Predictive Maintenance & IoT Impact on Mining

Predictive Maintenance & IoT Impact on Mining

The mining industry is one of the oldest & most hazardous commercial sectors where the use and implementation of modern technology are very gradual. Mining companies utilize a plethora of expensive equipment in a high stakes & cost environment. In these cases, asset health is critical to the safety & profitability of the mine.

This is where IoT-driven Predictive maintenance can be a gamechanger. It has the potential to collect and analyze environmental and equipment data instantaneously and conduct real-time risk and area evaluation. It reduces the risk of downtime & loss due to machine failure and reduces overall maintenance & spare part costs of high capital-intensive machinery. The application of IoT in the mining industry is quintessential because of its advantages for large-scale operations in mining, where the operating environment is constantly changing & workforce operates in a compact, adapting, and potentially hazardous environment.


Let’s first try to understand the what makes maintenance for the mining industry difficult:

Challenges in the mining industry

Disruptive & exorbitant impact of equipment failure in mines Equipment failure is the worst nightmare for mines. A standard mining operation spends 35-50 percent of its yearly operations budget on just asset maintenance & repairs. Unpredictable equipment failure can disrupt production & a considerable dent in the bottom line.
Remote monitoring of equipment at far-off locations Mines are typically located far away from civilization. So in case of unplanned downtime, it takes time to get expert maintenance personnel and spare parts to reach, diagnose and repair the equipment. These transportation delays & costs impact the budget as well as profitability.
Workforce safety depending on asset health Worker health & safety remains a big concern in the mining industry due to the difficult working conditions. Furthermore, as mines get deeper, the likelihood of a collapse & danger increases. While safety in mines has improved dramatically over the years, the fatalities caused by asset malfunction are a big reason for on-site hazards.
Unreliable connectivity options Additionally, because more mines are constructed in off-grid locations, providing stable electrical infrastructure to power mining operations and appropriate water supply becomes increasingly tricky. Connectivity is limited or unreliable, particularly in underground mines, and the 3G/4G signals may be difficult to pick up in remote regions.

Types of machine maintenance in mining

The different types of machine maintenance are:
  1. Reactive Maintenance/ Run-to-Failure Maintenance: This refers to repairs performed after a machine has already failed and it is unexpected and thus leads to emergency rushed repairs.
  2. Preventive Maintenance: This refers to any planned or scheduled machine maintenance that aims to identify and repair problems before they cause failure. It can be annual/bi-annual. But it cannot prevent asset failure between two schedules or unnecessary downtime.
  3. Condition-based Maintenance: It focuses on monitoring the current status of assets to undertake maintenance when evidence of decreasing performance or approaching breakdown is detected.
  4. Predictive Maintenance: It expands on condition-based maintenance by utilizing instruments and sensors to continuously evaluate machinery performance & flagging off any anomaly and its root cause before it results in a full-blown asset failure.

Predictive Maintenance in mining can cause many benefits – direct & indirect.

Some of the benefits of Predictive Maintenance are:

  • Reduced Downtime: Utilizing predictive maintenance, you can anticipate troubles ahead of time, decrease machine downtime, increase uptime by 15-20%, schedule maintenance as needed, and thus extend the life of an old machine by up to 20%.
  • Increasing Productivity: It ensures that both planned and unplanned downtime is kept to a minimum, resulting in fewer interruptions to production and a significant increase in overall productivity.
  • Higher Production Capacity: Asset availability of high performing & critical assets in mines helps plan and optimize production capacity, which is crucial for effective management & production planning and staying on schedule.
  • Lowered Maintenance & Spare Part Costs: Maintenance and spare part costs are significantly lower for preventative maintenance since all machines in the manufacturing process are continuously monitored and repaired before a problem becomes severe.
  • Enhancing Workplace Safety: Predictive maintenance can reduce the risk of work-related accidents by identifying any discrepancies that could lead to an accident on-site. Predictive maintenance ensures a sanitary and healthy environment in the plant while reducing safety risks by up to 14%.
  • Proactive Decision Making: The implementation of IoT enables mining maintenance managers to detect when there is a breakdown or a drop in performance, enabling them to react quickly and effectively. In addition, monitoring, obtaining, and analyzing data from particular mining equipment over a period may help them understand how the overall efficiency of the process itself can be improved.


The mining industry has been a critical sector globally for centuries. With the right Predictive Maintenance solution, mine maintenance managers can ensure that the production continues without impacting commercial efficiency while ensuring worker safety. A sound & functioning asset also ensures a greener footprint and fewer hazards, proving to be less dangerous for the environment.

Want to know more about how a competent Predictive Maintenance solution by Infinite Uptime is helping some of the largest mining companies improve asset & operational efficiencies?

Decoding IT/OT Convergence: A Guide on Understanding IT and OT

Decoding IT/OT Convergence: A Guide on Understanding IT and OT

As IoT grows synonymous with digital transformation & advancements in manufacturing, it has also led to a wave of change on the shop floor. This is a significant result of IT/OT Convergence, which led to faster decision-making, better collaboration, and a single source of truth across the organization.

But what does the IT/OT Convergence do with IoT, though? How are IoT, Information Technology (IT), and Operational Technology (OT) connected? For starters, they have the same three letters appearing in some sequence in all three abbreviations, but what more do these three have in common?

It’s essential to understand these terms before analyzing the IT/OT convergence.


What is Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT)?

Until IoT became a thing, there were two distinct worlds – traditional OT systems, which have machines, devices, and other industrial equipment, and more digital IT systems that handle everything related to computers, servers, storage, networking, and others. It’s been a while since the two worlds crossed over into one – IoT. To put this in simpler terms using an application of IoT, the smart devices in our homes today that are automated are a perfect example. These devices are part of a network that combines the prowess of both IT and OT systems to automate seemingly mundane human tasks like switching on and off lights. Now that we understand how IT/OT convergence happens, let’s look at IT/OT definitions with some jargon. As the name suggests, Information Technology (IT) includes computers, servers, and networking devices to create, process, store, and exchange all forms of electronic data in a secure manner. For a manufacturing environment, it can be hardware like laptops and servers and software for ERPs, inventory management, and other business-related tools.On the other hand, Operational technology focuses on managing and controlling physical devices operating globally. For manufacturing, it can include systems like MES, SCADA, PLCs, and CNCs that monitor & control the processes on the shop floor.

How does IT/OT Convergence help in Manufacturing? Converging various aspects of technology is as old as technology itself. Integrating and interoperating different technologies can increase efficiency, cut down costs, and improve the workflows of multiple applications.

Earlier, the OT teams would handle everything that came under the purview of operations, keeping the plant running smoothly. On the other hand, the IT team runs business applications smoothly from the head office. They would only collaborate for one-off tasks like unplanned downtime, an untoward security incident etc., without any real collaboration.

The data for both teams was available in silos with no single source of truth-giving birth to communications issues, blind spots in processes and delayed decision-making. The OT machines, in particular, were only communicating with the world via niche M2M protocols, with data stored at disparate locations, available only in silos. This is where IT/OT convergence came in.

The IT/ OT convergence aimed to bring physical equipment (OT) into the digital world of IT. This was made possible, thanks to many advances in the tech industry, starting from Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication, not to mention the increasing sophistication of IoT sensors and actuators that can be incorporated into OT equipment. Wireless communication over standard networking protocols allowed the data from each OT system to be communicated to a central server. The IT OT convergence allows for increased autonomy, maintenance, uptime, and accuracy of all the physical systems involved, with instant machine data access to the relevant stakeholders.

This convergence is focused primarily on automatic processes, using connected devices equipped with sensors to gather, send, and receive data. The data then is stored in a central platform, where it can be analyzed, monitored and actioned upon in real-time. This opens up a new realm of possibilities, where anyone with the know-how can develop APIs to analyze different devices and monitor, analyze & control their functioning.
Manufacturers Boon – The IoT Convergence With IoT, IT/OT convergence in manufacturing has become a success story.

The convergence allows businesses and manufacturing entities to be more cost-efficient (or, more precisely, resource-efficient – be it costs, time or supply involved). With the sales and inventory data to optimize manufacturing operations, equipment and energy consumption is more efficient, while maintenance and the quantity of unsold inventory are reduced.

Here are some notable key benefits of switching to an IoT-enabled manufacturing environment.

  1. Real-time decision making:IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) allows manufacturers to collect all the data they would ever need and analyze it in real-time. Sensitive data can be analyzed directly at the source, which significantly reduces the bandwidth required, not to mention the increased levels of security.
  2. Predictive Maintenance: One of the most significant benefits of IIoT is the revolution of predictive maintenance. Unplanned downtime can cause manufacturing entities to lose a substantial amount of money, while the traditional preventive maintenance method proves to be highly costly. The IT/OT convergence makes it possible for manufacturers to predict when the machines need maintenance and plan accordingly without unnecessary downtime or repair costs.
  3. Increased Efficiency: Whether your manufacturing entity is looking to decrease annual energy costs, increase inventory turns, reduce the time to introduce a new PLC, decrease defect rates, or improve the overall effectiveness of the physical machinery involved – IT/OT convergence can help your business do it all.

Phases of IT/OT Convergence

There are three primary phases of IT/OT Convergence.
  1. Process convergence – Deals with the intersection of workflows, ensuring that important projects and data are communicated to relevant stakeholders.
  2. Software and Data Convergence – Deals with procuring the necessary software and data from the front office for the IT/OT needs. This is a technology-based convergence that deals with the network architecture of the enterprise.
  3. Physical Convergence – Deals with the hardware – old hardware is either replaced or retrofitted with new sensors and actuators to accommodate the incorporation of IT into traditional OT.

Final Word

IT/OT convergence has been a significant milestone in the IoT journey and a win-win for both OT & IT Teams.

The OT teams can now access the machine data whenever they need it for proactive decision making to create value in their machines, processes & workforce. They can align better with overall business systems like ERP etc., creating unparalleled insights.

The IT teams can fulfil their smart factory vision with a healthy understanding of the ground reality and collaborate with the operations team to evolve together.

We’ve covered many of such stories in detail in our Case Studies section – where we showcase just how much businesses in your industry can gain through process digitization and using the Internet of Things.

Want to know how IT/OT convergence can revolutionize your manufacturing processes? Please get in touch with us – and our domain experts would be happy to explain over a quick call.

Complying with ATEX standards in hazardous environments. Why does it matter?

Complying with ATEX standards in hazardous environments. Why does it matter?

Manufacturing facilities are no less than war zones – they have difficult workplace conditions like explosive atmosphere, flammable & toxic gasses and combustible substances. A few more hazardous than others are like Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, Chemical plants & Power plants. Such a high-risk workplace environment is safeguarded by mandatory health & safety risk assessments, certifications, safety gear, rules & regulations. It ranges from what kind of devices can be used on-site to the gear worn by the workers.

An ATEX certification for your equipment can be a gamechanger. This article tried to address the most common questions around ATEX certification.

What is an ATEX Certification?

ATEX stands for ATmosphere EXplosible.
It certifies equipment & protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. It categorizes equipment based on its protection against turning into an active ignition source. Here are the two European Directives for certifying equipment that is declared ‘intrinsically safe’ in the explosive atmospheres:

  • Directive 1999/92/EC (also called ‘ATEX 153’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’)
  • Directive 2014/34/EU (also called ‘ATEX 114’ or ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive)

The ATEX 2014/34/EU is the new accepted safety standard for testing & certifying equipment intended to be utilized in potentially explosive environments in the EU, post a 2015 Legislative change.

The ATEX certification covers explosions from flammable gas/vapours and combustible dust/fibres (which can also lead to explosions)

Here are how zones for flammable gas/vapour (a potentially explosive atmosphere consisting of air with a mix of toxic substances in the form of mist/vapour/gas) are classified for ATEX certification:

  • Zone 0 – A place where a potentially explosive atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods.
  • Zone 1 – An area in which a potentially explosive atmosphere is likely to occur occasionally.
  • Zone 2 – A place where a potentially explosive atmosphere is not expected to occur usually, but if it does happen, it will persist for a short period only.

Identifying an ATEX certified Equipment

If equipment has an official ATEX certification, it has been completely certified to be safe for being used in hazardous/explosive atmospheres. ATEX approved equipment can be identified by the official ‘Ex’ logo shown in the image above.

Any equipment without Atex certification must not be brought onto site in manufacturing facilities with an explosive atmosphere to prevent any probability of disasters.

Why is ATEX Certification challenging to achieve?

For a product to be ATEX certified, it must undergo rigorous tests quality checks for weeks & even months in various test conditions. Even after the certification is processed, quality assurance, compliance checks, and audits are conducted to ensure that the product complies with the stringent benchmarks.

Once the certification is provided to a product, even a tiny tweak or alteration to the product in any form can render the certification null & void.

Is an ATEX Certification applicable across the globe?

Although initially constituted by the European Union for its member states, the ATEX certification is slowly gaining global acceptance as a preferred standard for accepted devices in potentially explosive atmospheres. OEMs with ATEX Certifications now find interested buyers even outside the EU, and it is predicted that it may one day become the globally accepted standard.


If you are looking for equipment to be used in a plant with a potentially explosive environment like the industries mentioned above, then looking up an ATEX certification first will go a long way in finding reliable equipment.

At Infinite Uptime, we very well understand the importance of HSE initiatives in manufacturing and how every small bit of diligence is critical to ensuring a risk-free environment & safety of the workers. To this end, we are delighted to share that vEdge, our edge computing technology that enables our Diagnostics Service, has received a Zone 0 ATEX Certification from the International Centre for Quality Certification (ICQC LLC), Latvia. Here is the ATEX-Certification for our vEdge. Want to know more about how vEdge can propel digital reliability even in the most difficult environments?

IIoT-based predictive maintenance – A mission critical need for manufacturing

IIoT-based predictive maintenance – A mission critical need for manufacturing

Industry 4.0 continues to gain momentum across every industrial and manufacturing segment. This revolution is built upon three primary technologies: Big Data, Edge Computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). As the adoption of IoT devices continues to grow, many organizations are switching to edge technology because of its advantages over legacy cloud solutions. One of the key advantages of edge computing is real-time predictive maintenance. In a predictive analytics solution, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is combined with Business Intelligence (BI) to monitor the operating condition and predict when to perform maintenance on that asset.

What is Predictive Analytics?
Predictive analytics uses statistical algorithms and advanced analytics combined with AI techniques to predict future outcomes based on historical and current data patterns. Organizations use this method to benefit possible future events by using predictive modelling to take maintenance decisions before a disruptive event. This technique imports data from the targeted asset synthesizes it and combines it with different data sources. Once a large amount of data is cleaned, the data analysis is initiated to recognize patterns and trends. In simple words, using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technique, a machine can predict future events.

What is Predictive Maintenance? A subset of predictive analytics, predictive maintenance is the process of utilizing data analysis to predict future outcomes. This technique is used to recognize potential faults in machines and processes. Manufacturing and service industries need to improve the performance of their assets. As per the report by a leading publication, spending on IoT-enabled predictive maintenance will reach 12.9 billion by 2022 compared to $3.4 billion in 2018.

Benefits of Predictive Maintenance:

An AI-enabled predictive maintenance solution comes with numerous competitive advantages as compared to legacy maintenance processes.
1. Improved Machine Lifespan: By identifying problems, machines can be serviced even before the problem occurs. Also, with a constant study of the machine, the AI solution prevents any significant damage from occurring, consequently improving the overall health of connected equipment and uptime its average lifespan.
2. Increased Production: With the ability to constantly monitor a machine’s performance, one can avoid unscheduled downtimes and improve operations throughput. This not only improves the machine’s health but also enhances the quality of the production.
3. Minimize Maintenance Costs: With the help of IoT sensors, it becomes easy to detect anomalies and repair them before the problem becomes irreversible. This minimizes the chance of operational setbacks due to unplanned machine downtime. A report by McKinsey suggests that a predictive maintenance application can minimize maintenance costs by 25%. On the other hand, Deloitte believes it can reduce machine breakdowns by 70%.
4. Reduction in Downtime: A predictive maintenance solution can cause approximately a 45% reduction in downtime. The analytics provide insight on faults and require repairs so you can schedule them accordingly. This helps companies to effectively optimize their resource schedules or schedule maintenance outside of operation hours.
5. Improved Benefits: The data collected from the IoT-based solution helps businesses make practical and calculative decisions regarding machine management. This can improve manufacturing value by enhancing the overall equipment effectiveness and the production volume. This can also decrease replacement or repair costs. Businesses are leveraging IoT-based predictive maintenance to improve value and minimize costs.

The Future of Predictive Maintenance

Although cloud computing can support predictive analytics systems, organizations gain a crucial advantage by refining data analytics and processing speed and performance through edge computing. A predictive maintenance solution performed at the edge minimizes data storage costs along with real-time analytics and low latency. IoT devices and sensors gather data frequently, meaning these IoT-enabled solutions work with enormous data.

When we implement such solutions through cloud computing, vast data gets shared over the network to the cloud. While the load on the internet continues to grow, the cost of networking will increase as well. Predictive maintenance solutions, run on the edge analyze the data on-premise in real-time to minimize the amount of data shared on the cloud, saving businesses money on cloud storage costs.

About Infinite Uptime

Infinite Uptime is transforming the industrial health diagnostics space with a Digital First approach. We provide comprehensive solutions around Machine Diagnostics, Predictive Maintenance and Condition Monitoring to the top engineering and process industries globally. We promise to deliver maximum Machine Uptime, minimize Factory Disruption and elevate Equipment Reliability for a stellar factory performance.