Raw material extraction

Digitalisation everywhere: German mining technology benefits worldwide

T‌he remaining manufacturers of machines for raw material extraction in Germany recognise their opportunity and are investing in developments to further digitalise the global mining industry. In doing so, they are meeting the mining companies’ goals of automation and “zero emission”.

 

The most important foreign markets for mining equipment in the 1st half of 2021
© VDMA

The most important foreign markets for mining equipment in the 1st half of 2021
© VDMA
At the end of the first half of 2021, the books of German mining machinery manufacturers show a big plus: order intake has doubled compared to 2020. After the Corona-related slow start to 2021, the industry hopes to stabilise business in the current year at the previous year’s level. Overall turnover during the first half of the year is still below the previous year’s figure. But in June, the 145 manufacturers of equipment for raw material extraction organised in the VDMA Mining Association recorded a direct year-on-year increase in turnover of 8 %.

 

Parallel to the development of turnover, exports of mining equipment from Germany have not yet fully recovered. In the first half of 2021, the value of technology exported from Germany was still 8.6 % below the corresponding figure for the previous year, reaching close to under 709 million €. The better export figures from the previous year used for comparison also result from the long-term nature of mining projects worth millions. In 2020, a lot of equipment was delivered that was ordered before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic.

 

But Corona notwithstanding, global demand for machinery is generally good again this year. Asia, especially China, and many other countries are returning to growth. Government stimulus packages, for example in China or the USA, with investments in infrastructure and decarbonisation, are providing further momentum. For many raw materials, such as metals, plastics or coal, the rapid increase in demand can hardly be met. As a result, many commodity prices are reaching new highs. In this environment, global mining companies have earned properly – especially with copper, iron ore, coal and gold.

This makes now a good time for mining suppliers to present new ideas for the extraction and processing of raw materials. Above all, offers for further automation, digitalisation and zero-emission innovations are sought after. A look at the global mining industry shows a clear focus on climate and environmentally friendly processes as well as digitalisation; the pressure for this is coming from the financial sector. There are many ways to achieve the goals - from alternative drives for the equipment to autonomous operation and the necessary communication and data technology. Ultimately, this means: digitalisation everywhere.

 

Therefore, work on the technology and data standards required for digitisation is likely to be essential for the export success of German solutions. VDMA Mining is working with national and international partners within the OPC UA Working Group Mining on the corresponding Companion Specification Mining. Various work processes have been recorded in use cases and processed as Companion Specifications. In spring, further processes from the preparation of raw materials and internal transport were added. With this work, the German manufacturers are also pursuing the goal of setting the standards necessary for further digitalisation and automation in this country.

www.vdma.org

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