Q&A with Julian Lim of Micromine, GMG-CIM AI in Mining Montreal Forum Speaker

By Chantal Hortop

Julian Lim – Product Owner and Technical Product Manager for the Pitram Mine Control and Fleet Management Solution at Micromine – will speak at the GMG-CIM AI in Mining Forum on May 1 in Montreal. His presentation is entitled Automating Load-Haul-Dump Cycle Data Capture with Machine Vision and Deep Neural Networks. We asked him a few questions about his presentation and his work.

What will be the most substantial benefit to the mining industry from the use of this technology?

Historically, being at the cutting edge of technology has been limited to the bigger mining companies. I think the biggest benefit is that this kind of technology comes at a relatively low cost, so a significant number of mid- and low-tier operators can reap the benefits of automated data capture.

What will it mean to remove the human element from the data capture process?

Human feedback is still one of the most important data points available to us, as we can better provide answers when the situation itself is not clear or needs to be explained. However, for tasks that are repetitive in nature with little nuance involved, people are often less accurate due to various factors like lack of focus, idleness and forgetfulness. Because machines and sensors do not suffer from these conditions, they are much better at monitoring and recording this type of data. Once you start getting accurate data you can analyze and then apply business intelligence to, the opportunities to improve efficiency or reduce cost start to show themselves.

How did you come to be interested in technology?  

Growing up I was always interested in technology. I remember as a young child being the one to show my parents how to use the VCR to schedule the recording of TV shows. I would spend a lot of time researching parts and building the PCs for my family rather than buying them prebuilt from the store. This led to tinkering on and making modifications to cars, which seemed to be a good introduction into the heavy equipment used for mining. Getting to play with new technology is like Christmas for me and I don’t see that feeling ever leaving.

What would you like those attending your presentation to come away with?

I would like people to walk away feeling that the technology is already at a level that it can be utilized to help them with problems or challenges. Also, to help change the perception that the technology is distant, too futuristic and not ready for them. There are so many opportunities to achieve smaller, quicker wins and reap the benefits without having to wait to have the technology or funding to implement the equivalent of a level 5 autonomous driving solution.