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Komatsu and GE to offer big data analysis for mining customers using IoT

Komatsu is partnering with General Electric to provide big data analysis
services for mining customers using Internet of Things technology. The new partnership
follows an earlier agreement in February 2014 when Komatsu and GE
Transportation announced a joint venture, Komatsu GE Mining Systems LLC to
develop a new generation of underground mining equipment.

The latest venture aims to boost efficiency in mining operations by
leveraging the unique strengths of the two companies, especially in IoT. GE is
a global leader in this field, using IoT technology to constantly monitor
critical equipment such as aircraft engines and gas turbines. Komatsu also
makes use of remote monitoring technology through its KOMTRAX and KOMTRAX Plus
offerings to track the position and status of its mining and construction

Komatsu Australia’s Managing Director Sean Taylor said the latest
partnership would have significant benefits for Australian mining companies. Noting
that GE Mining has long supplied electric drive systems to Komatsu, which is
the world’s market leader in electric drive dump trucks, he said that Australia
was the first market in the world to commercialise Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage
System for driverless trucks, and also the first country to market the 35-tonne
hybrid excavator.

Komatsu is also the industry’s pacesetter in ICT applications, including
the KOMTRAX and KOMTRAX Plus remote monitoring systems, as well as the new line
of intelligent dozers.

Komatsu and GE will now offer data analysis services to mining and
resources companies, including iron ore and coal mines in Australia as well as
other mining regions. Mr Taylor explains that mining companies are looking for
innovative ways to reduce their operating and running costs, while optimising
productivity and machine performance in the current climate of downward
pressures on commodity prices.

Komatsu and GE have successfully trialled the concept over the past year
at a copper mine in South America.

Under the new partnership, Komatsu will send operational data collected
from sensors attached to its mining dump trucks to a GE data centre in the US,
where it will be processed using GE’s big data analysis capabilities. The
results will be used to make recommendations on optimal truck routes and
positioning, as well as speed and braking requirements based on the terrain and
site conditions. Additional control equipment can also be installed to increase
fuel efficiency.

According to Mr Taylor, existing data analysis capabilities already
available from Komatsu allow fuel efficiency to be improved by 5% through more
efficient truck scheduling and haul road management. By harnessing IoT
technology, combined with GE’s big data analysis capabilities, this figure can
be significantly greater than 10%, potentially saving millions of dollars a
year per mine in fuel and other costs. Additional flow-on benefits will be realised in terms of optimising production,
reducing equipment wear and tear, and maximising machine uptime.

Mining customers with access to such detailed operating information can reduce
fuel and power usage, as well as optimise shipments between mines and ports.
Additional cost savings can be achieved by reducing stockpile volumes and
holding times.

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