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THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENHANCE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE MINING SECTOR

J. Brodny
Thursday 11 October 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

The dynamic changes occurring in recent years in the global industry have been referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. The main assumption behind this concept is extensive implementation of IT and ICT developments into production processes. Production processes should make maximum use of the latest technologies, thus leading to the creation of intelligent factories in the end. In such a factory, wireless network systems are supposed to quickly and reliably combine all the components of the production process. The results of quick processing of large amounts of data are supposed to facilitate optimisation of the production process by adapting it to the individual needs of customers and market changes. One of the sectors where these changes can contribute to the improvement of results is mining, including hard coal mining. Through implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT), the Polish hard coal mining industry may become one of the largest beneficiaries of the fourth industrial revolution. The article presents the general assumptions behind the changes occurring in the global industry by referring them to the extractive sector. Areas of the extractive sector have been identified where these changes could be implemented most quickly and effectively. In the Author’s opinion, the area where these changes can be quickly implemented without much investment is the operation of mining machines. This is because the manufacturers of most of these machines have already made them compatible with advanced ICT systems. Taking advantage of this potential paves the way for the optimisation of their work as well as for the improvement of their effectiveness and operational safety. The possibilities of using parts of large databases concerning the working parameters of selected mining machines have been presented in the paper. A crucial role in terms of the efficiency of the changes implemented is also played by relevant preparation of employees. Experience shows that, despite the possibilities of identifying the operating conditions of machines, including – above all – their failures, such possibilities are rarely used. This is due to the fact that putting into practice such significant changes as those brought by the fourth industrial revolution requires adequate mental preparation also amongst the crew of a given enterprise. It turns out that, in a number of cases, this aspect may determine the speed and efficiency of the changes to be implemented. However, it is appropriate to state that the changes brought by the fourth industrial revolution may represent a great opportunity for the development of the mining sector.

Keywords: fourth industrial revolution , mining sector, mining machines, effectiveness.


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