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What Is Human–Machine Interface and How Does It Support Value Creation at Newmont?

When Brian Clugage first made the transition to the Carlin command center in Nevada, he admits there was a lot to learn:

“Running a loader from a screen requires a different perspective than actually sitting in the loader underground.”
— Brian Clugage

Prior to his current position as an underground operations technician, he worked as a lead hand guiding heavy equipment from inside the mine. Today, Brian is proficient at using different computer programs to remotely operate multiple loaders simultaneously – a skill he now finds “as easy as riding a bike.”

A Nevada drill operator using remote operations to control heavy equipment.

Brian’s experience is one of many examples of how human–machine interface is helping Newmont’s operators, maintainers and engineers adapt and advance technology for smarter and more efficient mines. A human–machine interface is any method or device that allows for interactions between humans and machines. It may consist of hardware, software, motion sensors, keyboards, speech-recognition interfaces or any other method in which information is exchanged using sight, sound, heat, and/or other cognitive and physical movements. These interfaces make it possible for people to form symbiotic relationships with technology.

While machines may change the nature of some jobs for the better, they do not replace the need for people.

Take, for example, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI and machine learning algorithms help collect information and insights – that may have previously been lost in physical paper files or spreadsheets – in mere seconds, freeing up time for people to apply their strategic skills to better analyze data and proactively anticipate potential issues. Automation of important, though tedious, repetitive tasks will give time back to our teams – time they can spend focused on high-value work and continuous improvement.

An underground drill operator in Nevada.

We recognize that embracing technology and digital transformation can be challenging especially when the change affects employee work planning, routines, and even patterns of thinking and behavior. Yet, the ability to adapt to change is becoming more and more critical to business performance, and, as Brian knows first-hand, can open up a whole new realm of possibilities for personal career growth and value contribution.

Brian’s openness to change not only enhanced his skill set, but it also carved out new potential career paths with greater responsibility and the chance to make a bigger impact. In his new role, Brian continues to expand his computer skills and says he’s learning new things every day. “It’s really interesting to see where we are at and where we are going with new technology,” he says. “And I’m excited to be a part of it.”