Blockchain: Authenticate Mining Parts With Greater Transparency

Ruediger Schroedter

Mining industries are running at full speed around the globe. They are extracting raw materials needed by a range of manufacturers to create our modern products an equipment. Unfortunately, when a mining machine breaks down, the unexpected downtime significantly impacts worker productivity. Mining deadlines are pushed back as this problem also affects profits.

Having adequate spare parts on-hand enables mining operations to make quick equipment repairs, but sourcing these spare parts from reputable vendors can be a challenge. Spare parts that don’t come from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) could be fraudulent. Counterfeit parts are prevalent in the mining industry, with vendors selling parts at a lower price and claiming their product can take the place of an OEM part. The parts could be defective, damaged, or inappropriate for its intended use.

Preventing fraud with blockchain

Blockchain, the technology that launched Bitcoin and virtual cryptocurrency phenomenon that occurred a decade ago, is a public distributed ledger of transactions.

The ledger contains data or information of everyone involved in the transaction and what transpired. People and companies that participate in the transactions provide this data to build transparency about their role, offering information about their services in the transaction to create a block of data that is placed into a record or registry. The transaction then moves to the next participant, who provides their information to the same registry, and so on until the final transaction is completed.

This blockchain offers unique benefits for every participant. They can analyze the blockchain technology to authenticate the transactions. If there are inconsistencies or fraudulent methods involved, a company can reject the blockchain and avoid being involved in the transaction. In essence, a blockchain instills trust that a transaction was conducted in an efficient, secure, and appropriate manner.

Blockchains and the mining industry

While we associate ledgers and transactions with the financial industry, the fantastic thing about blockchain is that it can be used in any industry to track any type of transaction. Mining operators can use blockchains to authenticate the origin of spare parts to avoid counterfeit products. When spare parts are made by multiple manufacturers and shops, you can access encrypted blockchain data, verify certificates of origin for the materials used to produce the spare part, and authenticate documents from the manufacturer that verify that it is indeed an OEM part.

Reducing the number of counterfeit spare parts on the market today is vital for mining operators who don’t want their production processes or profits hampered. Blockchains are a viable solution to building trust with manufacturers and vendors to ensure that parts are appropriate for the equipment. Mining company managers can then avoid vendors that sell fake and potentially dangerous parts that could damage equipment or injure workers.

Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation by downloading The IoT Imperative for Energy and Natural Resource Companies. Explore how to bring Industry 4.0 insights into your business today by reading Industry 4.0: What’s Next?

Ruediger Schroedter

About Ruediger Schroedter

Ruediger Schroedter is responsible for solution management of SAP solutions for the mining industry worldwide. He has spent more than 15 years in the mill products and mining industries and has extensive experience implementing SAP solutions for customers in these industries before coming to SAP.