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The Technology Shaping The Future of Construction & Mining

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Despite the bumpy road of the past couple of years, mining and construction remain two of the most important industries in Australia. Our nation’s resource sector has seen record profits, driving 11 per cent of the country’s economic activity, while our construction industry produces around 9 per cent of Australia’s GDP.

For businesses in mining and construction, it’s vital to stay on top of advanced technologies as they emerge. Not only can they help businesses meet rising demand, but many new systems and devices are being crafted to offer greater worker safety and vastly improving the quality of projects.

Let’s look at some of the biggest tech trends that are shaping construction and mining for the better.

 

Sustainable Concrete

Despite concrete being a cornerstone of construction, the material can have negative impacts on our environment, damaging the topsoil layer of the earth. Thankfully, researchers at RMIT have developed a new substitute that’s great for the planet and stronger than traditional concrete.

The recycled concrete uses waste such as coffee cups, rubber and building rubble, helping to reduce landfill and CO2 levels. Researchers have also developed a unique mould for casting recycled concrete products that compresses the materials to improve strength and durability.

According to Professor Yufei Wu of the RMIT School of Engineering, “by enhancing the properties of the recycled waste without the use of any additional materials, we have developed a feasible and practical solution that addresses the performance issues affiliated with waste recycling in concrete.”

While sustainable concrete is still a few years away from being commonplace across jobsites, we expect this advancement to greatly benefit Australia’s construction industry.

Ventilation On Demand

Correct air ventilation is a key part of any mining task but running massive ventilations throughout an entire site24 hours a day can quickly chew through your budget.

Though they’ve been available for a couple years, Ventilation On Demand (VOD) systems in mining have steadily grown in popularity and use, and are expected to become commonplace devices in the near future.

VOD systems, usually integrated with telematics and digital tracking tools, are used to enhance overall airflow in particular sections of mines. The system can be scheduled against a daily schedule, or they can be set to power on by detecting workers or equipment within close proximity.

Not only are VOD systems vital for worker safety in mines, but their cost-cutting abilities bring huge potential to the future of mining.

Construction Drones

Depending on the size and scale, construction projects can run for several months. With so many moving parts to keep track of, it can be difficult to stay on top of budgets and ensure there’s no project overruns.

Thanks to their ability for providing a comprehensive view remotely, the sight of drones on construction worksites throughout Australia has become increasingly common. Many sites use drones for surveying and planning over large areas, as they provide valuable, real-time aerial views.

In fact, you can use drones to record and monitor progress of a project - you simply don’t have to travel to and traverse across a large job site to see everything anymore. With drones, managers and operators can effectively manage progress remotely.

As the technology onboard them increases, the construction industry will eventually use photos taken via drones and combine them with photogrammetry software to generate geo-referenced 2D elevation maps and 3D models, which can be used to determine precise distances and volumetric measurements.

Not only can these models help calculate ground levelling costs before any digging begins, but they can also be used to simulate weather effects, helping managers identify potential areas of flooding. As we speak, some companies may already be trialing this new technology. 

Geo-Tracking Wearables

Keeping tabs on the whereabouts of each staff member is difficult enough in a wide-open space, but when you’re deep in the depths of a mine (say, an open-cast mine), knowing where each person is becomes even harder.

The concept and execution of wearable technology has slowly developed in recent years and can now be used to provide real-time updates on each team member. By combining GPS technology and telematics, managers can look at the location of their entire team with a glance.

While this is useful for tracking the progress of a particular section, geo-tracking wearables have the potential to swiftly remove workers from hazardous areas as they develop – something that could save lives across our nation’s mining sector.

 

With investments across both construction and mining set to rise in the years to come, now’s the time for businesses and fleets to look at how they can best secure the long-term safety and wellbeing of their staff, all the while keeping costs down to a minimum.


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