The effective operation of a mining enterprise anywhere in the modern world is impossible without the use of modern computer technologies and automated process control methods. Mining above the arctic circle, where temperatures can reach -65 ° C, presented mining and metallurgical company Nornickel (until 2016 Norilsk Nickel) with a unique set of problems.
To improve its vital operational processes, it enlisted the help of Infinet Wireless to establish a mobile network. To ensure the effective distribution of equipment along supply routes, load control, prompt adjustment of the production process, and tracking possible violations, Infinet’s soluions were deployed to ensure the processes, crucial for the optimization of quarry work and for increasing productivity, were reliant on the best-in-class networking solutions.
Nornickel has been working in the field of deposit digitalization for a long time. To manage transport and drilling rigs, monitor the main and auxiliary equipment, control the volume and quality of ore, the company has been using the Quarry automated control system (ACS) from VIST group (part of Zyfra mining).
Due to the hazardous nature of the work, malfunctions in the wireless network are unacceptable, even in these harsh climatic conditions where the weather might affect a connection. For the real time operation of the Quarry automated control system, Nornickel needed a reliable solution for wireless broadband data transmission, including the one between moving objects.
Their supplier, the Dateline Group of Companies was given the task of finding the optimal solution for organizing wireless communications in the quarry. The connection integrator had to choose equipment that would meet high requirements for productivity, connection quality and, at the same time, high reliability. Dateline’s engineers considered various competitors’ products and solutions. However, they chose Infinet Wireless’ solutions due to the smooth operation offered, even at extremely low temperatures, and Infinet’s optimal algorithm for organizing communications between moving objects. Furthermore, Infinet offered full compliance with technical requirements, and the simplicity and ease of network deployment of the company’s products .
Testing the water
Testing in the Arctic quarry was carried out using two sectors of the base stations of the InfiLINK R5000 family with integrated antennas (Mmxtb) operating in the 5 GHz frequency range. Two subscriber sets (Lmntc) with connected antennas with a circular radiation pattern were installed on a moving object. InfiMUX switches were used at the base station and at the mobile object. The network was running on the Mesh Interconnection Network Technology (MINT) protocol in Time-division multiple access (TDMA) mode.
While testing and performing the preliminary setup of the equipment, some problems were encountered. For example, the frequency range, which had been initially agreed with the customer, was congested. In response, Infinet devices were rapidly transferred to free parts of the spectrum to allow for the installation to continue. Overall, despite the harsh conditions of the polar night, the entire installation process took only three hours.
As a result of the successful testing of the proposed algorithm and equipment, a standard solution using Infinet equipment will be developed for all quarries and mines where the Quarry automated control system (ACS) is deployed. The Dateline Group also plans to use Infinet solutions for mobile connections in other quarries, mines, highways and coastal zones.