Big Data & Analytics Heroes

Ben Snyman

VP Underground Mining and Smart Services, Joy Global

“Roof stability and effective support is quite a challenge,” declares Ben Snyman, VP of Underground Mining and Smart Services at Joy Global and this week’s Big Data Hero. “If the roof has a problem, production halts. We cannot afford to wait around for a report telling us there is a problem. We need to know in real time what’s happening underground. My team needs to continuously monitor conditions in order to dynamically change the course of action. In underground mining, a few minutes could be the difference between maximum efficiency or a work stoppage."

How have big data and analytics impacted how you do your job today?

We are now focusing on underground mines, which are highly vulnerable to geological service disruptions. We need to predict, prevent and act more effectively. We need to do more and faster. We can’t afford to gather data, store it, analyze it, report on it and then only act. We need real-time insight in context. The IBM real-time big data and analytics solution enables us to detect problems and send real-time alerts with optimized operational and service action recommendations to the mine and to our field technicians. We dispatch operational actions and service personnel before the machine operator ever sees a problem. This allows Joy Global to help the customer save millions by preventing costly service interruptions and equipment downtime. In short: Smart Services is helping our customers increase production and reduce costs by significant amounts.

How is streaming analytics impacting your organization?

For years we have had the ability to see raw data but not analyze it in near real time. Now we take real-time streaming data and translate it into actionable results for our customers.

First, we see minute by minute data streaming from a hydraulic pump. Next, we take the observations and put that into context, in this case over a 12-hour period. Immediately, we can see the formation of a weak spot in the roof and take action to prevent a potential service disruption. Previously, taking only a view from inside the mine, we thought there was a geological reason for roof instability, now we know we can control the underground conditions much better and predict problems.

How are big data and analytics changing your business strategy?

Joy Global applies the same lean principles that we are using in our manufacturing operations, to identify constraints and to light up underground mines. We are able to simplify and optimize mining processes. This enables us to run automation for more than 80% of the time, thus moving people out of harms way and also delivering increased utilization and performance. IBM’s big data analytics provides us a scalable answer to optimize our global network and machine fleet to provide more proactive services to our customers. We provide 24x7 support, including emergency repairs, preventive maintenance and operational improvements. We do this all of this through analyzing and correlating thousands of data points every second.


View all of our Big Data & Analytics Heroes here on the Hub.