SENTINEL™ Uniti Nodes Provide Comms and Data in One Network
An underground mining contractor in North America uses a raise bore machine for their mining
operations. This machine operates by first drilling a pilot hole through the earth to an existing mine or
tunnel. Then a larger bit is attached and the machine pulls the bit back up through the earth, allowing a
shaft to be excavated without the need for explosives.
Since the raise bore machine is critical to the mining process, its status must be continually monitored in real-time to maintain operational efficiency. Data from the machine can be accessed using an IP connection, either wired via ethernet or wirelessly over Wi-Fi.
In this case, the mining operation was unable to run a fiber network connection to the machine due to working section constraints; it also could not monitor the machine’s data locally underground as this method required constant observation by personnel and was not economical. Thus the mine needed a solution to remotely monitor the machine that included an underground Wi-Fi network capable of integrating with third-party devices, provided a wireless fiber link for backhaul to the mine office, and was rugged enough to handle the harsh conditions of a mining operation.
When the mine discussed their situation with IWT, they explained that they needed a site-wide communication system and a high-speed wireless data link to remotely monitor the raise bore machine.
IWT’s proposed solution included the SENTINEL™ Communication and Tracking System throughout the mine and SENTINEL™ Uniti Nodes throughout the entry of the raise bore machine. The SENTINEL™ Uniti Nodes deliver standard voice communications and Wi-Fi coverage to collect data from the machine, as well as a wireless fiber link to relay machine data back to the mine office. This allowed the mine to remotely monitor the raise bore machine and have voice communications all with one network provider.
IWT’s SENTINEL™ network solution for this customer includes:
- SENTINEL™ Uniti Nodes
- Integrated Mesh Nodes (IMN)
- Battery Mesh Nodes (BMN)
- Gateway Nodes
- Maintenance Station with mProvTM software
- SENTINEL™ Handsets
Although COVID-19 restrictions limited on-site access, IWT was able to provide virtual installation support and training to guide mine personnel through a successful installation of the system.
Once the system was installed, the customer had clear voice communication throughout their mine and was able to monitor the health and status of the raise bore machine, both remotely and in real-time.
The benefits of communication and data with the IWT SENTINEL™ System include:
- Increased miner safety
- Less maintenance with one system provider
- Remote access to data, even at on-site locations
- Automatic data collection
- 24/7 communication between surface and underground
- Wireless data collection from machines
- Access to historical data
- Integration of third party sensor data onto existing customer network