NLT’s Network Enables Vehicle Automation and Remote Control, Increasing Vehicle Productivity by Over 25%.
Company Detail: $500M Market Cap, 600+ employees
Operating Location: Central Canada
Mineral: Precious metals
Application: Industrial Network, Wi-Fi, Tracking, Communication, Vehicle Automation, Remote Control.
NLT deployed an industrial N-Connex network backbone and tracking system into a precious metal mine in central Canada. After a year of successful use, the mine began to look to new ways to leverage the robust N-Connex platform. NLT’s network was perfectly suited for tele-operations of vehicles and other vehicle automation applications. The mine is actively using the N-Connex network to remotely manage scoops from the surface.
Vehicle automation and remotely controlled mining equipment improve safety and productivity
The automated scoop is by far the most productive piece of equipment in the mine. Averaging over fifty 11-yard scoops in a 12-hour shift – 25-50% more than a manned scoop. This is a result of an automated scoop’s ability to handle greater shock and vibration without an operator inside.
The machine uses LIDAR to scan the scoop – while tramming in, stopping at the appropriate location, and then scooping out. An operator safely monitors work from the surface and is able to assume remote control when necessary.
This method has several advantages. The operator works from a safe, climate-controlled environment, eliminating transit delays and any underground safety risks. By moving the operator to the surface, the scoop can travel up to twice as fast as a locally controlled vehicle, at 10-12 km/h vs 3-6 km/h. In addition to increased speed, these vehicles can operate 24/7, operated on multiple daily shifts by surface personnel.
The mine will soon transition to automated haul trucks to speed up ramp traffic. Development drills are underway to allow one operator to monitor multiple vehicles that are in simultaneous operation. This includes automated or remotely operated haul trucks, drills, and rock breakers.
N-Connex Industrial Network
In addition to the cost competitiveness and mine-hardened advantages of the NLT platform, N-Connex provided a robust, low latency, high-bandwidth network layer. N-Connex exceeds the high-performance video, data, and synchronization requirements of the high-tech mining vehicles.
The NLT solution is purpose built. Where other systems are designed for surface IT in an office building, N-Connex was designed to go underground, in the harshest environments. In the event that equipment gets damaged, the plug and play nature of the N-Connex solution ensures that any personnel can quickly swap in spare equipment and cabling and return the system to full operation.
The system is supported by NLT staff who understand the demands of underground environments, who are familiar and comfortable with providing a service and technical support that is effective for the demands of mining.
Mine-Ready Network Services
NLT’s expertise in mine networks ensures it is best suited to install, integrate and support the digital networks required by the heavy equipment OEMs for automation and tele-remote operations underground. As such our deployments are between 50 and 70% less expensive than those offered by the heavy equipment operators.