Technology company Continental is actively driving the development of digital solutions for the mining sectors of the future.

“The efficient and safe construction site of the future will not operate without digital mortar. Connected smart construction vehicles and machines are among the basic elements ensuring faster, safer and, above all, more efficient operations on construction sites,” declares Hans-Jürgen Duensing, a member of the Continental Executive Board.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 3, 2019

“Mining sites are the starting point for future mobility. Roads have to be constructed and railway tracks laid. Therefore, the mining sector is a key industry and an indispensable part of our world now and in the future,” adds Duensing.

Continental has been focusing on service and consultancy concepts allowing drivers, fleet managers and operators of quarries and sand and gravel pits to measurably increase their productivity.

The portfolio also includes predictive maintenance concepts for greater operational reliability, solutions for reducing downtime and systems to enable drivers and fleet managers to navigate the flood of information.

All this is underpinned by sensors that monitor the fundamental components in machinery and vehicles. The company supplies assistance systems and solutions for monitoring surroundings in response to the trend towards fully automated vehicles and machines.

Clients benefit from the fact that Continental offers a one-stop shop for complete system solutions, says Duensig.

“Starting with the know-how for components such as tyres and air springs, then moving on to sensors that monitor them and the electronic systems, software programming and connectivity solutions to process the data, right through to fleet management software and the driver's workplace where this data is processed and displayed. Together, these yield comprehensive, solutions for efficient processes, a safe working environment and effective machine handling in the construction and mining industries.”

Optimised route management

Continental’s tyre portfolio includes EM-Master for wheel loaders, RDT-Master for rigid dump trucks and Conti CrossTrac for trucks.

In its new ContiLogger consultancy concept, the company is also bringing together tyres, hardware, software and data into an innovative service approach. It uses a range of components in order to capture data such as tyre pressure and temperature as well as vehicle and topographic data in real-life applications.

With the aid of the data collected, recommendations can be developed for optimised route management, loading or tyre use. Consequently, users can not only identify whether a tyre is being overloaded or underused and thus extend tire lifetime but can also adapt operational processes so that overall productivity is increased.

Remote conveyor belts monitoring systems

The issue of service remains a focus for conveyor belt systems. To this end, Continental ensures safe and efficient operations especially by means of remote condition monitoring systems. Sensors monitor every movement of the conveyor belt and inspect the surfaces or the integrity of the steel cords in real time.

Databases store the information, while algorithms analyse it and know when the belt requires servicing. In this way, the company is laying the groundwork for new business models such as pay-per-ton or the predictive maintenance of components or systems.

In addition, a new air spring system with an integrated sensor system provides permanent information about the operating status in real time. Day-to-day operations of industrial applications are becoming more efficient thanks to the smart air spring.

The air spring can now supply precise and reliable information on its status, eg. pressure, temperature and height. All operations and processes will become safer, simpler and more efficient as a result – especially in the fields of control and monitoring.

Duensig adds that Continental in currently developing a new surround view system. The ProViu 360 digital camera system, which helps in avoiding accidents and incidents, provides images in HD.

“The system assists drivers, showing them all the important data on an uncluttered display. This is made possible by the four-megapixel cameras and a further developed control unit.

The digital camera system can be adapted to the relevant application field to support a very wide range of activities,” adds Duensig. “It is therefore not just suitable for an all-round overview.

It can also, for instance, combine additional sensor information from the vehicle with the camera images and analyse its own video information. The ProViu 360 system is scheduled to begin production in 2020,” he concludes.

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