The use of real-time data in underground mining is moving beyond a “nice to have” and now connectivity solutions are becoming essential for any operation looking to drive productivity and promote maximum health and safety of its workers.
As the reliance on data and real-time information has soared, the ability to transfer this data across the entire mining environment, in real-time, has become a large focal point in modern-day mining. Infrastructure creation, expansion and on-going maintenance play a significant role in day-to-day operations.
Remote Monitoring, Control & Command
Being able to remotely monitor underground equipment and environments in real time and receive early warning alerts of any potential problems or dangers, has now become a key capability at many operations. Add then the ability to remotely control underground devices and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) on systems, and the mine can operate highly efficiently and with increased safety.
Expanding Existing Infrastructure
StrataConnect™ DigitalBRIDGE Plus+™ is a new, innovative solution that can be built on top of an already existing VHF Leaky Feeder network and combines multiple capabilities into one single cable. This helps to mitigate one of the biggest challenges in communication networking – installing and maintaining mine-wide infrastructure. DigitalBRIDGE Plus+ digitizes existing leaky feeder to enable high-speed Ethernet data transfer, with the added option of inserting 24 to 48 Volts DC. This does not require a change-out of the underground system, but instead utilises the existing network infrastructure, the existing head-end unit and the mine’s existing hand-held radios.
Ethernet data can be inserted at the head-end unit, or at a fibre/Ethernet switch underground. The system offers speeds of up to 500mbs, and this can be accessed anywhere along the leaky feeder cable. Using standard tools and procedures mine-site personnel can tap into the coaxial cable to connect, and power, Ethernet end-point devices. With this capability, operations can take their VHF radio networks, without compromising voice quality, and use it to connect Wi-Fi access points, cellular access points, IP cameras, gas detectors and other various instrumental PLCs, including units installed in emergency refuge chambers.