Huawei Technologies, in a partnership with the People's Government of Shanxi Province, Jinneng Holding Group and Shanxi Cloud Era Technology, has opened an Intelligent Mining Innovation Lab in Taiyuan, China.
The lab, which the group is calling a “Shanxi Model” for intelligent mining, was created to aid coal mines in the province to increase efficiency and reduce staffing for high-risk positions.
It also was designed to improve intrinsic safety through the use of ICT technologies such as cloud computing, industrial optical ring networks, and wireless industrial control networks.
The lab will be staffed with 220 ICT and coal mining experts, focusing on areas such as information networks, automation enablement, intelligent sensing technologies, and big data generated by coal mines, as well as related ecosystem collaboration opportunities.
“Huawei plans to use the Intelligent Mining Innovation Lab as a place to continue innovating with partners and making breakthroughs in technologies that can be used in mining pits, including self-cleaning cameras, low-frequency wireless transmission and risk prediction technologies,” Huawei said.
“These will support robot utilization in key scenarios and unmanned operations in select areas. This lab ultimately aims to help Shanxi's mines reduce staffing in fully mechanized and intelligent mining scenarios by 60% and the number of workers going down to mining pits each shift by 10% to 20%.”
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said the company hopes to combine ICT with coal technologies to support digital and intelligent transformation across the coal sector and develop a production model that has fewer workers, greater safety and higher efficiency.
The lab, he added, will explore intelligent development in the global mining industry and how it will proceed.
"In 2020, we illuminated one coal mine, one iron and steel plant, and one port. Over the next two to three years, we aim to illuminate hundreds of coal mines, iron and steel plants, and ports,” he said.
The lab’s opening is another advancement for Huawei as it delves deep into industry production and decision-making systems; it said it seeks to better understand the digital transformation needs of key industrial business scenarios.
Part of the initiative is the company’s internal "Coal Mine Corps” that was established last month.
The programme will combine industry-specific basic research, product research and market delivery to shorten related value chains and respond rapidly to market demands.