Safety tracking through Becker technology at Tizapa silver mine, Mexico

Es Tu Llave de regreso a casa literally translated as “Your key to return home,” is the central message of Group Penoles’ Tizapa silver mine in Mexico to encourage the workforce to embrace the new high-precision tracking system designed and supplied by Becker’s subsidiary Lasec Telecommunications. The promotional video created by the mine to roll-out the ‘Key Out’ system shows a miner leaving home, using the Becker Lasec system during his daily work and returning safely home to his family at the end of the day.

“We are proud that the safety of each and every member of our workforce is paramount to providing a happy, motivated and efficient workforce” stated Ing Guillermo Hernandez, Tizapa General Manager. “It is important to us that every single member of the team gets home to their families every day without problems”

The system deployed at Tizapa is a state-of-the-art tracking system using business productivity software from Lasec and leading-edge radio technology from German location-module supplier nanotron. It uses time of flight technology to deliver new levels of tracking accuracy for the underground workforce, providing a non-stop flow of data to locate each worker and asset continuously with a 1 m to 5 m resolution and a 2 s update rate.

Each member of the team wears a small robust radio tag which transmits signals to a series of readers located along the drifts throughout the mine. The readers are connected through the mine network to the central control room where software displays the location of each team member together with any important associated emergency information.

‘Man down’ situations (when a worker is no longer moving) are detected immediately by the on-board sensors integrated in the tag modules and transmitted to the mine’s central server. A panic button, and emergency LED are also provided to alert the team of any accident or critical conditions occurring in the mine, so that evacuation conditions can be managed and organised efficiently and safely from the central control room. Battery health is also continuously monitored and transmitted to the server to ensure continuous 24/7 operation.

Minera Tizapa is at the forefront with the implementation of state-of-the-art solutions to comply with NOM-023-STPS-2012 and today it is one of the few mines in Mexico that has implemented tracking and identification of all personnel entering the mine.

The next step in Lasec’s agenda is the implementation of a mineral handling system, traffic control, environmental monitoring, elements that will be a part of the mine’s intelligent integral operational system.

Location Running by nanotron – the availability of location information 24 hours a day, seven days a week – has enabled new standards in safety and productivity. Becker Lasec’s solution is extremely well received since both Group Penoles and its workforce benefit from it.