Nearly all industries can benefit from innovative technology. Now, with the rise of 3D printing, 3D scanning and the accessibility of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), it's time for one of Australia's largest industries to make the most of these opportunities.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the country's mining industry had a value of $124 billion at the end of 2014. With further plans for exploration and expansion, the industry is perfectly positioned to bring innovative practices into its daily operations.
Here are three that could find a place in your mining business.
1. 3D printing
There are few industries yet to reap the benefits of 3D printing technology, with its role in prototyping and faster design processes at a fraction of the price of traditional manufacturing enticing businesses across the country.
Accenture confirmed that 3D printing is likely to have notable effect on the mining industry, particularly for businesses that are essential the industry's supply chain. The firm believes that 3D printing's most significant asset for the sector is in the ability to reduce the costly downtime that results from part or equipment failure.
The specialised nature of the equipment that mining demands means that replacements or repairs are often either expensive, difficult to get hold of or both. The comparatively quick production time associated with 3D printing could make this process both cheaper and more efficient.
However, Accenture believes there are challenges to overcome before this can become a widespread solution, as businesses will have to be sure 3D printers are capable of creating products that can match up to the safety standards expected in mining situations.
2. 3D scanning
Safety is one of the essential operating conditions of any industry, and in mining especially. In these cases, it's imperative that mining operators have a perfect idea of the environment in which they will be working.
3D scanning takes the process of surveying to a new level, creating a virtual recreation of the spaces where workers are exploring or preparing to mine. A report from The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy believes the main benefits of the technology will be in health and safety and accident inspection processes.
3. UAV aerial surveying
UAV aerial surveying allows mining technicians to obtain a unique view of the landscape before a project commences, making them an essential tool in the exploration process.
Another option is to monitor existing facilities with UAVs, as the devices can be used to inspect locations that are difficult to reach otherwise.
For further information on the way emerging technologies are changing industries, download our free whitepaper on 3D printing.
Redstack offer a range of solutions for mining professionals, including 3D print solutions, 3D scanning solutions, aerial solutions, CAD software and more. Contact us or visit redstack.com.au for pricing and further details.