Radio keeps mine assets on track

STI Engineering
Wednesday, 02 December, 2009

Keeping track of mining vehicles and monitoring assets using radio telemetry can play a major role in keeping a mining company competitive and efficient.

Black Box Control and RF Innovations have developed a system allowing vehicle tracking and telemetry in remote areas. The result is suitable for asset monitoring and tracking within pockets of interest or in areas with limited telecommunications coverage.

The system has been installed on 16 haul trucks at the Koolyanobbing iron ore mine site in Western Australia. Each truck has a Black Box in-vehicle recorder monitoring unit and an RF Innovations radio modem on board.

The recorder provides the source data required to understand its location (via GPS), processes the telemetry data and manages the communications link. The VHF Crescendo data radios are being used for the communications link back to its central location.

The software allows the data from the central site to be examined from anywhere in the world through an internet connection.

Parameters such as location, direction of travel and activity levels can be monitored, as well as user-defined alarms notifying of exceptional conditions such as extreme temperatures, vehicle inactivity or when an asset has left an area of interest.

With dedicated addressing and store-and-forward capabilities, the data radios are suitable for wide-area networks and live logging of multiple remotes.

The intelligent data radios eliminate problems traditionally associated with complex RF links, such as data collisions and packet duplicates.

Features such as automatic recovery requests and forward error correction ensure total data reliability and make the radios suitable for use in RF-noisy environments such as a mine site.

At Koolyanobbing, geographical constraints have been overcome by installing multiple single-unit repeaters to extend the RF coverage. Should an asset leave the coverage area however, the recorder is capable of storing data and reporting back to the base when coverage is regained.

At minimal ongoing operational costs, the system offers a range of benefits to the mine owner and the flexibility of the system allows for a custom-fit solution to suit the requirements of a specific business.

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