From the Editor: Mining our Future

A 440Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

When we launched Machine Control Online, we reported that 3D machine control technology had been implemented on just 8-10% of the world's machines, at least those that were candidates for positioning. Our data still supports this approximation, meaning that 90% of the market has not yet made the investment. Given the well documented, positive impacts of the technology, the coming adoption stampede is not a difficult prediction. The exact timing is trickier but with mathematical certainty, it is coming!

Even the recent global economic challenges haven't created much of an obstacle. According to the annual Yellow Table survey by KHL Group, "Sales of construction equipment by the world's 50 largest manufacturers grew 25% last year to set a record for the industry. Construction equipment sales in 2011 reached $182 billion, surpassing the previous high of $168 billion set in 2008, prior to the global financial crisis."

The types of machine candidates for positioning systems are also expanding. Traditionally, when we think of machine control, we think of agriculture as well as site and heavy highway construction. While these markets are large and benefit tremendously from machine control technology, other niche markets are emerging. I have personally witnessed an explosion of interest from niche markets such as landfills, dredging, piling and tiling. These applications may not require all of the bells and whistles of a full-on automatic machine control system. Sometimes simpler is better and thinking outside the box can provide niche markets real solutions.

Driving its early days of development, the mining industry has been a core innovator of machine control technology. Mine sites are largely rural which breeds' self-sufficiency. Mines are bursting with engineering creativity and are relentless at defining processes to be more productive and safer. Small amounts of productivity bring big dollars. Coal, for example, is the major fuel used for generating over 40% of the worlds electricity. In my article on page 10, you can read more about the impact coal has on our global economy providing affordable electricity as well as how 3D machine control positively impacts surface mining production.

At the end of the day, Machine Control is good business and we are all miners of something. Read on and I hope you enjoy your issue of Machine Control Magazine!


Randy Noland, Managing Editor/Cofounder

A 440Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

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