The mining industry is constantly evolving to drive down operational cost and ensure the safety of miners and assets. It is now entering a new age of technological development using the latest and the best-in-class connectivity options to enhance operational efficiency. Mines are typically in remote locations and demand a reliable, secure and robust communications system. The LTE technology, with its high efficiency and low latency, meets the requirements of mining industry for business-critical operations. Azcom Technology, with deep expertise in the cellular space, is closely working with the mining companies to provide a state-of-art private LTE network solution for end-to-end communications.
What does LTE mining solution include?
- Reliable communication network for both open-pit and underground mining for safe, reliable mining equipment operation and automation
- Real-time environmental and operational insights on mining equipment and transport vehicles with sophisticated sensors, mapping and monitoring technologies
- Remote management of mines with fully automated fleets using LTE hand-sets
- Mining applications and processes to reduce data cleaning and increase data inferences
- Cyber security
Major benefits of installing a 4G-LTE network
- Real-time communication throughout the mine allowing employees to communicate, exchange ideas, make decisions and react immediately wherever they are. With the use of tablets, handsets, and mobile cameras, for example, a mining supervisor could discuss a problem and propose solutions with the mine’s technical experts.
- A safer workplace thanks to the ability to better track and monitor people’s geolocation and contact and if needed, rescue them in emergency situations.
- More efficient operations due to the improved ability to collect real-time data which is used to monitor and control mining equipment remotely.
- Fleet Management Systems
- High precision machine guidance
- Autonomy and remote control
- Asset tracking and monitoring
- Production Reporting
- Collision avoidance and other safety systems
- Tire monitoring
- Dust monitoring
- Fluid monitoring
- Fuel management
- Operator alert systems
- Security and cameras
- Slope monitoring
- Vibration monitoring
Network Deployment Challenges and Solutions
Rf Coverage Challenge
The RF environment in a mine is very challenging due to continuously changing topology, radio shadowing from moving terrain and large equipment and extreme conditions (temperature, vibration, shock). Azcom Technology, with its 3GPP compliant solutions, helps customer to create a coverage zone design where terrain, channelization and RF power are leveraged to provide the requisite performance.
Mining operators may own spectrum to deploy a fully private LTE network or may have to obtain / lease the spectrum rights from Mobile Network Operators (MNO). Azcom Technology’s proprietary LTE Small Cell solutions are easily customizable to a required band of interest. Azcom Technology also has the MOCN (Multiple Operator Carrier Network) that allows deployment of a LTE networks for mining operators with the ability to re-use the spectrum to provide services to cellular subscribers of the specific MNO. LTE Private networks optimize both CapEx and OpEx to the mining owners with better reliability and network control.
The network design is based on latest LTE technology offers a low-cost system, in comparison with even traditional Wi-Fi infrastructure. The total cost of ownership (TCO) is extremely compelling with very low installation and commissioning costs. Azcom products have reduced power consumption thus enabling deployment of solar powered cell towers using trailers.
Azcom Technology leverages the LTE technology capabilities to provide high data rates both on downlink and uplink. This is very valuable in a mining scenario where people and machines may need video communications with each other. Azcom is also providing the latest NB-IoT technology that enables deployment and management of thousands of sensors. These sensors provide business-critical information on operating health of mining equipment thus significantly improving operating efficiency of the mine.