MIRS, celebrates 10 years of life betting on the development of robotic technology for the industry and the optimization of resources in productivity15 February 2017
In just ten years of existence, betting on innovation and development of Chilean technology, the company MIRS has positioned itself as a leader in robotic solutions for mining and heavy industry, aiming decisively to the optimization of resources by its customers.
This Chilean company, leader in the robotization of mining processes, is ten years old. Its goal is to continue creating new solutions, especially focused on Industry 4.0.
In just ten years of existence, betting on innovation and the development of Chilean technology, the company MIRS has positioned itself as a leader in robotic solutions for mining and heavy industry, aiming decisively at the optimization of resources by its customers.
“Our strategic vision is to be able to lead robotization processes in highly variable processes in mining and heavy industry, so we have focused on strengthening our engineering and development area with the best human capital available in the market. The ultimate goal will always be to ensure that each of our machines is capable of exceeding the process specifications and, with it, the customer’s expectations”, explains Igor Elías, Commercial Manager of MIRS.
How would you define the role that MIRS has had and has today in the industry?
MIRS is probably one of the few national companies that export technology developed and patented in Chile all over the world, with offices in our country, Peru, the United States and Africa. This ten-year process, driving a robotics company in a country that does not have a strong technological base, has been very difficult, but at the same time it has made us very strong. The role we have in the industry today is probably to serve as a guide to other technology companies that are in the early stages of their history, which we can help through the many lessons learned. This know-how we usually disseminate through presentations at conferences, where we show the challenges of the development, commercialization, and marketing processes of our products and engineering challenges we have faced and how to solve them.
How important is research, development and innovation for MIRS?
MIRS researches, develops, designs, integrates and manufactures all its systems and machines, so R&D is a crucial part of our value chain. Without this function, we would simply have no products, and we would be just a representative of foreign brands or a distributor. This is one of the most important differences between MIRS and other Chilean companies in the technology sector.
What expertise does KUKA Roboter GmbH bring to the company?
KUKA Roboter, along with being a shareholder of MIRS, is one of the largest developers and manufacturers of robots in the world and together we are promoting the concept of mining 4.0. This implies that not only MIRS has the backing of the KUKA brand and its products, but also allows us to have a much deeper technological integration with them, which translates into the exclusivity that KUKA only through MIRS can put its products in mining.
In these ten years of life, the most successful solutions developed by MIRS refer to two fundamental topics: “In terms of installed base (equipment sold), the solution that has had the greatest impact is the sampling systems for concentrates in maxibags and trucks. Today these determine the quality of almost all the molybdenum concentrates in the country, and soon close to 60% of the lead, zinc and copper concentrates that Peru ships from the port of Callao”, says Igor Elías. In terms of technological development, he adds, another successful innovation is the initial sheet take-off system for the Amarillo refinery in Texas (Asarco, Grupo Mexico), “due to the enormous complexity of the process in which we were involved, along with the logistical challenge of designing, implementing and commissioning a Chilean robotic system in the United States,” indicates the commercial manager. In 2016 MIRS opened an office in Salt Lake City, USA, hoping that this will be a commercial spearhead for the mining product lines and that through it the company will strengthen its entry into the Heavy Industry sector (steel, foundries, etc.) in that country. Another relevant market for MIRS is Peru, where it has maintained relationships with clients since its beginnings, but it was during 2016 when, together with the controlling group HighService, it opened its first corporate office in Lima. “The positive results have been immediate, closing an excellent first year of commercial operations,” Igor Elías stresses.
When asked about the mining industry’s willingness to incorporate new technologies, the executive warns that “mining is one of the industrial sectors that spends the least on innovation in relation to its income, compared to other heavy industries, and that is a debt that is being paid dearly today due to the loss of productivity”. This reality, he adds, was a constant impediment to materialize many MIRS projects in the past, “but today, given the current market circumstances, we have seen an important paradigm shift: finally, mining has had to look to advanced technologies, such as robotics, as the way to recover its productivity and competitiveness indexes. In this sense, we see a promising future”, he remarks.
MILL MAINTENANCE SUPPORT ROBOTS
Recently, in December 2016, MIRS launched a new range of products in which the company has high expectations. This is the line of robots for SAG mill maintenance support (change of mill liners and trommel), the first unit of which was delivered to Minera Escondida. “We are confident that this is a product line with the potential to transform the way we maintain and operate concentrator plants. It has already aroused enormous interest in the mining sector, which has us working hard on new projects,” says Igor Elías, Commercial Manager.