Automation and digitalization are the future of the industry. But automation is not just about remotely controlled machines. Atlas Copco offers smart connected products and with the new concept 6thSense takes a leap in getting all systems connected. “We are now taking a big step on the digital path for systems integration in mining, quarrying and tunnelling. With 6thSense you are able to improve your operation in a completely new way,” says Olav Kvist, Vice President Mining Technology.“6th Sense,” explains Kvist, “is all about interoperability, advanced data analytics and a work process where we help our customers take the right steps towards improved operations. Every little step results in the clear benefits of 6th Sense: increased safety, increased predictability and increased productivity.”With 6th Sense, Atlas Copco integrates equipment, services and automation with advanced analytics and management systems. To be able to do this Atlas Copco is investing both internally and teaming up with external partners.Kvist continues, “We are not alone in this. We are developing collaborations and key partnerships with a number of companies with excellence in performance and capabilities.”Atlas Copco has announced partnerships and collaborations with Mobilaris MCE, Dassault Systemes and IBM. With this eco-system view on automation Atlas Copco says it “will continue being a long term partner to its customers on their journey towards increased safety, predictability and productivity.”Customers are currently on different productivity levels and are continuously seeking new ways of improving their operations. This is where Atlas Copco with its 6th Sense digital path can be a key enabler to meet customer specific needs.Joe Farrugia Vice President Global Technology Operations explains, “The key thing is that most can take significant steps on their existing fleets.”6th Sense can be defined in four levels, Machine function, Machine autonomy, Process autonomy and System integration. In short, the levels can be described as follows.The first level – Machine function – is operator assist through automated machine functions. Monitoring systems provide easy access and collection of data while control systems provide operator assist functionality improving the value of the machine in use.Moving to the next level – Machine autonomy – it’s automation of a complete machine and remote control of one or several machines at the same time. You optimize your equipment’s full capacity by not having to adjust to the normal staff time schedules. On top of this autonomous operation means the machine is run consistently to its specifications improving the life and reducing wear and tear from manual use.The third level – Process autonomy – is when machines start to become connected from a working perspective. This is automation of a complete process with a mixed fleet communicating machine to machine, with real time positioning integrated to planning and decision support systems. Such as complete interoperability in a drill – blast cycle process.The final and highest level – System integration – is complete integration of processes and systems across the entire value chain. This includes advanced analytics, traffic management, total asset management and the whole operation management.