​New screen plants launched

Terex Minerals Processing has developed new feeder and screen plants, expanding its CR Series of portable plant range.

The new machines, the Terex Cedarapids CRS620S Portable Screen plant and Terex Cedarapids CRS6203FV Portable Feeder/Screen plant, are the next generation of Terex processing plants, according to the company.

Terex stated that the new CRS620S screen increases production and handles applications not possible with traditional horizontal screens because it combines high g-force oval stroke motion with adjustable variable slope operation.

This plant can handle larger deck loads and larger screen openings.

Hydraulics raising modules can quickly change the screen slope in 2.5 degree increments up to a maximum of 7.5 degrees to best fit the screening application.

Screen openings up to 152 mm are possible while ‘slant spring’ screen suspension provides stability at all slopes, and includes low-maintenance dampers and also eliminates transport braces.

The plant uses large capacity conveyors to handle the high production capabilities of the new LJ-TSV6203 screen, while an optional fines reject system is able to remove excess fines to help achieve in-spec product without additional conveyors.

The 1219 mm wide fines conveyor, which has an elevated discharge, and the two 762 mm wide reversible cross conveyors, which extend up to 1067 mm beyond the main frame, easily feed off-plant conveyors.

The screen plant has magnetic screen deck liners for cross beams and diagonal braces.

Roll-away blending chutes and extended walkways allow easy access to screen cloth.

A low-maintenance flex shaft screen drive eliminates drive belt influence on the screen motion, belt whip, belt slippage, and spring loaded belt tensioners.

There are no drive adjustments necessary when the screen slope is altered. In addition, the new flex shaft drive folds for travel, without shaft disassembly, to minimise plant transport width.

Terex added that the plant interfaces with cone in-out style plants.

Its other machine, the CRS6203FV, has been designed to “handle applications not possible with traditional horizontal screens because it combines the efficient, high g-force oval stroke motion with variable slope operation”.

In a similar fashion to its other machine the CRS6203FV uses a LJ-TSV6203 variable slope screen that is able to handle larger deck loads and has bigger screen openings that increase throughput and production.

A bottom deck deflector plates shift material towards the feed end of the screen, boosting screen efficiency.

Hydraulic raising modules are able to lift the screen up to 10 degrees in 2.5 degree increments as needed, while its patent pending screens stabilisation system also includes motion dampers.

Under-frame mounted triple-axle spring suspension with spring-applied brakes provides increased stability.

It has a large surge hopper with a remote controlled tipping grid and a variable belt feeder that allows loader feed from either side of the machine for more flexibility in production.

The feed hopper measures 4877mm by 2438 mm and comes with rubber side curtains.

The portable feeder screener has been designed with maintenance in mind, and features conveniently located grease banks, cartridge style cross belt flashing, and Martin style conveyor belt wipers.

Its service platforms and guard rails run around three sides of the screen, and are accessed by a telescoping ladder.

“Plant interfaces with cone in-out style plants and can be configured with or without belt feeder and grid providing high versatility,” Terex said.

However Terex are not the only company to introduce new screens.

CDE Global has released a number of new screens in its ProGrade range, which features new screen design systems.

According to CDE the new screen design system results in a stronger but lighter screen which requires less power.

This is due to a re-design of the side walls on the screens.

The new bolted screens also include zero welds and are galvanised as standard, all of which serves to maximise plant life, maximise plant availability and minimise time required for maintenance.

An additional feature of the new ProGrade screens is the patent pending CDE U-Span cross members.

The new cross member design is modular across the ProGrade range and also include zero welds.

As well as offering enhanced geometric consistency the new design facilitates increased space between screen decks, allowing for quick and easy access to replace screen media.

CDE Global product development manager Kevin Vallelly added that “the first stage of the new ProGrade product launch sees the introduction of our new patented technology on a number of screens and dewatering screens. The developments will also be incorporated on the new EvoWash 100 range of sand washing plants and across the M2500, M3500 and M4500 portable washing plants and the R2500 primary screening unit.”

The new screen design system is now available on the ProGrade P2-75 (two deck 5 meter by 1.5 metre screen), P3-75 (three deck 5 meter by 1.5 metre screen) and P2-108 (two deck 6 metre by 1.8 metre screen).

Over the course of the next few months the new design will also be offered on the ProGrade P3-108 (three deck 6 metre by 1.8 metre screen).

US coal miner rejects “Mark of the Beast”

Religious beliefs have won a West Virginia miner $150,000 in punitive damages after his employer tried to make him use technology he associated with the Devil.

Beverly R. Butcher Jr. said he was forced to prematurely retire because of his religious beliefs about biometric scanners used to track employee attendance at a Mannington coal mine.

Butcher feared the technology would imprint him with “the mark of the Beast”, The Exponent Telegram reported.

Scanner manufacturer Recognition Systems wrote in a letter that their scanners “do not in any way have the ability to detect … or place the ‘mark of the Beast’ or any other mark on a person’s hand.”

Butcher, an evangelical Christian, said he was told by employer Consol Energy to use the scanner despite his insistence that it violated his religious beliefs, and that his offers to keep written records of his hours, checked by his supervisor, were rejected.

The letter also discussed the vendor’s interpretation of the Book of Revelation, Chapter 13, verse 16, which pointed out that the reference only said the “Mark of the Beast” could be on the right hand or forehead, and that anyone with religious concerns could use their left hand.

Butcher was represented by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which will seek a permanent injunction against Consol Energy to prevent them from engaging in further religious discrimination as was involved in this case.

A Clarksburg jury found that Butcher had a sincere religious belief which conflicted with the employer requirement, and that Consol Energy had failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for those beliefs, despite that it would not have been an undue hardship for the company to have done so.

A judge will now consider whether butcher is entitled to backpay and other compensation for future pay, however Consol Energy will appeal the ruling.

The original jury verdict awarded $150,000 for “salary, pension and court costs”, however the judge had to remind the jury that they could only award compensatory damages, and not include back or forward pay.

The jury returned the same figure, and said it was only for compensatory damages.

Macmahon CEO resigns

Macmahon CEO Ross Carroll has resigned from the company effective immediately.

No reason was given for Carroll’s abrupt resignation.

Macmahon chairman Jim Walker will act as executive chairman until a replacement CEO is found.

There have been additional changes at the board level, with deputy chairman Barry Cusack also resigning from the contractor.

Macmahon added: “To reduce  costs the company does not intend to seek a replacement for Mr. Cusack’s position at this time.”

Commenting on the shake-up at the top, Walker stated that “the board is committed to implementing cost saving measures across the business as the company navigates the current suppressed market for mining services”.

Testing the waters

Mining operations rely on the continued safe operation of vehicles and machinery to maintain profitability.

Any equipment failure can be expensive in terms of lost production and cost of repairs. An estimate for the cost of lost production for a single dragline is $8000 per hour, making any breakdown costly when it might take weeks for a replacement part to be available.

One way to minimise losses is to continually monitor plant and machinery using non-destructive testing (NDT) methods to ascertain component health, and monitor mechanisms for damage.

Phased array ultrasound can enhance day to day inspection of surface mining equipment, improving safety and keeping critical equipment operational.

However, it is important that inspections are performed with minimal down time, so need to be planned and co-ordinated to ensure that critical parts are available when the maintenance is carried out.

As part of the technical programme at the recent Australian Institute for Non-Destructive Testing (AINDT) Conference in Brisbane, Nicholas Bublitz, a global product support specialist with Olympus Scientific Solutions America (OSSA), explained how phased array ultrasonics could improve mine profitability.

NDT is a group of techniques used to detect discontinuities in materials or components without causing damage or permanently altering the article being inspected.

The AINDT Conference provided opportunities for NDT and maintenance professionals to meet and discuss the latest advances in NDT from around the world. Leading corporate members of the Institute displayed and demonstrated some of their innovative, precision analysis instrumentation and applications supporting NDT.

“NDT methods like ultrasonics, eddy current and radiography – along with condition monitoring techniques such as oil and vibration analysis – play an important part in predictive maintenance programs and help reduce unexpected expenses,” Bublitz said.

“Outage and emergency repair costs can be a significant percentage of the total operating cost of a mine. Finding a crack and repairing it before failure, or monitoring it until it needs replacement and ensuring that parts are ordered to arrive in time for the maintenance work, saves both time and money.”

Conventional ultrasonic testing methods use a single element transducer that produces a beam either at a fixed angle or perpendicular to the surface.

This method is sufficient for many general weld and component tests with unobstructed access and relatively simple geometry to allow probe movement.

Phased array ultrasonics began with the development of transducers with multiple elements that can be individually excited but work as a group.

The sound waves from each element join to form a dominant wave, the direction of which is controlled by the firing sequence and timing.

In this way it is possible to electronically sweep through a range of angles and display the results as a composite picture–this is known as phased array and is a similar technique to ultrasound used in medicine.

Since being introduced in the 1990s, the cost of phased array inspection tools has steadily decreased making the technique accessible to more companies and industrial sectors.

As technology has advanced, the capabilities of the equipment have increased, while set-up and operation has been dramatically simplified.

Machinery used to access, remove and haul away coal and other mineral resources at mine sites is often used during every shift and is under constant operational stress due to the sheer weight or the rotation and vibration of components and engines.

Draglines and shovels are two key pieces of operating equipment where there are many beneficial applications for phased array inspection and analysis.

There are many shafts, pins, bores and lugs on these machines, all of which present excellent opportunities to benefit from phased array inspection.

In addition, the benefits of phased array in weld inspection are well documented and are equally applicable in mining applications.

One example Bublitz presented at the AINDT conference was the checking of dragline swing shafts, which are often long with variable outside diameters. Cracks commonly occur at the transition or taper down areas.

Often two or more ultrasonic angles are chosen and multiple manual conventional ultrasonic inspections are performed where the probe can be applied to the shaft. He showed that the application of phased array simplifies the inspection, and provides better identification and sizing.

Phased array imaging helps identify geometric landmarks to help define the location and importance of any discontinuities.

The overall probability of detection is greatly increased using the comprehensive visual representation.

Data capture even allows for further off-line analysis.

The result is more dependable, accurate and faster assessment of potential failure sites.

The benefits of phased array have been proven by more than twenty years of use in other industries and can now be shown to benefit typical mining applications.

“The use of multiple angles and imaging increases coverage, reduces scanning times, and provides better detection and characterisation capabilities especially when monitoring crack growth,” Bublitz stated.

“Phased array can add a huge benefit to mine predictive maintenance programs.”  

Keeping coal running

SEW-EURO­DRIVE’s ability to produce two 500 kW gearboxes in under a week meant a ­major coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) in Queensland could continue to operate without any downtime, after experiencing a catastrophic failure with one of the gearboxes operating the train loading conveyor belt.

And to make matters worse, the failure happened at one of the worst times of the year, at the lead up to Easter 2014.

The gearbox failure meant that no coal could be loaded for rail transport to the waiting ships offshore. 

­However, with the vital assistance of SEW-EURODRIVE the mines were able to avoid any downtime and continue production.

With limited storage space for the coal, it was vital the train loading conveyor belt was operational as soon as possible to avoid shutting down production at the mine; a very costly proposition.

Ben Vandenberg, Sedgman’s CHPP Superintendent, explained that when the gearbox eventually failed completely, he had exhausted all the spares he could get from anywhere in the world.

“In the end it came down to finding a company who could supply replacement gearboxes as quickly as possible.”

With SEW-EURODRIVE ­holding one of the largest range of spare parts in Australia, valued at over $25m, Vandenberg knew that the leading power transmission company would be able to supply replacement gearboxes quicker than any other power transmission company.

“It was vital a replacement was found, we had no way of getting coal off the site, and the costs were adding up very quickly with demurrage and other penalties involved with the rail and shipping contracts,” he said.

“In the end we had the conveyor up and running a day ahead of schedule, and actually commissioned it with a train load of coal.

“We didn’t even get a chance to run the conveyor without coal on it, but it operated very well first up, and still is.”

Vandenberg said the whole project was like a military operation with so many different people involved.

“As well as SEW-EURO­DRIVE, our engineering team in Brisbane was heavily involved.”

He said he was very impressed with how SEW-EURODRIVE was able to assemble the two gearboxes in such a short time, especially considering the circumstances and with it being Easter. “And from a company they hadn’t dealt with before.”

“In fact I have been very impressed with the whole SEW-EURODRIVE operation, with both gearboxes performing very well. This time SEW has put temperature sensors on them to monitor their operation,” Vandenberg explained.

Military precision

Chris Smith, SEW-EURO­DRIVE’s Industrial Gear Product Manager for Queensland, said the project didn’t really get underway until mid-morning on the Wednesday before Easter, April 16, when he received an urgent call from the company saying they needed the conveyor up and running in just 10 days.

“We knew there were problems with the gearbox, but at the time we were advised that short-term repairs were able to be made. However, that soon changed when the major shaft inside one of the gearboxes failed.”

Smith explained that there are two 500 kW gearboxes on the one conveyor, and while only one had failed, that effectively meant two were needed, because it’s not possible to just replace one.

Apart from being such a very tight deadline, the other problem was the four-day Easter break plus Anzac Day was within those 10 days and Smith knew SEW’s production people in Tullamarine were planning to close for that period.

“We had no plans to build any gearboxes in that 10-day period, let alone two 500 kW conveyor drives.”

He said it was not just the two Mining Drive X3KR220HT gearboxes they had to build but had to get drive base plates fabricated from scratch, high and low speed couplings, coupling guards, torque arms, and all mounted and aligned with the clients free issue motors.

“When we looked at what was needed to be done to meet that deadline, it was incredible. All in a week, effectively.”

Smith said a project like this would normally take four to five months to put together.

“However we recognised the importance of getting this conveyor operating again and were able to meet this incredibly tight deadline.”

To start, Smith needed to see how they could build the gearboxes, and to make sure they had the parts.

Secondly he had to have the workshop staff come in over that Easter break, “which thankfully they did, both here in Brisbane, where we co-ordinated the project from, and in our Tullamarine Head Office where the gearboxes would be built”.

Smith explained that each conveyor drive assembly includes a motor, a high speed coupling, a gearbox, a low speed coupling, and guards, all mounted on a steel base plate, with a torque arm underneath it.

“Once we knew we had all the parts, we had to find a drawing to manufacture the base from. Luckily we had produced a similar sized base previously so we were able to modify the drawings from the previous job.

“If we had needed to go through the whole design drawing process, it would have taken at least a week or two to get the drawings to fabricate the bases, but we were able to modify the drawings we had in six hours or so.”

Once Smith had the drawings it was a matter of finding a fabricator prepared to work over Easter.

“Luckily we have a good sub-supplier we use regularly and they came to the party and did a fantastic job to make it over that Easter break.”

Smith admits there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong, but said he was thankful they didn’t.

“We had to pull a lot of things together to coordinate the project to make it happen.”

Another problem the SEW-EURODRIVE team faced was they didn’t have enough of the special steel needed for the base plates.

“Again luck was with us, and we were able to source some in Newcastle, NSW, and get it up overnight to the fabricator here in Brisbane.”

Smith explained that the pro­duction team in Tullamarine ­started building the drives straight away after they had received the order at 1pm on Wednesday, April 16.

At lunchtime the next day, April 17, assembly of the first unit was well advanced, and by mid-afternoon, the first unit was in final assembly.

Incredibly that evening, the first unit was being tested and by the close of April 18 (Good Friday) the team had one of the units fully completed, and the second unit test running.

Next morning (Easter Saturday) at 10am the team had both gear units on a truck ready for freight to SEW-EURODRIVE’s facility in Brisbane.

Meanwhile the Brisbane facility had been manufacturing the drive bases and low speed coupling guards.

By April 21 (Easter Monday) the gear units and drive bases arrived in Brisbane, along with the free issue motors, so assembly and alignment to bases could commence.

By 6pm the next day the drive assemblies were completed and on a truck to the CHPP facility.

“Incredibly the drives were completed in just six and a half days, and that included Easter,” Smith said.

“No one could have done that; build two 500 kW gearboxes in such a short time frame. I don’t even know how we did it. But it all came together perfectly.

“Actually, we managed to do it because we have a fantastic stock holding here in Australia; over $25m worth of spare parts.”

The ‘Big Data’ evolution

In the future, people will look back at the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st as being the genesis of ‘big data’. With the birth of the Internet, wireless networking, and the ever-decreasing cost of digital storage, capturing and storing huge amounts of data has become the rule rather than the exception. Along with the development of the Internet, IP networking has made even more data possible as devices never even dreamt of years ago can now be easily connected.

Who would have thought 20 years ago there would be a time where we could go for a run and instantly know how far we’ve gone, where we’ve gone on a map, the calories burnt and altitude gained, all read from a crystal clear screen on a mobile phone not much bigger than your average wallet.

There has been a similar explosion of ‘big data’ in mining, albeit slightly behind that of the Internet revolution, but nonetheless, the amount of data now available from mining equipment is staggering. In fact, there is so much data available people often don’t know which way to turn.

Information overload is not a new term, but its use in the past decade has increased dramatically as the amount of data that fills digital storage grows. Collecting data is one thing; displaying it meaningfully is another. Several large mining companies have attempted to quell the information overload problem through the use of remote operationscentres (ROC) where relevant information from operations thousands of kilometres away is displayed for management review. For other companies where an ROC is not on the agenda, the challenge of disseminating and displaying vital information remains.

In order to show the challenge of ‘big data’, let’s take a specific example and break it down. In open pit mining, seconds are paramount. Whilst seconds may not play a large part in drill and blast (its generally all about metres), in the load and haul cycle a matter of seconds can make or break a production target. 

Before my current role I was more familiar with underground mining where metres were king. ‘Metres advanced’ is the metric used in underground development. I never really gave much thought to how much emphasis is given to seconds above the ground but it soon becomes obvious when you break it down. Haul cycles are made up of simple segments: travelling, spotting, loading and hauling (there are other segments like waiting and tipping that can be added but we’ll keep it simple for now).

One haul cycle is the total of these activities in minutes and seconds. Each of these activities can be timed individually using a variety of methods. For most operations, a fleet management system that can detect when each of these activities ends and the next starts can provide this information. For example, when a haul truck is moving along a haul road without a load, it is travelling. When full on the same road, it is hauling. The system knows this based on the GPS position of the truck and if it has a load or not. For spotting, the GPS position is used but it also correlates this with the proximity of a load unit and the selection of reverse gear. If all these are true, then the truck must be spotting. Now that we have a way of breaking the activities down, we also have a way of determining the total cycle time. Likewise, as the activities can be captured individually, we can now also display these individually in a variety of formats such as static reports or dynamic dashboards.

So where do the seconds count? Let’s say a haul cycle is 20 minutes in total and consists of the following breakdown:

  • Travelling – 5 mins
  • Spotting – 30 seconds
  • Loading – 2 minutes
  • Hauling – 12.5 minutes

Now we have a baseline that we can compare all other data in order to answer questions such as:

  • Is 20 minutes good?
  • Can it be improved?
  • How does this operator compare to the others?
  • What happens if the haul route changes?

There are many answers to these questions, but they all have one thing in common: only data can provide objective answers. Let’s tackle the first and third questions – by measuring all operators it will soon become apparent whether 20 minutes is good and where the operator sits in the scale of things. Once you have the answer to those questions you can then answer question number two. If the average is in fact 18 minutes, this operator is well below. Why? Again data can provide the answer, or at least point you in the right direction.

And this is where data can also lead you on a wild goose chase. 

Having only one source of data may not tell you the full story. What if the reason this haul was 20 minutes was because a shower of rain caused a portion of the haul road to become slippery. 

This would only be apparent on one or two hauls as the road would soon drain and dry out, creating a temporary increase in the overall total time. The moral of this example is don’t get too wrapped up in the data you fail to see the ‘truth’.

Let’s go back to question two, as this is where we can really show the power of data. Once the data has been verified, we can focus on the cost savings to be had from reducing the cycle time.

This is where engineering and technology can come together to show the potential benefits of ‘big data’. Let’s target a one minute improvement on the cycle time to keep things simple. As the current cycle time is 20 minutes, three cycles are possible in one hour, therefore there is a three minute saving every hour. In a 12-hour shift there is usually 10 effective hours on average, so therefore with one truck across one shift there is 30 minutes extra – more than enough time for an extra load. Now lets extrapolate that across a fleet of 50 trucks for the year – 1 extra load x 50 trucks x 2 shifts x 365 days = 36,500 extra loads for the year.

Now let’s work out the potential value of these extra loads. We’ll use best case, round figures to make it easy, but you’ll soon see what a one minute saving each load can add up to.

We’ll use a CAT 793F haul truck with a gold grade of 1 gramtonne. A CAT 793F averages 220 tonnes per load, therefore there is potentially 220 grams of gold in each load. 220 x 36,500 = 8.03 million grams which is just over 258,000 troy ounces. At a gold price of Aus$1350ounce that equals Aus$348.3 million. At Aus$200 per ounce profit, that’s a tidy Aus$51.6 million extra profit, all from reducing cycle times by one minute

I did say this was best case – this certainly wouldn’t be the case in the real world as each load isn’t always a premium grade load as there is waste that needs to be moved. There’s a whole host of other factors that would affect the above equation, but it shows the potential of what can be achieved by using ‘big data’.

Now that we’ve seen what ‘big data’ can do for us, the challenge is sharing this information with those decision makers that value the data. 

For a production engineer, giving him an extra load per hour is like having another truck in the fleet – something that can’t be physically achieved with spending many millions of dollars. But give it to him for free and he’ll be your next best friend. 

And this precisely is the future challenge facing many – how to capture, interpret and display big data in this age of information overload. That sounds like a great topic for another article.

Jason Nitz is a fleet management and dispatch superintendent at Newmont Mining.

This article originally appeared in full at Austmine.

Sandvik unveils new mid-range cone crushers

Sandvik has expanded its mining cone crushers, releasing two new mid-range models.

The new CH860 crusher is designed for high capacity secondary crushing, while its other new model – the CH865 – has been built for high-reduction tertiary and pebble applications.

According to Sandvik both crushers feature a range of advanced automation features as well as higher crushing forces relative to mantle diameter, and a 500kW motor.

The crushers were field tested for around one year in a Chinese iron ore mine.

Andreas Christoffersson, the product line manager for cone crushers at Sandvik Mining, explained how ““we scaled down our larger
Sandvik CH890 and Sandvik CH895 mining cone crushers to create two mid-range
models that are even more productive, robust and reliable, and feature enhanced
environmental, health and safety characteristics”.

He went on to state that “depending on the application Sandvik CH860 and Sandvik
CH865 outperform competing equipment in the mid-range segment by as much as 30
per cent and deliver a two-fold increase in performance range”.

The new crushers have been designed with intelligent systems that allow for real-time performance optimisation, and with a more compact build to reduce dynamic load which in turn reduces engineering and installation work.

“The crushers feature fewer moving parts than competing
models,” Sandvik added. 

“Non-welded, bolted liners on the top and
bottom shell also enable safer, easier maintenance.”

Both new crushers also feature the company’s ASRi
(Automatic Setting Regulation control system) and Hydroset to ensure automatic
operation at peak performance around the clock.

ASRi constantly monitors
pressure, power draw and mainshaft position and automatically adjusts the
setting during full load.

The Hydroset main shaft support system provides
protection from overloads by permitting tramp iron and other uncrushables to
pass through the crusher before automatically returning to the original

The system automatically compensates for crushing chamber wear to provide
consistent product size.

“Hydroset enables us to incorporate our unique
PLC-controlled electric dump valve for tramp iron protection, which
significantly reduces pressure peaks and mechanical stress on the crusher,
greatly improving reliability,” Christoffersson said.

“In these challenging times mines are often looking
for increased productivity without necessarily expanding their plant,”
he said, “the CH860 and the CH865 are easy to install as
replacements to achieve this. In the test site we replaced a similar sized
crusher, on the same foundation, to greatly increase final product and
significantly extend crushing chamber liner life. The electric dump valve
repeatedly proved its tramp iron protection value, reducing costly unplanned

Job survival in the age of robots and intelligent machines

It is a sobering thought that in ten years, around 65% of the jobs that people will be doing have not even been thought of yet, according to the US Department of Labor.

In Australia, there are reports that up to half a million of existing jobs could be taken over by robotics or machines run by artificial intelligence.

So with smarter computers taking on more of the work that people currently do, we are left to wonder what jobs there might be left for us humans.

Could a robot do your job?

Almost any job that can be described as a “process” could be done by a computer, whether that computer is housed in a robot or embedded somewhere out of sight.

Robots have already taken over many jobs – here 1,100 robots in a new car manufacturing plant in the US.
Flickr/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Corporate, CC BY-NC-ND

So if intelligent machines can take over many of the jobs of today, what can you do to ensure your job prospects in the future?

Some jobs will always be done by people. The reasons can vary greatly: economic, social, nostalgic or simply not practical for robots to do.

If around 65% of the jobs in 10 years have not been invented yet, we cannot be sure what those future jobs will actually look like, though futurists are not shy of making predictions.

While we may not know what outward form these jobs will take, we can still make a catalogue of the generic skills that will be valued highly.

Thinking skills for future workers

In his book Five Minds for the Future, the Harvard professor Howard Gardner makes the case for cultivating a disciplined mind, being someone who can bring their attention to a laser-like focus and drill down to the essence of a subject, perceiving the simple truth of it.

Then to take this clarity to the next level by combining multiple ideas in new ways to create something interesting and perhaps useful. This done by the synthesising mind and the creative mind.

Gardner describes the respectful mind that values diversity in people and looks for positive ways to interact, thus overcoming the “us and them” instinct that still creates so much conflict in human affairs.

Building on this is the ethical mind, of one who thinks about the big picture and how their personal needs can be brought into alignment with the greater good of the community. Skills for a globally connected world.

Mastering the new media

The future will see a host of new technology for creating and communicating content. In-demand workers will be able to critically assess this content and find ways to communicate it to good effect.

Communication skills have always been important and will remain so.

Knowing how to deal with large data sets will be a handy skill; finding ways to make sense of the data and turn it into useful information.

This could involve devising new, multi-disciplinary and perhaps unconventional approaches to the challenges.

Managing the information

We already filter a deluge of information every day. Our grandparents were lucky, they had to deal with a lot less.

People will need to be even better at managing the cognitive load, they will have the thinking skills to filter the deluge and find optimum solutions to problems.

When good collaboration tools exist for virtual project teams, there are few limits to what can be achieved. More projects will be done by such teams because the technology that supports them is getting better every year.

It allows the right people, with the right skills at the right price to be employed, regardless of where they live.

So it will be that people with the right virtual team skills will be in high demand.

Virtual environments

Speaking of the virtual, Procedural Architects will be at a premium. These are people who can design virtual environments and experiences that allow people to get things done and perhaps have some fun.

This is what the minds behind Google, Youtube, Facebook, Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, eBay, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WordPress and MSN have done.

All of this leads us to the question; what actual jobs are likely to be in demand?

We are already developing robots to take on new challenges.
Flickr/Stanford Center for Internet and Society, CC BY-NC-SA

Employment specialists compile lists of what they think will be in demand, based on trends. These are some of the jobs that appear on multiple lists.

The IT sector is likely to need:

information security analysts, big data analysts, artificial intelligence and robotics specialists, applications developers for mobile devices, web developers, database administrators, business intelligence analysts, gamification designers, business/systems analysts and ethicists.

In other disciplines, there will be a need for:

engineers of all kinds, accountants, lawyers, financial advisers, project managers, specialist doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, veterinarians, psychologists, health services managers, schoolteachers, market research analysts, sales reps and construction workers (particularly bricklayers and carpenters).

Both lists are not exhaustive.

On the downside, occupations likely to shrink in demand include:

agricultural workers, postal service workers, sewing machine operators, switchboard operators, data entry clerks and word processor typists.

The bottom line

To position yourself favourably for the jobs of the future, become someone who can look at problems in unorthodox ways, seeing different angles and finding workable solutions.

Be a multi-disciplinary, insatiably curious person who knows how to use the tools to model ideas and create prototypes.

Possessed of an open mind and few fixed ideas about how things should be done, you nonetheless have a strong conscience and can operate outside of your comfort zone to achieve win-win outcomes. You are known for your integrity and resilience.

All of these qualities can be cultivated or perhaps rediscovered, since children often exhibit them in abundance. They have always been the way for creative, high-achieving people and they are still the way today and into the future.

In the brave new world of the coming age of intelligent machines, it is these essentially human qualities that will be more important than ever. Some things will never change because human nature is what it is.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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Komatsu reach Australian milestone

During 2015,
Komatsu Australia will celebrate 50 continuous years of selling, servicing and
supporting its equipment in Australia.

In August
1965, LeTourneau Westinghouse (later known as Wabco Australia Pty Ltd and with
the co-operation of C Itoh) was appointed nationwide distributor, and began
selling Komatsu dozers to customers around Australia – some whom are still
customers today.

Since the
foundation of Komatsu in Australia 50 years ago, the company has seen  expansion and growth of its operations – including over 50 branches
and service depots and various assembly facilities and remanufacturing centres
in major cities across Australia.

As part of its
celebrations of this significant milestone, throughout 2015 the company will be
reviewing the history of Komatsu in Australia, from the earliest days of selling
just a few machines, to where it is today, as one of the largest suppliers to
the country’s construction, mining, quarrying, utility, local government and
related industry sectors.

It will also
be highlighting the earliest machines sold in Australia, some of which are
still operating, as well as recognising some of its oldest and most loyal

Sandvik and Downer join forces on service solutions for mining materials handling projects

Sandvik Mining Systems is partnering with Downer EDI Limited (Downer) to
offer high-level field service and maintenance solutions for mining materials
handling projects around Australia.

The memorandum of agreement (MOA) will enable Sandvik to engage Downer
to carry out any maintenance work on Sandvik mining equipment operating on its
customer sites, ensuring equipment is safely up and running in the shortest
possible time to meet the client’s production targets.

Wayne Slight, Global Operations and Maintenance Manager, Sandvik Mining
Systems explains that the agreement with Downer will allow the company to support
their customers with a more extensive field service offering, which will enormously
benefit their customers’ productivity and operations around Australia.

Observing that Sandvik has long been recognised as an OEM providing
leading-edge products designed to the highest quality thanks to their 150-year
legacy, Slight comments that the agreement with Downer will enable them to
better service their customers with a more extensive field service offering.

Paul Gilbert, Bids & Contracts Manager for Downer described the MOA
as a ‘best-fit’ solution for both organisations and their customers. Downer’s
extensive history in the mining and construction industry has helped the
company develop a strong level of product knowledge of Sandvik Mining Systems,
and the necessary expertise to maintain them correctly.

Mr Gilbert adds that the agreement will allow them to carry out full
servicing, repairs and maintenance on Sandvik mining systems, including working
with on-site service crews, to ensure the equipment continues to operate
safely, optimally and reliably. 

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