MTI Tech engineers have over 20 years combined in designing, deploying, and supporting mine communication systems all over the world. Mine communication technology has evolved very quickly with mines now become fully autonomous, and reliant on high bandwidth and low latency ICT networks underground.
MTI have our own leaky feeder system for high quality digital voice communications underground, as well as partnering with Rajant and integrating their Kinetic Breadcrumbs systems into MESH networks. During 2020 we worked with a UK mining operation to deploy TunnelMESH – UK Mine – TunnelMESH System
Rajant provides a robust alternative to fibre and traditional single radio wireless systems using our multi-radio, multi-frequency BreadCrumb® nodes combined with wide-band, bi-directional, circular polarized antennas. BreadCrumbs maintain multiple simultaneous connections between peers for inherent redundancy and can simultaneously send and receive information on different frequencies, mitigating issues due to interference, congestion, and equipment outages. This also increases transceiver capacity to ensure low latency and enables mines to cascade BreadCrumbs together as many as 10 hops or more without throughput degradation.
MTI Tech partner with Extronics to support its AeroScout Wi-Fi based active RFID tags for personnel and asset tracking. Because Rajant’s network never breaks for handoff , tracking of personnel and assets is highly reliable and can also be used to identify productivity bottlenecks in real-time to improve operational efficiency.
While most mining operators use a time-based preventive maintenance model, studies have shown that the forced maintenance timeline often leads to wasted costs, and in some cases even equipment damage. Rajant Kinetic Mesh® networks allow mines to move to a condition-based monitoring paradigm by bringing them the data needed to proactively monitor equipment health and deploy maintenance only when issues present themselves.
Underground mines are also looking to leverage autonomy to meet increasingly stringent safety and productivity mandates. The challenge is that autonomous applications are not only bandwidth-intensive but most require continuous uninterrupted communication otherwise the autonomous vehicle has to stop due to safety reasons until communications is re-established.
Rajant is the only wireless network that is designed to provide continuous connectivity and consistent high throughput across multiple hops. Rajant uniquely delivers on this demand because in our network, no connections need to be broken for new ones to be made. BreadCrumbs can be deployed on moving autonomous equipment to dynamically form multiple connections with other fixed infrastructure nodes as they come into range, and InstaMesh selects the best available path to maintain high throughput and low latency even due to a signal blockage. This is especially applicable in a block cave autonomous haulage operation at draw points and in panels.
Rajant has extended the robust capabilities of InstaMesh® to a smaller, lighter series of BreadCrumbs that are ideal for deployment on highly mobile autonomous systems. While compact in size, the DX2 and ES1 provide the same reliable and resilient performance in hard-to-network environments as Rajant’s other larger and more ruggedized wireless nodes. From interference-wrought, above-ground settings to underground tunnels and even on water, these BreadCrumbs extend and expand the connectivity range of autonomous systems, allowing them to often roam large geographic areas.
Kinetic Mesh enables fully mobile coverage without the need for infrastructure and can provide the operational coverage autonomous assets need when they are far away from LTE towers or have no line of sight.