Rugged Handhelds for Mining

Mining applications require exceptionally sturdy technology for tasks related to equipment maintenance, GIS mapping and geotagging, machine guidance, data collection, compliance and reporting, and asset management. Where consumer devices fail, rugged mobile computers stand up to the most challenging environments miners encounter — such as constantly vibrating vehicles, airborne dust and mineral particles, variable weather conditions, hard surfaces and humidity — in order to reduce worker and equipment downtime and improve safety and productivity.

Rugged handhelds assist mining fieldworkers in many areas:

Mining asset management
Mobile computers running asset tracking and production control software are an indispensible part of mining asset management. Secure vehicle ports, fast processing, built-in data capture tools, easy data entry options and connectivity capabilities allow miners to reliably track assets and manage resources and materials while saving significant amounts of time. Mining fieldworkers use rugged handhelds to track equipment status using barcodes or RFID, or by quickly entering details into digital forms. They can also easily schedule predictive maintenance and keep detailed inspection and maintenance histories.

Related customer story: Rugged tablets boost productivity for the North American Coal Corporation

Fleet management
Vehicle-docked rugged computers equipped with built-in GPS and a variety of connectivity and communications capabilities are excellent fleet management tools that enable and enhance navigation, surveying, communication and inventory management tasks.Digital fleet management systems streamline fleet workflow and increase efficiency and productivity by allowing mining companies to easily and automatically communicate status updates, locations, payloads and other details among fleet vehicles and mine dispatch centers. Fleet management software also helps mines keep track of legal, environmental and safety considerations related to large vehicle fleets.

Related customer story: Transport fleets manage logistics and communication and improve efficiency with vehicle-docked rugged handhelds

Mining companies operate on large areas of land, and mine operators who use GPS tracking and geotagging to notate and navigate to important locations are saving huge amounts of time and resources. Rugged handhelds equipped with GPS and GIS tools assist with surveying properties, assessing mining conditions, analyzing mineral potential, managing building and resource placement, planning mining infrastructure, determining environmental impact and more. Today’s mining handhelds feature built-in GPS as well as a variety of ports for connecting to external antennas and equipment. They can run robust geomapping software with large image files, and display high-resolution visuals on wide, sunlight-readable displays for optimal outdoor productivity.

Related customer story: Rugged handhelds navigate and map remote regions in paperless field surveys

Safety and compliance
Mine operators perform site inspections of surface mines and underground mines multiple times per year to identify health, safety and environmental (HSE) risks — both according to their own corporate regulatory standards and to stay compliant with Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations. Inspectors require reliable and fully portable mobile devices in order to perform compliance checks safely and accurately.

Rugged tablets and PDAs can be securely docked in a mining vehicle and used to navigate to sites, then undocked and carried to perform inspections. Miners can hold a lightweight rugged computer and, in many cases, enter data into inspection forms in mining industry inspection software all with one hand, thanks to compact and ergonomic design, easy-to-navigate menus and programmable physical buttons. Data is entered safely, quickly and with a high degree of accuracy. Non-compliance issues can be communicated in real-time and addressed quickly. This process also eliminates the need to re-enter data into an office computer, as data can be stored, transmitted and reported directly from the handheld device.

Related customer story: Rugged tablet computers improve safety and efficiency for railway maintenance operations

Data collection and analytics
Mines using wireless equipment monitoring technology benefit from taking a proactive approach to maintenance, saving time and improving worker safety. Rugged handhelds running predictive maintenance software collect and analyze equipment data in order to identify maintenance needs and recurring trends, as well as to inform mine operators about use. Wireless sensors placed on equipment report maintenance data such as temperatures, load weight, speed, air quality, fuel consumption and hours in operation directly to workers’ tablets or PDAs, allowing them to schedule maintenance tasks and repair components before equipment fails.

Related customer story: Predictive maintenance made safer and more affordable with rugged tablets

Large mining vehicle fleets require reliable communication options to stay productive, efficient and safe. Rugged handhelds allow vehicle operators to communicate over WiFi and cellular networks and to use V2X systems to communicate vehicle-to-vehicle, as well as to receive instructions from dispatch and control centers. Hardwearing, sturdy vehicle docks keep tablets and PDAs safe and within reach even on constantly vibrating equipment, providing all-in-one communication and task management tools that relay status updates, locations, field-captured data and images in real time.

Related customer story: Transport fleets manage logistics and communication and improve efficiency with vehicle-docked rugged handhelds

Machine guidance
Mines use rugged handhelds to control and monitor many types of machinery through digital machine guidance systems. Machine guidance software for mines enables highly precise task performance such as digging, shaping, drilling and pumping. Drill-and-blast and other hazardous applications become safer and more accurate when operations are controlled and monitored using machine guidance systems and durable rugged mobile computers. Selective mining with a handheld field controller saves resources and minimizes waste. Machine guidance software also assists with predictive maintenance, monitoring machine performance and repair schedules to reduce equipment downtime and make sure machinery stays safe and functional.

Related customer story: Tunneling crews use rugged technology to minimize downtime and reduce personnel costs

Contact us to learn how Handheld’s lineup of rugged computers can improve efficiency, productivity and safety for mining operations.