Atlas Copco’s 6thSense Offers a Digital Path to Systems Integration

With the introduction of its 6thSense concept, Atlas Copco aims to integrate equipment, services, and automation
with advanced analytics and management systems.
According to Atlas Copco, automation and digitalization are the future of the mining industry, but automation is not just about remotely controlled machines. The Swedish-based equipment supplier said it offers smart connected products, and its new 6thSense concept is a major advance in getting all these systems connected. “We are now taking a big step on the digital path for systems integration in mining, quarrying and tunneling. With 6thSense you are able to improve your operation in a completely new way,” said Olav Kvist, vice president–mining technology.

“6thSense is all about interoperability, advanced data analytics and a work process where we help our customers take the right steps toward improved operations,” Kvist continued. “Every little step results in the clear benefits of 6thSense: increased safety, increased predictability and increased productivity.”

With 6thSense, Atlas Copco integrates equipment, services and automation with advanced analytics and management systems.

Atlas Copco announced partnerships and collaborations with Mobilaris MCE, Dassault Systemes and IBM. “We are not alone in this,” said Kvist. “We are developing collaborations and key partnerships with a number of companies with excellence in performance and capabilities.”

The company said its customers are currently on different productivity levels and are seeking new ways to improve their operations. This is where Atlas Copco with its 6thSense digital path expects to be a key enabler to meet customer specific needs. Joe Farrugia, vice president– global technology operations, noted, “The key thing is that most can take significant steps on their existing fleets.”

6thSense, said Atlas Copco, can be defined in four levels: machine function, machine autonomy, process autonomy and system integration. These levels are described as follows.
Machine Function – The first level, machine function, is operator assisted through automated machine functions. Monitoring systems provide easy access and collection of data while control systems provide operator assist functionality improving the value of the machine in use.
Machine Autonomy – Machine autonomy involves automation of a complete machine and remote control of one or more machines at the same time. One can optimize their equipment’s full capacity by not having to adjust to the normal staff time schedules. On top of this, autonomous operation means the machine is run consistently to its specifications, improving the life, and reducing wear and tear from manual use.
Automation of a complete process – Process autonomy occurs when machines start to become connected from a working perspective. This is automation of a complete process with a mixed fleet communicating machine to machine, with real- time positioning integrated to planning and decision support systems — such as complete interoperability in a drill/blast cycle process.
Whole of systems interoperability – The final and highest level, system integration, is a complete integration of processes and systems across the entire value chain. This includes advanced analytics, traffic management, total asset management and the whole operation management.

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 08 -