national viewpoint but more importantly at corporate level too. Strategic resources, as they are called, play a key role in modern industrial production processes and innovations and are a vital factor in Germany’s development as a high-tech business location. It is against this background that the concept of Mining 4.0 is creating a link between Industry 4.0 and the research and development activities under way at our mining universities and at many of our mining supplier firms as part of the smart mining initiative. The German mining supplies sector, which for decades has been a technology trendsetter on a global level, will only be able to keep up with events in the international mining industry by successfully incorporating reliable technology, high-tech features, innovative business models and social trends – including aspects of occupational safety, health and environmental protection – when developing new products.
There is a general consensus that the mining sector needs to do some catching up when it comes to the digitisation of its processes, yet technologies are available that will help make up the current deficiencies. The rapid development of digital technology, i.e., offers all kinds of design possibilities in the field of automation. Fully-integrated systems with (semi-) autonomous machines that can move and operate reliably in and through various environments and make independent decisions without human intervention are already part of today’s mining reality.
The greatest concern in the years ahead will be to tie up all the “loose ends”. Here the main themes can be described with keywords such as The Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud Computing and communication.
This issue of Mining Report Glückauf provides an overview of the current framework conditions and the status quo from a Mining 4.0 perspective. It also seeks to identify the problems that exist in this area and goes on to describe the strategies and solutions that have been devised and other potential developments that may be coming our way.
With my best regards
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte
Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Herne