The mining industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by improved computing power and connected sensors to control and monitor the mining environment. In the last three years alone, there have been over 62,000 patents filed and granted in the mining industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Cybersecurity in mining: mine sensor network. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 70,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the mining industry, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Mine sensor networks is a key innovation area in cybersecurity
A mine sensor network is a network of connected sensors to monitor mines and enhance operational safety and efficiency, and optimize mine productivity. Sensors are devices that detect and respond to changes in their surrounding environment. Inputs can come from a variety of sources such as light, temperature, motion, and pressure. The most common sensor types are temperature sensors, pressure sensors, proximity sensors, optical sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes. As the IoT grows, sensors will pop up everywhere, resulting in a massive increase in the amount of data collected. Advances in efficiency and productivity in turn will help reduce carbon emissions.
Mine sites have various checks and controls to ensure the site is operational and safe. Automating these manual checks helps save time and money and allows real-time monitoring of assets. For example, Alrosa, Russian diamond mining giant, developed an autonomous wireless monitoring system (AWMS) for its water works division. The AWMS consists of sensors located at the existing meters on the tailings plant, which monitors 33 thermometric and 31 piezometric wells and measures the tailing dump and storage pond levels. It also monitors water levels, soil temperature, and hydraulic system status in real-time. Digitalising these vital checks saves time and provides a constant view of these key metrics. It improved operations and safety at its tailings storage facility for its processing plant.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40 companies, spanning technology vendors, established mining companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of mine sensor network.
Key players in mine sensor networks – a disruptive innovation in the mining industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to mine sensor networks
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Sandvik||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Strata Products Worldwide||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Uni-President Enterprises||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Cniguard||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Schlumberger||4||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenzhen Guangqi Intelligent Photonics Technology||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Ping An Kaicheng Intelligent Safety Equipment||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Energy Investment||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Coal Technology||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Petrochemical||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|CNPC Chuanqing Drilling Engineering||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Beijing Zhongkuanghuawo Technology||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shandong Hi-Speed Group||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Tian Di Science & Technology||2||Unlock Company Profile|
|Huaibei Mining Group||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Uni-President China||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sichuan Lexi Expressway||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway Eighteenth Bureau Group Third Engineering||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Changzhou Lianli Automation Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Avic Intelligent Measurement||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Bgrimm Technology Group||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Anhui Printing Mechanical & Electrical||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|The No. 1 Engineering Of China Railway Beijing Engineering Group||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Beijing Sincode Science & Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Guangzhou Panyu Polytechnic||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|China Railway Group||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Fu Qiang||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|GL Tech||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|China United Network Communications||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Oracle||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|INNOVATIVE WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|China State Construction Engineering||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|BlackBerry||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shenzhen Clou Electronics||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Datang Telecom Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hakim Information Technology||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|China National Petroleum||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group||1||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shanghai Chuangli Group||1||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Leaders in mine sensor network innovation include Strata Worldwide and Sandvik. Strata Worldwide’s solutions detect and prevent collision of machine-to-machine and machine-to-person in surface and underground mines. It promotes safety, while enhancing productivity and efficiency in mine operations. The systems are equipped with accident prevention safety functions such as alerting through audio and visual alarms and equipment interlocking.
Sandvik’s automated system installed in its loaders and trucks enables machine learning from the very first time they enter an operating space such as an underground tunnel. The vehicle’s intelligent system, guided by a set of lasers, maps out and records a path. Then the company’s patented algorithms, together with sensors and gyroscopes, ensure the vehicle knows the travel path, even where the GPS is inaccessible.
In terms of application diversity, Cniguard leads the pack, while Schlumberger and Uni-President Enterprises stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Strata Products Worldwide held the top position, followed by Sandvik and Cniguard.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the mining industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity in Mining.