5G in mining: Sandvik partners with Ambra Solutions – Sandvik Group

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A partnership with Ambra Solutions brings additional connectivity and capabilities to automated mining solutions from Sandvik.

With the ongoing shift towards autonomous mining, highspeed connectivity in this environment is becoming more crucial than ever. “It’s no different than needing water and air for mining – mines will also need reliable connectivity,” says David Hallett, Vice President Automation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

In March, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions announced a partnership with Ambra Solutions, a telecommunication integrator and provider of private Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and 5G networks. The partnership enables integration of Ambra Solutions’ connectivity into the autonomous system AutoMine® from Sandvik systems.

LTE/5G networks provide high-speed data connectivity and security with encryption and authentication built into the network. The wireless broadband technology tends to be the connectivity solution of choice for businesses due to higher reliability and security compared to WiFi networks.

A reliable partner in mining technology

Incorporated in 2007, the new Canadian partner has solid expertise in manufacturing products and services designed for challenging environments and remote areas.

“Underground mining is a demanding environment that requires robust and reliable connectivity solutions. It is important to understand how to design connectivity solutions to withstand these harsh operating environments and Ambra Solutions stands out with a proven track record of expertise in the mining industry, facilitating these connections” says Hallett. “They understand what an OT (operational technology) rather than IT environment looks like and offer services to back that.”

The partnership developed through mutual satisfied customers. “Ambra has a good reputation among our customers and specific expertise deploying in the mining domain. They have the same service mentality as Sandvik to serve the customer at the highest level,” Hallett says, adding that Ambra Solutions can provide customers with 24-hour service and support agreements.

Improving safety and productivity

The automation system AutoMine® can be operated products in both underground and surface mining operations and with these products, operators are able to control and monitor operations from the comfort and safety of a remote control room.

The partnership provides underground connectivity for the automation system that is highly secure, safe, reliable and high-speed. With advanced data connectivity, users have access to real-time and seamless communication, and advanced location and asset tracking for improved safety and productivity. Reliable connectivity not only keeps equipment up and running, but also increases the level of security by providing location data in the event of an accident or incident.

An additional benefit with this partnership is that it will reduce the testing time required on customer sites. This not only enhances productivity and performance, but also ensures cost-effectiveness for mining operations, Hallett points out. “We now have the framework for how to connect Ambra and Sandvik products together, and our test mine in Tampere, Finland, provides us with the capability to test connectivity ahead of time and validate it. That accelerates the installation process for our customers.”

Expanding connectivity to surface mining

The partnership will also provide connectivity solutions for surface mining solutions. “We are working together with Ambra and pairing solutions with our surface drilling products,” adds Hallett.

At the same time, Hallett stresses that the Automine automation system, which is network agnostic, enables customers to use any network that meets the minimum requirements for connectivity. “The industry is evolving, and an increasing number of mines are adopting connectivity solutions, however, each mine has its own unique environment in terms of technology and specific requirements. Ambra Solutions is one option going forward for customers looking for a higher speed connection.”

Ambra Solutions

Ambra Solutions has deployed over 800 kilometers of 4G/5G coverage in underground tunnels. With more than 50 underground and open pit mines deployed across 10 countries, Ambra is the world leader in deploying mining mission-critical 4G/5G networks.

Sandvik has ahistory of providing proven underground solutions with automation for loading and hauling since 2004. Today, more than 1,000 underground and surface units operate worldwide at more than 100 customer sites, underlining the company’s commitment to delivering reliable and innovative automation solutions for mining.

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