The road to MINExpo: Harnessing the power of one

In just a few short months, Hexagon will unveil innovation for mining’s autonomous future at MINExpo, Sept. 13-15. How we got there is a story about more than just technology. It’s a story about people with a shared focus. And it begins roughly around the last MINExpo in 2016, when Hexagon’s Mining division was barely a year old.

At MINExpo 2016, ex-Barrick VP of Health and Safety, Craig Ross (left) is flanked by Autonomous Portfolio Manager, Fabien Kritter, former Mining President and current Geosystems COO/CDO, Josh Weiss, and Director, Business Development, Marc Barmettler. Ross was presented with a plaque saluting Barrick’s commitment to safety. Some 25,000 CAS units were protecting vehicles and operators back then. Today, more than 40,000 CAS units are at work worldwide.

With our integration journey having just begun, our booth reflected the pieces of a puzzle: a formidable collection of safety solutions, led by our collision avoidance system (CAS); a respected general mine planning portfolio, proven in mines worldwide during the previous 46 years; a tried and tested fleet management suite; and a leading underground task management solution.

Connecting the pieces of that puzzle has always been essential to fulfilling our vision of becoming the industry’s number-one smart technology partner for integrated life-of-mine solutions. It’s the backbone of a mission to empower mines for the decades ahead with technology to balance safety, sustainability and productivity.

Back then, we knew that maintaining separate product lines contradicted the core tenets of integration and optimization. Customers should not have to waste time deciphering disparate brands to find the solutions they need for increased productivity and improved safety.

Easy to buy and easy to use became our mantra. By 2018, then Mining President, Josh Weiss was tirelessly reorganizing our portfolios to consolidate products into streamlined solution packages. With a new, descriptive naming convention, came subscription licensing, improved user interfaces, and strengthened support and services.

Upping our investment in research and development helped us stay ahead of the innovation curve: so too, did key acquisitions, which strengthened our solutions for enterprise analytics, fatigue monitoring, blast monitoring and fragmentation analysis. A uniquely holistic approach to drill and blast, a market-leading safety portfolio and a data-driven focus to our entire smart mining technology stack are some of the outcomes of this strategy.

Josh’s changes were just as dramatic behind the scenes. We reorganized to a more regional, customer-centric model so as to be closer to our clients. Our annual HxGN LIVE Mining Series embodied this approach to sharing knowledge and partnering with clients in educational events worldwide, from Balikpapan, Indonesia to Lima, Peru.

Customers gather at a HxGN LIVE Mining Series event in Tucson. The popular regional events reflect a shared approach to learning.

We launched the online Customer Community portal to strengthen support, allowing clients to share ideas, influence development and browse articles and FAQs. Automated tracking and response times bolstered our 24/7 service and support efforts across the globe.

And all the while, we were investing in our people. This has been a core focus from Day 1. Earlier this month, we concluded our annual sales kickoff, during which our staff continued on their path to commercial excellence.

To quote Richard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

What has all this meant for our customers? Well, another Hexagon focus is neatly captured by Jeff Bezos: “Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”

For Mexico’s leading gold producer, Fresnillo, having one technology provider for mine planning, operations, enterprise, and survey and monitoring needs helps bring a holistic approach to making sense of data.

“Hexagon is working very hard to integrate all the information that comes from different mining processes,” said Fresnillo CIO, Baldomero Gutierrez. “We like having the capability of our people to analyze all of that information. Hexagon is offering a lot of different products to easily analyze the information. We can integrate that information into reports at different levels to make decisions on a daily basis.”

For French mining and metals giant, Eramet Group, IoT-enabled solutions, UAVs, digital twins and advanced data analytics have helped to overcome challenges and digitalize mines. “It’s very important for our operations to be connected in real-time, to our experts,” said Ludovic Donati, Eramet CDO.

Hexagon MineProtect solutions have helped Cerrejón improve safety at its mine in Colombia.

For Cerrejón in Colombia, partnership with Hexagon means a safer mine. “We put in place a system of random monitoring and preventive monitoring of compliance with stop signs in the mine and in the company, said Álvaro Uribe Gaviria of Cerrejón’s Production Safety Committee. “And this allowed us, from 2014 up to date, to, gradually, decrease up to 90% non-compliance of stop signs. This is a great benefit to the safety performance of the company… we are being preventative, and we are identifying wrong habits in our operation.”

The building blocks to autonomy and remote assistance put in place over the years have undoubtedly helped us respond to customers during COVID-19. For example, partnership, resourcefulness and body cameras help overcome lockdown obstacles to ensure a major MineProtect implementation was completed at Tarkwa Mine in Ghana.

Elsewhere, technical collaboration is being elevated to unprecedented levels thanks to customers embracing change. Take a look at this recent planning hardware implementation in the Pilbara!

Today, we are galvanized by the evolution of Hexagon’s vision to pursue a more sustainable future for business, industry and humanity. To quote Hexagon President and CEO, Ola Rollén: “By empowering an increasingly autonomous future, our ‘do well to do good’ approach will drive sustainability through efficiency gains, increased safety, improved productivity and less waste.”

What’s to come on the technology roadmap? What can you expect to see from Hexagon at MINExpo this year? For Hexagon, the event represents a defining moment, the culmination of a five-year journey of convergence marking the beginning of mining’s autonomous age; the fulfillment of goal to become the industry’s life-of-mine, smart technology provider.

One partner. For the life of your mine.

Read part 2 and part 3 and of our Road to MINExpo series.

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