wireless communication in mining

In the mining industry, operations are increasingly dependent on the availability of stable and reliable Industrial Ethernet Networks as well as network monitoring software that can deliver precise coordination in rugged mining conditions. In addition, wireless network technology enables safety solutions such as Lost Persons Detection Systems, which saves lives and prevents operational downtime associated with prolonged search and rescue operations.

Mining Applications Enabled by Wireless Mining Networks

Underground mining wifi network

Wireless communication networks in mining transport data, voice, and video, to support applications that are essential to efficient and safe operations, such as:

  • Asset Location Monitoring (ALM) that enables real-time monitoring of all vehicles, loco’s, material cars and any other asset throughout a mining operation.
  • Duress Alarms: Personal or ‘Man-Down’ alarms that provide personal protection for staff, and Maintenance Alarms that notifies nearby operators when equipment malfunctions or needs repairs.
  • Lamp Room & Access Control Systems that prevents the loss of production by keeping track of the location of underground workers throughout various areas of the mine.
  • Mobile Voice Communication in real-time, which is generally accepted as the best method to coordinate an effective emergency response.
  • Text Messaging, which enables the instant dispatch of information to key staff or specified groups in an emergency situation.
  • Lost Persons Detection Systems (LPDS), which pinpoints the exact location of every single underground worker during emergency incidents.

Communication of Wireless Network Elements

Wireless Networks usually consist of both fixed and mobile nodes which are connected to a master controller to enable seamless real-time communication. To provide maximum benefit, wireless mining communication networks must offer:

  • Hosting of the system database
  • Logs monitoring data
  • Interaction with third party T/A databases
  • Web based reporting
  • Automatic report scheduling
  • Customized Business logic

HiVision: the Best Platform for Wireless Network Management in Mining

Mining communications specialist, Profitek’s Minelert, has successfully implemented wireless networks in various underground mines, including a stretch of more than 100 km (62 miles) of continuous WiFi coverage in one of South Africa’s deepest mines. Considering Profitek’s Minelert’s extensive experience in this field, it is worth taking note of their first choice in industrial network software: Hirschmann’s Industrial HiVision, a solution that focusses on the functionality required in an automation/production environment.

wireless network management in mining

The current HiVision release offers a rich feature set, including increased security functionalities for both the software and the network. It is available for Windows and Linux operating systems. The software can be used for reliable and convenient management of industrial networks, from configuring network nodes and visualizing network topologies, to detailed status displays.

Industrial HiVision software ensures that network administrators have real-time access to all the information needed for efficient network management, accurate location faults and maintenance work. In short, Industrial HiVision is a core component for enhancing the availability of data communication.

The newest upgrade is designed with expanded security features, such as a security lockdown feature, configuration signature check and configuration file compare function. The result is all-around network protection and high-performance network management.

Benefits of HiVision Wireless Communications Software

  • Using MultiConfig, hundreds of devices can be configured simultaneously – both when commissioning the system and during subsequent live operation
  • HiFusion allows all SNMP-enabled devices to be integrated into the management system, including any device-specific properties
  • Network topology is automatically recognized and accurately visualized, including any unmanaged switches and hubs
  • Distributed network management with hierarchical master/slave stations
  • A setup wizard makes it easy to set up the network management and quickly adjust its configuration
  • SNMP/OPC server for integrating SCADA applications
  • Graphical user interface available as an ActiveX control
  • User roles control access to the network by granting different levels of access rights
  • One set of credentials for single sign-on to multiple devices
  • LDAP or RADIUS user authentication
  • Audit trail for reviewing a complete history of user actions
  • Security lockdown feature for applying security functions with a couple of clicks
  • Configuration signature check monitors changes to device configuration files
  • Configuration file compare function highlights the specific configuration change
  • HiMobile 2.0 for iOS, Android, Windows tablets and phones

Underground Mine Safety