TOKYO — Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. last week announced its vision for autonomous mining — an open, interoperable ecosystem of partners that integrate their systems alongside existing mine infrastructure.
Grounded in support for ISO standards and a drive to encourage new entrants into the mining industry, Hitachi Construction Machinery (HCM) said it is pioneering this approach to autonomy among global mining technology leaders. HCM has now publicly declared support for standards-based autonomy and is offering its technology to assist mining customers in integrating new vendors into their existing infrastructure. HCM’s support for open, interoperable autonomy is based on its philosophy for its partner-focused Solution Linkage platform.
“Open innovation is the guiding technological philosophy for Solution Linkage,” said Hideshi Fukumoto, vice president, executive officer, and chief technology officer at HCM. “Based on this philosophy, HCM is announcing its commitment to championing the customer enablement of autonomous mining through an open, interoperable ecosystem of partner solutions.”
“We believe this open approach provides customers the greatest flexibility and control for integrating new autonomous solutions into their existing operations while reducing associated risks and costs of alternative approaches.,” he said.
The HCM Group is developing this open autonomy approach under the Solution Linkage initiative, a platform already available to HCM’s customers in the construction industry now being made available to mining customers with support from HCM subsidiary Wenco International Mining Systems (Wenco).
Three development principles for Wenco, Hitachi
Solution Linkage is a standards-based platform grounded on three principles: open innovation, interoperability, and a partner ecosystem.
In this context, “open innovation” means the HCM Group’s support for open standards to enable the creation of multi-vendor solutions that reduce costs and increase value for customers.
By designing solutions in compliance with ANSI/ISA-95 and ISO standards for autonomous interoperability, Solution Linkage avoids vendor lock-in and offers customers the freedom to choose technologies from preferred vendors independent of their fleet management system, HCM said. This approach future-proofs customer technology infrastructure, providing a phased approach for their incorporation of new technologies as they emerge, claimed the company.
This approach also benefits autonomy vendors who are new to mining, since they will be able to leverage a HCM’s technology and experience in meeting the requirements of mining customers.
The HCM Group’s key capability of interoperability creates simplified connectivity between systems to reduce operational silos, enabling end-to-end visibility and control across the mining value chain. HCM said that customers can use Solution Linkage to connect autonomous equipment from multiple vendors into existing fleet management and operations infrastructure.
The interoperability principle could also provide mines a systems-level understanding of their pit-to-port operation, providing access to more robust data analytics and process management. This capability would enable mine managers to make superior decisions based on operation-wide insight that deliver end-to-end optimization, said HCM.
HCM’s said its partner ecosystem will allow customers and third-party partners to use its experience and open platform to successfully provide autonomous functionality and reduce the risk of technological adoption. This initiative is already working with a global mining leader to integrate non-mining OEM autonomous vehicles into their existing mining infrastructure.
Likewise, HCM is actively seeking customer and vendor partnerships to further extend the value of this open, interoperable platform. If autonomy vendors have already been selected by a customer and are struggling to integrate into the client’s existing fleet management system or mine operations, Hitachi may be able to help using the Solution Linkage platform.
The HCM Group will reveal further details of its approach to open autonomy and Solution Linkage in a presentation at the CIM 2019 Convention, running April 28 to May 1 at the Palais de Congrès in Montreal, Canada. Fukumoto and other senior executives from Hitachi and Wenco will discuss this strategy and details of Hitachi’s plans for mining in several presentations throughout the event. The schedule of Hitachi-related events is as follows:
- Sunday, April 28, 4:30 PM — A welcome speech at the event’s Opening Ceremonies by Wenco Board Member and HCM Executive Officer David Harvey;
- Monday, April 29, 10:00 AM — An Innovation Stage presentation on the Solution Linkage vision for open autonomy by Wenco Board Member and HCM Vice President and Executive Officer, CTO Hideshi Fukumoto;
- Monday, April 29, 12:00 PM — Case Study: Accelerating Business Decisions and Mine Performance Through Operational Data Analysis at an Australian Coal Operation technical breakout presentation by Wenco Executive Vice-President of Corporate Strategy Eric Winsborrow;
- Monday, April 29, 2:00 PM — Toward an Open Standard in Autonomous Control System Interfaces: Current Issues and Best Practices technical breakout presentation by Wenco Director of Technology Martin Politick;
- Tuesday, April 30, 10:00 AM — An Innovation Stage presentation on Hitachi’s vision for data and IoT in mining by Wenco Executive Vice-President of Corporate Strategy Eric Winsborrow;
- Wednesday, May 1, 4:00 PM — A concluding speech at the event’s closing luncheon by Wenco Board Member and HCM General Manager of Solution Business Center Yoshinori Furuno.
These presentations further detail the ongoing work of HCM and support the core message about open, interoperable, partner ecosystems.
To learn more about the HCM announcement in support of open and interoperable mining autonomy, Solution Linkage, or other HCM’s solutions, please contact Hitachi Construction Machinery.