February 22, 2022
“Our task at Epiroc is to drive and coordinate the early stages of R&D technology and innovation. We draw up applications and technical roadmaps and build relations and expert teams. Working on cross-divisional projects and with external partners from academia, OEMs and startups, enables us to develop close to customer and reality.
Getting renewed EU trust after SIMS feels huge, and I’m proud that Epiroc once again is taking on a leading role for NEXGEN SIMS. The network we’ve built up during SIMS is already in place and active, and our partners are ambitious, accomplished and forward thinking. We’re standing on solid ground for the years ahead.
"Getting renewed EU trust after SIMS feels huge, and I’m proud that Epiroc once again is taking on a leading role for NEXGEN SIMS"
Our task this time is to link together system solutions. By the time NEXGEN SIMS reaches its conclusion in 2024, I think we will have come a good way down the road towards autonomous mining and be able to define the next hurdles. This is the biggest technology shift ever in the mining business, with electrification, connectivity and autonomy all being developed concurrently. At the same time, we have to keep our portfolio of existing machines since the global market differs in its level of maturity.
Epiroc will put a big effort in Work Packages 6 and 7, developing autonomous functionality in the interface between loaders and dumpers, working in a mixed traffic environment. It’s a major and vital part of mining operations, and there is a lot of work and complexity to introduce autonomy into the process and make it digital. There are some challenges ahead working in a project with partners across and outside of Europe, one of which is the risk of ending up working in silos. With a project set-up focusing on cross functionality and building on an established network, we are trying to ensure and maximize value. Communication is paramount in ventures like these, building trust in a healthy working environment, promoting creative mindsets and creating valuable partnerships for collaboration.
NEXGEN SIMS is a consortium of 13 partners collaborating in an EU-sponsored project to develop autonomous carbon–neutral, sustainable mining solutions, building on the successful SIMS project, which ran from 2017 to 2020. The partners are: Epiroc Rock Drills, AFRY – ÅF Digital Solutions, Agnico Eagle Finland, Boliden Mineral, Ericsson, KGHM Cuprum, KGHM Polska Miedź, K+S Minerals and Agriculture, Luleå University of Technology (LTU), LTU Business, Mobilaris MCE, OZ Minerals and RWTH Aachen University. The project has a budget of 16 million euros and will run from May 2021 to April 2024.