A leading global supplier of machinery and technical solutions for mining operations partnered with Moxa to develop an innovative remote drilling system to safely operate haulers and drilling equipment from a distance.
The client sought the solution for use in global mines located in countries such as Sweden or Australia to address the extreme hazards and unpredictable environments of mining operations. The use of industrial automation and unmanned mining equipment that can be remotely controlled and monitored at a safe distance helps protect the lives of miners in these environments.
By reducing the time mine operators spend at dangerous drilling sites, Moxa’s new remote drilling and hauling system minimises dangers from falling rocks, flammable dust, exhaust fumes, extreme temperature fluctuations, and vibrations.
The system’s remote operation also increases productivity by eliminating the regions where workers and trucks work in the same space. By making the trucks completely automatic, the remote system eliminates the issue of having to stop the trucks when workers enter the vicinity, a mandatory requirement in mixed areas where human operators and mining machines co-work with each other.
Moxa was required by the client to create a remote drilling system, which would be resistant to harsh and highly-corrosive underground environments; function as a reliable wireless solution for video transmission in unpredictable reflective underground tunnels; and offer quick and easy installation.
Moxa’s remote drilling system
The mine system uses two separate automated systems to streamline operations. The first system is a video monitoring system installed on the automated loading and hauling system, used to safely monitor an underground fleet of driverless trucks from a remote ground-level control centre. A stable video transmission of the driverless trucks is necessary to allow the control centre operators to monitor the trucks, which have IP cameras mounted on the front and rear.
The second system consists of stationary rock breakers, which are grounded to a single location and are remotely controlled. Transparent data transmission allows data such as CAN-bus data to be sent.
To integrate with systems operating deep below ground, the AWK-4121 encased in an ADC12 anti-corrosion aluminium housing was used to establish a safe and reliable wireless LAN to provide monitoring of the driverless trucks for the control centre. The AWK-4121 was chosen because of its rugged design, easy-to-install features, reliable millisecond-level handoffs with Turbo Roaming, and flexible transmission power to overcome the challenges posed by the unpredictable underground tunnel surface.
The AWK-4121 is also equipped with a wide operating temperature range from -40°C to 75°C to allow constant connectivity under extreme temperature fluctuations from the mouth of the mine down to the heated underground locations. By installing several AWK-4121 units along the tunnels, drilling locations, and on each of the driverless trucks, operators can now easily manage the driverless trucks and drilling machines over WLAN.