A major mining machine OEM recently stated that they have a requirement to clearly identify machines loading coal at the primary mover. For several obvious reasons. Various attempts to develop the correct technology solution have been made but they were not happy with the data in the reports as the integrity of the data could be questioned.
The OEM approached Minelert based on our track record using RFID for different tracking solutions. A planning session to understand their requirement was entertained with the OEM after which the development planning commenced in the Minelert Laboratory in Route 21 Office Park, Centurion
The original MMU (Machine Monitoring Unit), a WiFi device that records data from mobile machines and assets, was selected to be used for the underlying technology. The firmware was re-designed, and a trial setup was built to be tested using 2 x Minelert Active Tracking Tags to identify cars. The solution caters for a total of 4 x cars to be identified. This kicked off the re-certification of the equipment for coal mines, which was completed very quickly.
The installation went smoothly as planned. It was quickly clear that a lot of fine-tuning and (possibly) major changes may be required. To our astonishment, the only 2 major changes were to include the car identification data to the loading belt run time and the location of the active tags on the cars. This was updated and an application was developed to allow the OEM to adjust the antenna sensitivity on their own meaning minor changes to the system could be done by the OEM themselves.
In the end, the amazing technology development team of Minelert managed to develop this technology, install and fine-tune it all in a matter of 8 weeks. A remarkable turnaround time for the development of a technology other international players battle to develop.
So what is the business benefit one may ask? Knowing what cars are being loaded, how long it takes and what the time is between loading them allows the business user to evaluate process performance, target statuses and much more. The solution also addresses the age-old argument between Mining and Engineering i.e. availability versus utilisation.
Connectivity between the data collection is client provided as is the data display software development.