Keeping track of miners spread out across a large mining operation can be a difficult task that becomes critical when mine tunnels collapse. Many mines use a radio system to track miners, but when a collapse occurs, the base stations connected by a thin wire often are rendered useless.
A company that develops tracking systems for the rapid recovery of underground miners wanted to find a reliable solution to maintain communications even if a tunnel should collapse. Digi’s XTend OEM RF modules and XTend-PKG RF modems provide the critical connectivity for the tracking solution.
A small transmitter equipped with a long-range 900 MHz XTend embedded RF module is attached to each person entering a mine. Each transceiver is connected to an inertial sensor that monitors movement and relays motion data back to a central location. The transceivers communicate with base stations containing XTend-PKG modems that are bolted in strategic locations throughout the mine. Benefits of the completely wireless XTend solution include:
- Increased reliability through added network redundancy
- Elimination of wires, which can be damaged during a tunnel collapse
- Powerful 1-watt transceiver provides long-range communications
- Increased range reduces the need for additional repeaters
- Easy configuration and installation
Mine operators are now able to monitor the real-time locations of each miner to better pinpoint their locations in the event of an emergency. Even after a full-day of use, mine operators can locate an individual miner within ten feet.