Internet of Things (IoT) remote monitoring company, Worldsensing is enhancing its support for the mining industry with an offering that, it says, provides seamless data acquisition and transmission underground to help improve risk management.
The new monitoring suite includes an IoT network technology that has been specifically developed for underground environments.
As an enhancement to Worldsensing’s existing portfolio, a repeater device now extends the reach of the company’s LoRa IoT configuration with what the company calls “tree topology”. This edge repeater expands the network range and data transmission to almost 10 km underground when sending data in three “hops”, the company explained.
Worldsensing’s LoRa network runs on a sub-gigahertz radio frequency. In underground environments and, as part of the LoRa Tree network, repeaters can retransmit data from nodes to the gateway in a multi-hop setup. Each repeater can reach a gateway up to several kilometers away in a single hop provided the route is near a straight line. In comparison, medium-range mesh networks which use sub-gigahertz frequency can reach a gateway some hundred meters away in a single hop. Short-range mesh networks based on 2.4 gigahertz setups can obtain single-hop ranges of some meters underground, according to the company.
Even in more complex underground environments, the LoRa tree topology still outperforms wireless alternatives by allowing continuous data flow with a range of hundreds of metres, the company says. Overall, this long-range underground technology leads to cost reductions and time savings given that comparably fewer devices are needed to create the monitoring network which leads to lower maintenance to keep the network running and data flowing.
“We have worked with top mining companies to deliver a unique solution that pushes the boundaries of what is possible in underground monitoring,” Andrew Frost, Worldsensing’s Chief Product and Marketing Officer, said. “With this launch, we are reinforcing our commitment to safety in the mining sector, giving mine operators access to the same data underground as they use today to monitor operations on the surface.”
As part of the LoRa tree technology, Worldsensing is launching a edge repeater device that can connect to and retransmit the data of hundreds of nodes. A cloud-based version is planned for the future.
According to Andrea Bartoli, Worldsensing’s Chief Technology Officer, this solution addresses underground monitoring issues, including scattered data collection, highly transited, harsh environments and intricate topologies.
“This new technology has been tested extensively in operational mines and has demonstrated the best cost efficiency for devices deployed and coverage obtained,” Bartoli said. “We have seen that the solution can even reach up to 15 km in range. With this offering, we are deepening our strong links to the mining sector, adapting our offering to provide the best possible operational results for underground environments.”