ARC works closely with both users and suppliers of technology in the mining and metals industries.
Mining companies continue to face operational challenges such as shortage of skilled people, limited availability of equipment, high energy costs and high transportation costs. The utilization and availability of capital equipment directly impacts all these challenges. Machinery must remain highly available for uninterrupted production operations. Capital equipment is being placed in remote, hard-to-reach locations, and often in extreme temperature ranges. Energy efficiency is an increasingly important factor, particularly in areas where electrical energy is in limited supply. The same goes for water resources.
Technology that improves both productivity and energy efficiency has high value in the industry. The high incidence of component failures in machinery is a recognized problem and has had a significant impact on productivity. Furthermore, machinery design flaws and aging often require operators to lower production rates to reduce the number of failures. Due to the mobile nature of many assets and remote, geographically dispersed operations, IIoT-enabled solutions are gaining traction for remote asset monitoring, human safety, and predictive analytics applications.
Some companies in the metals industry now look to the automotive and aerospace industries for growth. Specifically, the aluminum sub-segment, which remains a virtual oligopoly with its vertically integrated businesses, will benefit from the rise in consumer demand for cars, housing, and air transport. However, the remainder of the metals industry, which is focused largely on steel, is adjusting to new pricing levels and increasing competitiveness. Overall, the focus in the industry has shifted from growth at any cost, to rationalizing underperforming assets, idling capacity, and undertaking corporate reorganization in an effort to lower costs and improve margins.