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7

SEPTEMBER Issue

to industrial machines, the manually

operated equipment that drove progress

in the 20th century is giving way to the

era of machines driven by computers.

This not only improves safety for human

workers but also, in some cases, makes

it possible to remove those workers from

the mine altogether; now it’s possible to

operate equipment remotely, without ever

setting foot in the pit or underground.

Just as an 8-hour shift of manual drilling

gave way to an 8-second use of powered

equipment, what once took weeks of

human brain power for the collection and

analysis of data can now be completed

in a matter of seconds through the

application of robots and computing

power.

Aquick scan or drone flyover can produce

a visual display – even a virtual reality

representation – in a way that wasn’t

possible even a decade ago.

Not only do these innovations free up

that human brain power for other things

– work like designing, overseeing, and

maintaining fleets of robots – but they

also open up a whole new realm of

possibilities for the human species.

Theofficial entry into theeraof commercial

space flight and the realization that the

development of space will most likely

begin for profit means these just-now-

possible technologies are also pieces

of the foundation underlying what will be

needed not just to mine in challenging

environments here on earth but also the

barren environments of space.

In this issue, we take a look forward

at some of the technologies that are

changing the face of mining, and also

backward at how the process of mining

evolved from cave dwellers picking up

shiny rocks off the ground to the high-

tech systems that transform minerals

obtained deep underground into the

computerized gadgets that are propelling

us toward a spacefaring future.

Like past leaps in technology – like the

advent of a scientific approach to mining

in the late Middle Ages or the application

of steam, diesel, and electric power in

the 20th century – the current explosion

in tech trends is going to change the

face of mining as it also changes the

economy and human society. Like

every major technological shift, it will

disrupt everything – but it will also

build something new, and with greater

opportunities.

From the standpoint of human history, it’s

like being in the middle of a commodity

boom: Things are so great, so happening,

everyone wants to believe that this one

will be the one to break the mold – that

now, finally, we will cross the threshold

into a lasting prosperity that is not

followed by the destruction and doldrums

of the inevitable bust.

In an era steeped in the post-apocalyptic

entertainment genre and a period of civil

unrest, it seems the always-precarious

nature of human civilization is distinctly

felt in our culture these days. But maybe

if we’re lucky, we humans can tolerate

each other long enough to keep making

progress – and continue building this

exciting high-tech future that’s placed us

on the cusp of incredible progress.

And maybe – just maybe – this time it’ll

stick.

RICHWOOD IMPACT SYSTEMS

Worry-Free

Load Zones

Rely on Richwood Load Zones. Worry-Free by Design.

Clean-up costs, lost product, safety and environmental issues

are a real risk to productivity. With a Richwood designed load

zone, this application is saving 40 hours of clean-up and close

to $19k in components every month. What would it mean for

your productivity if loading and spillage issues were eliminated?

Contact Richwood today for an on-site evaluation.

www.richwood.com

(800) 237-6951 | (304) 525-5436 |

info@richwood.com

BEFORE

AFTER

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