Reliable Structural Monitoring for a Safer Mine

Mobile network outages can occur at any time, and can last anywhere from minutes to days. Unfortunately, this can interrupt critical data transmissions on a mine site – ultimately putting machine and worker safety as well as the mine’s productivity and profitability at risk.

The remote, rough and rugged terrain of the mining industry places some hefty demands on data management and transmission. Therefore, reliable, durable and effective data transmission equipment that can withstand the challenging conditions associated with the mining environment is crucial for organisations who want to stay safe and run their critical operations efficiently.

When it comes to identifying potential dangerous situations in mine sites, effective data logging is a top priority. Equipment and technology that closely monitors a mine’s entire structure to detect ground movement or subsistence around the mine that could make the structure unstable can prevent serious catastrophes from occurring.

Over the five years from 2007–08 to 2011–12, 36 Mining workers died from work-related injuries. The total number of deaths equates to 3.84 fatalities per 100 000 workers, which is almost 70% higher than the national rate of 2.29.

In an industry in which safety regulations are becoming increasingly stringent, anything that prevents injury rates from climbing presents opportunities for businesses in the way of their reputation and community responsibility.

Businesses can do this by implementing tougher, more robust data logging technology and systems that have the ability to maintain critical information collection and communication in the face of technical, physical, security or human challenges and threats.

Remote data monitoring solutions

A versatile data logging solution was required to record the different parameters from extensometers and hollow inclusion cells on a copper mine. This large-scale project required a large number of inputs to adequately monitor conditions throughout the mine.

Installing 3 dataTaker DT80 Intelligent Data Loggers at key structural points belowground along with 3 dataTaker CEM20 Channel Expansion Modules gave operators a total of up to 105 analogue channels. The dataTakers were then connected to full bridge extensometers and hollow inclusion cells and immediately began collecting information on tensile, strain, and rock stress conditions from this extensive sensor array. The monitoring systems were located almost 4 kilometres from the nearest office, so an RS232 communications link was installed which gave the user the ability to send commands, view real time data and retrieve logged data from each of the loggers on the network.

These three recording systems were spread throughout the mine and their data remotely collected and periodically transmitted using RS-232 communication with the office PC on the surface to provide a highly accurate analysis of the structure’s condition – ultimately improving the safety of workers on the mine site.

For more information on the dataTaker DT80 Intelligent Data Logger, visit http://www.dataTaker.com.au  or download the case study.

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