Autonomous solutions company RCT has released RCT Connect, a digital WiFi communications network designed for machine automation and control in underground mining operations.
The product is designed to be user friendly and portable and can be installed into a production area and commissioned with minimal time and expertise.
The product has been ruggedised to withstand the harsh conditions common in underground mining environments and can operate in temperatures ranging from -20°C (-4°F) – 60°C (140°F) and above.
The platform uses a coaxial cable, which is able to transfer power and information to access points for up to 1.5 km before additional power insertion is required along the length of a drive.This feature offers several benefits over traditional WiFi deployments such as reduced requirement for configuration, eliminating costly cables to run between access points and a simple installation with only 2 connectionsOnce operational, the product provides a simplistic connection to a ControlMaster® Area Access Control at strategic locations which then links into the mine-wide backbone to transfer information to a machine operator located in a ControlMaster® Automation Centre on the mine’s surface.The platform operates at 2.4 GHz and is capable of carrying out remote diagnostics, live machine tracking and delivering live health and production data from the machine.Brendon Cullen, RCT Product Manager Automation and Control, said: “RCT Connect is specifically designed to ensure uninterrupted communication between the machine and the operator regardless of location.
“The platform has very stable performance with low, consistent latency and so ensures reliable communications between command inputs from the surface station and subsequent machine activities.
“We have also optimised the platform to enable smart roaming and therefore seamless handover between wireless access points so that there is no dropout along the length of the drives.”
The network has been tested at a mine site in Western Australia and was recently deployed in an underground