"Our commitment to being OEM and technology agnostic sets us apart, enabling collaboration with diverse technologies."

Ron White

DIRECTOR - SALES AND MARKETING, 3D-P

April 19, 2024

How would you describe 3D-P's activities in 2023?

We expanded our presence in Wyoming, Montana, Arizona and New Mexico. Additionally, we successfully executed new implementations, adapting to changes within the Epiroc organization and our go-to-market strategy remains robust, resulting in positive outcomes.

What are the key value propositions of 3D-P?

Firstly, as a network reseller for various technology companies, we specialize in designing and deploying networks for clients needing new infrastructure. Our second focus entails manufacturing intelligent endpoints designed for mobile fleets—rugged devices capable of data collection and logging, serving as an onboard computing platform. This caters to the growing demand for comprehensive fleet data, primarily driven by ESG initiatives in the mining industry. Lastly, our professional services group monitors and supports customer networks, providing network support, audits, and recommendations to ensure compatibility between required applications and technologies such as LTE, Wi-Fi, or meshing solutions. Our commitment to being OEM and technology agnostic sets us apart, enabling collaboration with diverse technologies.

How important is LTE for mining operations in the Western USA?

To-date, LTE has held a minor role in the Western US, especially in open-pit settings. This is primarily due to the lack of available RF spectrum in the region. We continue to work with those telcos so that LTE and 5G become a valid solution in this region.

How does the unique environment of remote mining locations impact the deployment of communication technologies?

Recognizing the unique challenges of remote locations, limited infrastructure, and constant device mobility is paramount. While the absence of outside RF signal interference is advantageous, wide-open spaces can result in self-interference challenges, particularly in open-pit mining applications. An in-depth understanding of specialized mining applications significantly differs from everyday uses. Once we comprehend the environment and applications, we strategically choose the right technology and deployment methods. Our role is to determine the most effective methodologies for deploying these technologies in mining, ensuring seamless functionality and proactively addressing potential issues.

Can you share insights into the evolving cybersecurity landscape in the mining industry?

While most networking technologies used in mining have robust security features, the main challenge still lies in human behavior, particularly in physical security, actions can compromise system integrity, like individuals opening suspicious emails and clicking on harmful links in industrial settings, we may unknowingly open doors to cyber-attacks. Educating customers on protecting against threats is essential, highlighting that even advanced technologies are ineffective if we unintentionally enable unauthorized access.

What is the Network-as-a-Service and how did you employ it at the Spring Creek mine?

We recently completed a network upgrade for a mine in Montana, encompassing fleet and infrastructure through a comprehensive site-wide network upgrade. Our delivery model Network-as-a-Service (NaaS), sets this project apart. NaaS offers a unique advantage by alleviating the burden on the customer. In the dynamic mining industry, frequent mine advances, application changes, and other environmental challenges require network redesigns as often as every six months. With NaaS, we monitor, manage and maintain the network to align with the customer's specified service level. We work with the customer to determine the level of service the network must provide and deliver that. The customer simply uses the network without worrying about it, similar to how we all work with our cellular provider for access on our phones.

Our services team, equipped with expertise from diverse mining operations, delivers the on-site network and ongoing support, reducing workforce costs and the complexities of network management for the customer. This Montana mine’s success with this approach is evident, allowing them to make monthly payments based on their required service level without upfront capital investment. Notably, most mining customers seek a network not for its own sake but for enhanced productivity, safety systems, or support for ESG initiatives. NaaS simplifies this process, acting as the 'fourth utility' that facilitates the integration of valued applications and technologies, providing a streamlined and efficient solution.

What are 3D-P’s goals for 2024?

In 2024, we are focused on deepening integration with Epiroc to enhance efficiency and tap into their global presence and customer relationships. Epiroc aims to be the preferred integrator for mining solutions worldwide, recognizing technology and connectivity as the 'fourth utility.' At 3D-P, our role is crucial in addressing connectivity challenges in mines.

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