Nokia has announced it has partnered with Vivo to provide private wireless services for Vale’s Carajás mine in Brazil.
The service will be part of an Industry 4.0 project by Vale to deploy autonomous drill platforms and trucks. The project will increase productivity at the mine and improve worker safety. The network will be also used for mine-wide communications between workers. Vale plans to expand the technology to other mines currently using older WiMax solutions.
Nokia is currently working with several mining operators worldwide to deploy private wireless networks based on LTE, with plans to migrate to 5G in the future.
Autonomous ore trucks have been shown to increase productivity by 15% and reduce fuel and maintenance costs by 10%. Nokia’s LTE and 5G, being mobile technologies, provide more reliable support than WiMax or Wi-Fi for operating and controlling trucks and drills on the move.
Nokia’s private industrial-grade wireless solutions are enabling many new applications in the mining field, including support for environmental monitoring, video-assisted remote operations and improved worker monitoring and safety. Nokia is partnering with key solution providers in the mining industry, including Komatsu and Sandvik.
Vale is also currently operating 13 autonomous trucks on a WiMax network at its Brucutu mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil, with the intention to also replace it with a private LTE network for improved performance and reliability. Other applications being considered include an IoT application connecting dam monitoring instruments using LTE.
The advantage of LTE is its ability to adjust performance characteristics to each individual application and to provide a single mine-wide wireless platform that can support any kind of critical communication requirement.
Gustavo Vieira, CIO of Vale, said, “This new generation of wireless technology — LTE and, eventually, 5G — is enabling us to explore many new applications and use cases for remote and autonomous operations. This will help to make our mining operations more efficient, sustainable and safe for our workers.”
Alex Salgado, Vivo’s B2B Vice-President, said, “The private wireless service we are implementing at Vale’s Carajás mine is one of many deployments that we expect to see in the next few years. Forward-thinking customers such as Vale are embracing Industry 4.0 technologies, fostering digital solutions at the heart of their businesses, whether in agriculture, transportation or mining. We are excited to be leading this transformation.”
Luiz Tonisi, Head of Market Unit Brazil at Nokia, said, “Nokia is making a lot of impact in the mining sector right now, and this project with Vale is a very important beginning here in Brazil. Our industrial-grade private LTE wireless solution is ideal for supporting the industry’s embrace of autonomous technologies. It solves a lot of issues that past wireless technologies have struggled with and opens the way for many new and exciting use cases for mines of the future.”