Using a wireless system to monitor water levels efficiently in open-cast mining

Overview

Trucks used in open-cast mining  

Open-cast mine in South America

  • A large open-cast mine in South America wanted to automate drainage of the mine, as well as monitoring and control of the pumping stations.
  • A reliable wireless solution was needed to transmit data over the long distances found inside the mine and even beyond.
  • The Radioline wireless system from Phoenix Contact is able to monitor and control the water level remotely, leading to more efficient processes in the mine.

Application

In open-cast mining, water accumulates in the pit and has to be pumped out regularly to ensure safe working conditions are maintained. Five pumping stations were installed for this purpose, which then needed to be monitored and controlled manually.

The mine operators wanted to put in place a remote monitoring and control system for the five pumping stations, so as to take the strain off their employees and automate the corresponding processes. The open-cast mine is made up of five depth levels, so a wireless solution that can reliably transport signals over even long distances and supply real-time data to the operating and monitoring center was the order of the day.

Solution

Monitoring the water level in open-cast mining  

Monitoring the water level in open-cast mining

A Radioline wireless system from Phoenix Contact was installed to make the process of distributing I/O signals a simple one. The Trusted Wireless 2.0 technology on which the wireless solution is based turned out to be the ideal solution, thanks to its ability to transmit data over long distances. This meant data could also be communicated across all the different levels found in an open-cast mine.

Four Radioline modules were installed on each level of the mine in order to forward information about the water level in the pit lake. The signals are transmitted first to the communication module, which sends the information to the Inline controller using a Modbus protocol. Once that information has been processed, it is forwarded via PROFIBUS to the PLC, which conditions it for monitoring and analysis in the control room.

Various tests were performed at the end of the project to ensure communication was stable and reliable, thus providing for efficient monitoring.

Summary

Now the mine operators are able to monitor and control the water level in the open-cast mine from the control center, creating safe working conditions for their employees.

The mine operators enjoy the following benefits:

  • Efficient processes from continually monitoring and controlling the water level remotely.
  • Ability to respond rapidly, thanks to real-time data.
  • Safe working conditions for employees, since the water level in the open-cast mine is monitored continually and reliably.
  • Same uptime compared to direct monitoring by employees, as the Radioline system offers many diagnostic options.
  • Cost-effective installation and startup, thanks to the use of wireless technology.

PHOENIX CONTACT Ltd

8240 Parkhill Drive
Milton, Ontario L9T 5V7
1-800-890-2820

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