The mining industry is rapidly modernising with smart mining operations projected to increase threefold by 2025. Automation plays a key function in this transformation and has the potential to increase productivity and improve safety and working conditions. For example, transportation in mines is a repetitive task that is well suited to autonomous vehicles which operate around the clock. Private cellular networks connect those vehicles to coordinate paths and exchange mission-critical information.
Due to constant changing environment in the mine, the transmitters and receivers move which can cause reflections, scattering and other diffraction phenomena. Modelling the impact of these changes on network coverage needs to be managed regularly, otherwise, operators run the risk of communication failures.
ATDI works with many of the world’s largest mine operators providing network planning and modelling expertise in the form of software solutions, consultancy services and custom training. These solutions reduce the risk associated with the changing terrain and allow operators to automate their coverage plans frequently. ATDI’s flagship radio planning software, HTZ Communications features key functions that are well suited to managing the issues facing open-mine operators.
Prospective planning: Understanding the impact of terrain changes is essential to network planning. HTZ Communications features a prospective planning function to allow operators to model these challenges over time. These plans can include the best location for fixed transmitters and coverage achieved. Operators can manage their activities more efficiently and remove the risk of communication failures. Identifying communication not-spots allows operators to use gap fillers or trailers to fill areas without coverage.
Automation: Mine operators use scanners or sensors to monitor terrain changes within the mine. Using HTZ Communications, operators can import the updated maps into the software which triggers their conversion into ATDI’s format. Once imported, the software automatically calculates coverage and produces a composite coverage based on the terrain changes. Functions like identifying the best servers, composite coverage and coverage overlapping are also supported.
In addition, SINR throughputs for LTE and 5G networks can also be automated. The results from these calculations are exported in KMZ and TIF/TFW files and are published via a display engine in the Operation Centre. By automating workflows, users can make time and resource efficiencies and reduce the risk of errors in repetitive manual processes.
Accuracy: ATDI’s propagation engine defies laws of physics. The tool has proven to deliver highly accurate predictions, outperforming other planning tools that have evolved from the classic mobile telco needs in urban and suburban environments. ATDI’s propagation engine is well suited to open-cut mines and deep pits. The latest measurements in open-cut mines show a correlation exceeding 95% with less than 1.5 dB margin of error.
Check out how LTE is transforming automation in mines.