Digging Deeper: Technologies behind sustainable mining and reduced environmental impact

Sustainable mining and reduced environmental impact
Less fuel consumption and carbon emissions deliver sustainable mining

This edition of our 'Digging Deeper' series focuses on sustainable mining. It outlines some of the technologies the mining industry is using to progress in sustainable mining and reduced environmental impact.

Sustainable mining and reducing the environmental footprint are emerging priorities across the mining industry. For example, Glencore allocated 16 out of 93 pages in its most recent annual report to sustainability. Rio Tinto allocated 12 out of 75 pages to sustainability, and BHP allocated 11 out of 115 pages. This goes beyond the pages allocated. Each of these miners have also established commitments to reducing their environmental impact.

Similarly, Cummins Inc. also aims to reduce its impact on the environment. In fact, five years after announcing its first environmental sustainability reporting, Cummins has already surpassed the carbon dioxide (CO2) savings it expected to achieve by 2020. Cummins has partnered with customers on fuel economy projects and avoided 12 million metric tons of CO2 to accomplish this.

What is sustainable mining?

Let’s define sustainability as the lowest social cost of getting the job done. For miners, sustainability is to deliver results with the least environmental impact possible. Across types of mining, sustainability has many fronts. These range from emission of pollutants and disposal of consumables to preservation of water resources.   

Sustainability in mining industry
Sustainability in mining industry

Miners pursue a multifaceted approach to improve sustainability. Let’s look at three of the ways the mining industry makes advancements in sustainability.

No. 1: Stringent engine emission regulations reduce the environmental impact

Engine emission regulations got increasingly stringent in recent decades. These regulations have significantly reduced the emissions of particulate matter (PM), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and hydrocarbons (HC). Less NOx means less smog. Less particulate matter means less accumulation of these particles in the soil or in the water.

For example, a typical Cummins engine used in a mining application emits 90% less harmful gases today compared to engines produced before the year 2000. Moreover, these engines are in general more powerful and more fuel efficient than their predecessors. 

No. 2: Reduced disposal of consumables is critical for sustainable mining

Greenhouse gases (GHG) tend to get the spotlight when it comes to sustainable mining. Meanwhile, consumables are another big opportunity for sustainable mining. A mine haul truck could have over 50 gallons of engine oil and would need a refill every month or other. With hundreds of haul trucks working 24/7 in some of the larger mines, there are lots of consumables to refill and dispose. 

This is where advanced analytics and telematics come to help. Let’s consider two of the newest technologies from Cummins: PrevenTech Mining and FIT. For example, customers can use these technologies to adopt a condition-based maintenance (CBM) routine. Customers using CBM can change consumables only when needed instead of changing at fixed intervals. This results in optimized maintenance intervals. Optimized maintenance intervals allow miners to use consumables for longer durations and create less consumables to dispose. 

No. 3: Less fuel consumption and carbon emissions deliver sustainable mining

A large haul truck at a mine could have a fuel tank as large as 1,000 gallons. This is equivalent to the fuel tanks of over 60 passenger cars combined. Moreover, each haul truck could require a refill every other day. Given the scale and consumption pattern, improvements in the mining equipment’s fuel consumption yield into significant reductions in carbon emissions. 

For instance, a mining contractor in Australia’s Bowen Basin has reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of six trucks over 500 metric tons a year. The mining contractor simply replaced the old fuel system with a Modular Common Rail fuel system (MCRS). This fuel system features the latest innovations in combustion technology from Cummins’ Tier 4 engineering programs.

Whether it is air, water or noise, environmental considerations are increasingly becoming a top of mind topic for miners. At Cummins, we have bright and diverse minds bringing innovations to tackle these challenges daily," said Bob Schaefer, Director of Mining Innovations and Growth Initiatives at Cummins.

"In addition to the environmental aspect, our sustainability efforts at Cummins also expand into safety. We build a culture of safety. This starts from our everyday meetings, where we kick-off with a safety share, all the way to providing safety education to our technicians specialized in mining."

Interested in additional mining perspectives? You might also like:  

Wanting to deepen and broaden your expertise in the mining industry? Sign-up below to receive periodic insights, trends and news customized for the mining industry. To learn more about mining power solutions Cummins offers, visit The Power of Cummins Mining

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Smart devices and products for your connected RV

Smart devices and products for your connected RV

Get the most out of your RVing experience with smart devices and products. Your home is already a hub for smart devices, and now it is time for your RV to be a mobile hub. Safety, utility management, wellness monitoring, smart appliances, and smart entertainment; do you have one of these smart devices at your home? These are the five smart device categories that are most popular among households. Given recreational vehicles (RVs) are ‘home away from home’, many RVers are increasingly interested in smart devices and products, including connected RV generators

Popular smart device categories

Let’s start with why your family needs these smart devices in your RV. You can then read about a few smart device categories we have hand-picked for you to get the most out of your RVing experience.

Benefits of smart devices and products in an RV

Peace of mind and comfort are two of the key benefits many RVers enjoy with smart and connected devices. 

Connected technologies allow you to prevent unexpected events that could derail your next RV outing. Peace of mind comes with the ability to monitor what’s happening in real time with your RV. This could be knowing that the batteries are charged, the water tank has enough fresh water, or the RV generator is ready to operate. 

Comfort focused smart RV devices can also help you enjoy your home away from home to the max. They could let you adjust the indoor temperature while you are out, turn on the water heater while walking back from a long hike and remotely adjust the lighting within your RV. These smart technologies are all designed to maximize the use of amenities you have in your RV.

If you are thinking about where to start, consider connected RV generators. RV generators with connectivity features help both on peace of mind and comfort perspectives. You can then build upon with more smart devices depending upon your RV setup. 

Popular smart devices and products for RVers

Smart bulbs and lighting are a perfect way to get familiar with the use of smart devices and technologies in an RV. Smart bulbs and lights are easy to install and operate. They also don’t cost much, and can help you experience connectivity at a basic level. 

Smart thermostats and air-conditioners are two of the best smart device choices when it comes to return on investment. You are walking back from a long summer hike, open the door of your RV, and feel the cool air on your face. Smart thermostats can remotely start and stop your air conditioner. They can also adjust the temperature based on when you plan to be indoors, and both save you money since you don’t need to run the AC continuously.

Smart RV generator: From televisions to coffee makers, many of your favorite amenities within an RV need electricity; electricity often produced by your RV generator. Connected generators with smart controls can provide both peace of mind and expanded comfort for your family. For example, Onan generators’ upcoming Energy Command AGS+  allows the generator set to monitor the battery levels and indoor temperature. It then allows the generator set to auto-start as programmed, so your smart thermostat can kick in. This unique “auto gen start” also allows the generator to start charging your coach batteries in preparation for quiet hours. It also notifies you of maintenance needs like oil changes. These smart features ensure you enjoy your RV’s amenities to the maximum. If quietness is critical for you, don’t forget to also check out how to find a quiet generator for your RV.

Connected security systems: RVs are expensive investments and smart security systems can be a wise choice. Many smart security systems allow you to monitor your RV remotely and arm and disarm your system. These security systems also offer professional monitoring as an extra layer of security.

There are lots of smart devices for your RV out there. Let’s make it easier for you. Here are three aspects to consider as you run into different smart devices and products for your RV:

  1. Decide whether you need the capability to monitor only, or to monitor and control. Some smart devices offer one but not the other. 
  2. Check to see if individual smart devices are compatible with connected platforms offered by your RV’s OEM or third parties. Ideally, you want a single app that can interface with all of your smart devices.
  3. Remember that access to a capable service network is still important. While smart features do a good job preventing issues, they don’t yet fully eliminate the need for local and capable service networks. Whether it is your AC or generator, it is a good idea to choose brands that offer capable experts to solve your issues as needed.

Interested to get the most out of your RV? You might like these too.

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Three IoT trends to watch within smart and connected facilities

Three IoT trends to watch within smart and connected facilities

Many might think of their newest gadgets when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT). Meanwhile, the industrial and commercial applications of IoT surpass its consumer applications. In fact, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and security are the four sectors that lead others when it comes to where the IoT devices are1.

At Cummins Inc., we make our partners’ challenges our challenges; make their goals, our goals. We all depend on healthcare, data center, manufacturing, commercial and other facilities in our everyday lives. We also depend on the teams that manage these facilities. Facility management professionals are at the heart of this digital transformation and the IoT adoption. They face both the opportunities and the challenges presented by the increased adoption of IoT devices among these facilities. 

Sectors where IoT devices are located

To help our partners in these industries be future-ready, we have asked three experts their takes on the key IoT trends to watch and their implications on facility management. These three perspectives aim to provide you with diverse viewpoints on what to watch among the key IoT trends. 

How quantum computing could impact IoT and facility management?

We have asked this question to Chuck Brooks, President of Brooks Consulting International. Chuck is a globally recognized thought leader and subject matter expert in cybersecurity and emerging technologies. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn.” You can follow Chuck on Twitter at @ChuckDBrooks.

Let’s look at Chuck’s perspective on the key IoT trend to watch. 

As quantum computing and IoT merge, there will also be an evolving new ecosystem of policy Issues. These include, ethics, interoperability protocols, cybersecurity, privacy/surveillance, complex autonomous systems, and best commercial practices.

Under quantum computing, security of the IoT will be a paramount issue. Currently cryptographic algorithms are being used to help secure the communication (validation and verification) in the IoT. But because they rely on public key schemes, their encryption could be broken by sophisticated hackers using quantum computers in the not-so-distant future.

On the other side of the coin, quantum computing could create an almost un-hackable network of devices and data. The need to securely encrypt and protect IoT connected devices and power them with exponential speed and analytical capabilities is imperative for both government and the private sector.

As quantum computing capabilities advance, we should act now to prepare the IoT for the quantum world. There are many areas to explore in research and development and eventually implementation. The coming decade will provide both imperatives and opportunities to explore quantum’s implications.

Facility professionals that seek to be future-proofed can seek further education on quantum computing and its effects on IoT devices.

Beyond the technology, what are the benefits of IoT for facility professionals?

Peggy Smedley, an award-winning journalist and technology expert, offered her perspective on this question. Peggy has extensively covered the IoT, facility management, manufacturing, construction technology, and most recently sustainability, circularity, and resiliency during her 30-year career. She is founder and president of Specialty Publishing Media (SPM); editorial director of Constructech and Connected World; radio host of The Peggy Smedley Show, and author of her new book “Sustainable In a Circular World.” You can follow Peggy on LinkedIn or on Twitter at @ConnectedWMag.

Here is Peggy’s take on benefits of IoT beyond the technology itself. 

I am going to answer this question somewhat differently than what most people might assume at first blush. While the biggest trend for facility professionals is certainly the IoT, it’s really more than the technology itself. It’s more about transparency. Simply, it’s about personal health, safety, data availability, and collaboration among partners to achieve the required result as part of the digital disruption we are all witnessing and experiencing.

The emerging facility professional leaders are very socially engaged and thus are extremely mobile ready. Their mobile mindset has them very focused on user-friendly platforms and solutions that are quick, smart, and simple. As such, they are implementing a more advanced digital workplace that is smarter, which includes a vast amount of remote monitoring with endless applications. These remote monitoring applications range from air quality to asset tagging, lighting, HVAC, fire suppression, security, inventory management, and a host of other equipment in the building.

Going a step further, we will also experience a variety of artificial intelligence-based solutions that enable preventative and predictive maintenance. These will improve circularity and green initiatives to reduce waste and enable sustainability. Attaining green building status will address repairability, reuse, and recycling of waste and materials—something that up to this point has been lacking. COVID-19 has forced professionals and building owners to move faster to achieve a digital-first thinking and reducing emissions to achieve the goal of carbon negativity.

My final thought for facility professionals is to become educated on the digital disruption and the ever-changing technology. The more you stay ahead of the technology, the more valuable you are to forward-thinking companies, advancing your own career, and helping future generations, as we seek to provide value to our natural ecosystem.

Can industrial IoT improve employee engagement and customer experience?

Dana Miller brings us the third perspective on this topic. Dana has extensive experiences in bringing connectivity and IT solutions to life through her 21 years as a managing consultant and program leader in the industrial sector. She has partnered with segments ranging from healthcare and manufacturing to mining and rail. Dana is currently the Digital and Service Solutions Director at Cummins. 

Here is Dana’s take on IoT’s role in improving employee engagement and customer experience.

A great Facilities Management (FM) professional knows how to deal with constant change. There is no better time than the present to embrace the changes happening before our eyes with respect to employee health and safety. Industrial IoT allows devices to perform their functions with little to no human interaction. A key IoT trend impacting FM in 2021 and beyond, from my perspective, is leveraging real-time data to transform the employee experience.

Just as proper machine maintenance saves a company money by mitigating unexpected system failures, carrying out the maintenance remotely reduces the number of safety incidents for workers. Consider a technician no longer having to climb onto a rooftop to exercise a backup generator each month or drive through dense, city traffic to a port so she can pull fault codes off a vessel only to find out there is a need to return with different repair parts. This is waste that can be eliminated for both employee satisfaction as well as operational efficiency. Remote monitoring and predictive analytics are not new, but actually implementing changes to our work processes and styles based on what companies are learning from the data has much more runway ahead.

IoT also allows companies to stitch innovation together. Integrating and analyzing data already being collected by suppliers or partners, or even customers into our solutions will likely accelerate productivity.  It’s about using multiple tools and techniques to cost effectively optimize performance and extend the life and reliability of equipment. Ultimately, workplace efficiency keeps employees satisfied and motivated which makes for an improved customer experience.

Sign up below for Energy IQ to receive energy focused insights in markets ranging from data centers and healthcare facilities, to schools and manufacturing facilities, and everything beyond. To learn more about power solutions Cummins offers, visit our webpage.

References:
1 A Guide to the Internet of Things [PDF File]. Intel. Retrieved from: https://www.intel.co.uk/

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

New Ideas, New Voices: Cummins Digital Organization Holds First “Hackathon”

Cummins Inc - Laptop computer and coffee mug

With names such as "Team Vulcans" and "Team Alter Ego," software engineers at Cummins joined together to work on ideas that matched their interests, technical skills and passions.

A "hackathon" is a software engineering event that aims to generate new ideas and solutions in a short period of time. Over several days, software engineers in the Cummins Digital Organization did just that with a set of topics encompassing technology innovation, customer orientation, cost savings, software productivity, and employee health and work ergonomics.

"The idea of the hackathon really emerged because of our commitment to teamwork and collaboration, and our love for diversity, inclusion and innovation," said Megha Tayal, Principal Scrum Master for Cummins Inc., who initially led the program.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm for the event, and we encouraged everyone from our Digital Software Engineering and Product Management teams to submit ideas."  

With names such as "Team Vulcans" and "Team Alter Ego," software engineers joined together to work on ideas that matched their interests, technical skills, and passions. After three long days and nights, each team presented their innovations to a judging panel of the software engineering leaders within the Digital Organization. Every unique solution stemming from the hackathon represents an improvement for customers, Cummins—or both.

"As our products continue to evolve, our software engineers are often thinking ahead to visualize more and more ambitious digital applications, capabilities or user experience enhancements—but we often don’t have enough time to explore all these ideas," added Jean-Marc Mensah, Director of Software Engineering for Cummins Digital Organization. "With events like our Hackathon, we encourage everyone to come together and think outside the box with a goal to produce actionable solution sets that deliver real value."

Feedback from participants has been so positive that the group has decided to make a hackathon a new Digital Organization tradition at the beginning of every quarter.

Think you have what it takes to succeed in one of our Hackathons? Learn more about a career in Cummins' Digital Organization.

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Catherine Morgenstern - Cummins Inc.

Catherine Morgenstern

Catherine Morgenstern is a Brand Journalist for Cummins, covering topics such as alternative propulsion, digitalization, manufacturing innovation, autonomy, sustainability, and workplace trends. She has more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications, holding leadership positions most recently within the Industrial Capital Goods sector.

Catherine began her career as a marketing writer for a biotechnology company, where she learned to take complicated and highly technical information and make it accessible to everyone. She believes the concept of “storytelling” is more than a trendy buzzword and loves to find ways for her readers to make personal connections to her subjects. Catherine has a passion for technology and innovation and how its intersection can make an impact in all our lives.

Catherine recently moved back to her hometown in the Hudson Valley, New York after a several decades in Los Angeles and Chicago. She is a graduate of UCLA and enjoys gardening and spending time with her husband and three children.

CapEx outlook for the mining industry in 2021 and beyond

CapEx outlook for the mining industry in 2021 and beyond

Our Mining Team at Cummins always makes our partners’ goals our goals. We use our technologies, insights and people to help the mining industry deliver its goals. 

In this article, the focus is another important aspect of the mining industry: capital expenditure (CapEx). CapEx is the mining companies’ investments in the products and technologies as part of their operations. It includes facility improvements, new mining equipment, and beyond.

The annual capital expenditure (CapEx) of the world’s top 40 mining companies is $78 billion1. This is about the same as the annual gross domestic production of Kenya or the Dominican Republic. In other words, every year these 40 mining companies invest into their operations the equivalent of a medium-sized country’s annual economic output. 

In this article, you will find insights around the mining industry’s CapEx outlook for 2021 and beyond. 

2021 and beyond outlook: Increasing GDP and mining production

Global GDP to increase

Many economists agree that the world’s GDP will bounce back in 2021 by a 4% to 6% increase, then continue to stay positive in the following years. This means more production and an increased need for minerals and metals. 

Mining production to trend upwards

The strong GDP growth will likely translate into an increased need for minerals and metals, resulting in an increase in their production. Commodity prices in 2021 have already broken records or hovering near record levels last seen during the 2011-13 super cycle boom. There is always the question around whether there will be a lag between increased economic activity and increased mineral production. We expect the lag to be minimal and the overall mineral production to closely follow the increase in GDP. A key reason for this expectation is miners’ ability to leverage the existing capacity as the need for production emerges. One potential risk that could slow down miners bringing the capacity online is any regional restriction around employees coming back to sites due to the pandemic. 

Let’s now switch to CapEx forecast given these expectations in GDP and mineral production.

Mining CapEx to be up starting 2021 with varying pace and focus 

There is a much clearer linkage between GDP growth and increased mineral production. Meanwhile, the impact of increased mineral production on CapEx is not as clear. For instance, the amount of minerals produced have mostly been increasing since 2012. Yet, the mining industry has successfully decreased its CapEx four out of eight years. 

In other words, the mining industry kept producing more while managing its capital expenditures. There were many means to accomplish this. Improving financial performance and reducing maintenance costs, increasing mining equipment productivity and boosting mining equipment’s efficiency have been three of these levers. 

For 2021, it is much likely the mining industry will increase its CapEx, but with a varying pace of CapEx recovery. 

Beyond 2021, the shift in the focus of the mining industry’s CapEx will also be more prominent. The change in the mining industry’s CapEx would likely not be uniform across the production of different minerals. We expect the change in CapEx associated with the production of tech metals and rare earth elements to outpace the that of fossil fuels, such as coal. These tech metals and rare earth elements are frequently used in high tech devices that bring us the newest technologies. In fact, the global production of rare earth elements went up by 9% in 2020. Production of many other minerals went down or stayed flat during the same period. 

Interested in deepening and broadening your expertise in the mining industry? Sign-up below to receive periodic insights, trends and news customized for the mining industry.

References: 
1PwC (2019). Mine 2019: Resourcing the future [PDF document]. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.com/
2United States Geological Survey (January 29, 2021). Mineral Commodity Summaries [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://pubs.usgs.gov/
3S&P Global Market Intelligence (July 2020). Miners' Guidance Indicates 12% Capex Drop in 2020 Due to COVID-19 [Web article]. Retrieved from https://www.spglobal.com/
 

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

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