Digital transformation of mines webinar: answering the questions of IT and transformation leaders in mines
Digitization is a major opportunity for the mining sector, promising new levels of operational safety and efficiency through the addition of Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial IoT (IIoT) platforms to standard operational technology (OT). But it’s also a realm with a wide array of technology options, with connectivity alone encompassing standards such as Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) plus low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) protocols such as LoRa (Long Range).
To help make sense of the options available to digital mining operations, IIoT leader Worldsensing and mining giant Vale hosted a webinar on how to leverage IoT technology to advance your mine’s IT strategy. This post covers some of the questions that were left unanswered at the end of the session, with replies from Worldsensing’s director of products, Bernat Trias, and CTO, Albert Zaragoza.
How effective is wireless monitoring in underground mines? Do you only do solutions for tailings dams?
Bernat: Worldsensing’s wireless monitoring system, Loadsensing, features nodes which are ruggedized and have been tested in temperatures ranging from -40ºC to +80ºC, so they can withstand harsh environments such as underground mines. Although we have a lot of deployments in tailings dams, Loadsensing nodes can read multi-point borehole extensometers, pressure cells and other frequently used sensors for underground monitoring. The Loadsensing laser distance meter node can be particularly useful for convergence monitoring. Loadsensing may also be used as a last-mile solution inside deep galleries. The nodes wirelessly send data to gateways underground that are connected to fiber-optic points used for machinery control and cameras, in order to transmit the data to the surface. We are open to projects to test the depth limits of our monitoring system and understand how ambient conditions may impact the network quality in deep underground mines.
What do you think is the biggest benefit of long-range wireless for the mining industry?
Bernat: The main benefits of long-range wireless monitoring include increased efficiency because mines don’t need to perform tedious manual monitoring, cost savings versus manual and cable monitoring workforce safety because the mining staff doesn’t need to take readings in perilous areas and risk management because of the real-time data and alerts that the monitoring system may provide.
How do you contract the maintenance of solutions? Do you have examples where clients purchase a solution and maintain it themselves, or does Worldsensing supply end-to-end solutions?
Albert: Worldsensing works with over 200 partners around the world who take care of all the installation and maintenance needs for our customers. If you are a big company that would like to self-maintain, you may contact us here.
Do you have experience gathering technology from different devices? In other words, to integrate all that technology?
Albert: We have experience integrating loads of geotechnical sensors in different locations and have a product ready to integrate data and ingest data to and from third-party systems. Click here for an infographic showing some of the sensors that we can connect to in a tailings dam.
What is the cost per sensor using LoRa and how does it compare to LTE or GSM?
Bernat: The cost per sensor using LoRa is relatively lower compared to regular LTE and GSM primarily because of the low power consumption of LoRa devices and the associated connectivity fees, if any.
We may help you evaluate the investment for your specific use case or project. Just get in touch with us here…
Article courtesy of our partners and friends at Worldsensing
Australian based geotechnical monitoring group Geomotion, has successfully come to a heads of agreement with SkyGeo for their cutting edge InSAR satellite monitoring technology to be used in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia.
Geomotion sees InSAR as complementary to existing instrumentation, not as a replacement, working so well together to offer their clients information that has previously been nearly impossible to obtain
InSAR stands for Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar and is a proven technique for measuring ground movements. Satellites record images of the Earth, and these images can be combined to measure movements of the ground surface.
InSAR is particularly useful for monitoring dynamic position changes. InSAR’s broad spectrum of impressive features allow for a new depth of insight for projects. A large number of measurements and weekly updates provide a detailed insight in the slope and speed of subsidence. A sudden drop of a small area might be a reason for local inspection. Wider gradual subsidence tells a different story.
InSAR allows for possible millimetre accuracy, measurements of areas as small as 100m2 up to 10,000km2 and up to 100,000 measurements per km2. Additionally, the data archive goes back to 1992 and covers 70% of the Earth’s land, meaning in some cases it is possible to have data dating back up to 25 years.
InSAR presents viable and important solutions across many industries, including Mining Stability, Tailings Dam Stability, Civil Engineering and Energy, including oil and gas projects both onshore and offshore.
Mining stability monitoring is a service to provide persistent geotechnical risk surveillance to identify areas of abnormal surface movement over time. Mines need to be up and running 24/7 and Geomotion helps achieve that goal by identifying instabilities early. By assessing time-dependent shape changes in InSAR data, geotechnical domain experts can identify patterns of instabilities.
This is a direct pathway to improve asset management in mining operations. Combined with strategically placed geotechnical or structural instrumentation a comprehensive monitoring plan is established.
Each mine has several areas of high geotechnical risk, that each require dedicated iterative assessment. Tailings dams pose a special category of risk. Because of environmental issues in the recent past, most mining experts are now looking for continuous monitoring systems to predict instability better. Solid tailings are often used as part of the structure itself and with the tailings being liquid or a slurry of fine particles within groundwater, significant instabilities arise in a variety of ways that are usually not completely understood. With InSAR, Geomotion can help with this understanding. We characterise and quantify these time-dependent degradation processes on a wide area scale and identify different dynamic patterns. Monitoring these patterns continuously is a proven permanent risk management method.
Geomotion/SkyGeo JV configures InSAR monitoring solutions for their clients, each with a graph of deformation over time. Risk management practitioners use this for predictive maintenance. Geomotion/SkyGeo JV monitors subsidence for many civil engineering projects in this way including roads, railways, dams, bridges, tunnels, airports, pipelines, neighbourhoods, sewage systems, buildings and water defence.
InSAR technology is available from the Geomotion/Skygeo JV now. Enquiries regarding how InSAR can benefit your project can be made today by contacting Geomotion’s offices on 1300 884 542 or click here to send an email. Alternatively, use the form below and a Geomotion representative will get in touch with you soon.
The City of Amsterdam is facing the huge task of assessing and potentially replacing 200 km of the quay walls along its charming old inner-city canals. Adjacent historical buildings are often susceptible to damage by nearby construction activities. Satellite InSAR is being used to monitor areas across the city. Monitoring subsidence is seen as a vital tool in the efforts to preserve the physical charm and historical assets of this scenery.
Deltares, the City of Amsterdam, TU Delft, and SkyGeo have published an article on the reliability of PS-INSAR usage compared to regular ground levelling and general InSAR data. It describes how the PS-InSAR process can considerably reduce the current lengthy period required for levelling updates and verifies the improvement in reliability when using a locally optimised SkyGeo InSAR dataset.
The City of Amsterdam started innovating by using levelling techniques centuries ago, when they introduced the NAP (National Reference Height). They have been measuring and placing markers on buildings throughout the city to aid in the assessment of subsidence. This is a profound effort as the inner-city is completely built on soft soil. Levelling and InSAR data usage are both used across the city to provide valuable insights on deformation. A direct comparison between levelling and satellite measurements means little, but researchers found a specific statistical procedure that is applied to levelling and satellite measurements to verify their reliability and determine the rate of vertical deformation of the buildings.
Permanent Scatterer SAR
The Permanent Scatterer SAR technique can measure deformations of objects with high reliability. Satellites launched in the last decade produce raw data to obtain deformation time series with high temporal and spatial resolution. Martijn Houtepen, InSAR Applications Expert at SkyGeo, was asked to supply two different datasets for the Amsterdam city area. One general dataset covering the entire city and a tailor-made locally optimised InSAR dataset. Three case studies were reviewed. The results exhibited a near 100% coverage for buildings in the SkyGeo locally optimised dataset. These structures all had reliable measurement points, greatly outnumbering general InSAR and regular levelling results.
Conclusion of the PS -InSAR study
There is merit in the insight building fine-tuning of local datasets. Caution should be considered with generic, publicly available, InSAR datasets. All three case studies showed deformation rates of the satellite measurements are significantly higher than those of the levelling on the same buildings. Locally optimised PS-InSAR satellite measurements are most suitable for assessing the deformation rate of buildings in the Amsterdam inner-city.
PS-InSAR is available for Geomotion customers looking to scale trust with InSAR data.
Article courtesy of SkyGeo
Premier Coal is situated in the Collie Coal Basin in the South West of Western Australia,
approximately 200km south-south-east of Perth. The mining operations are about 15km east of the town of Collie, which is situated in the jarrah forests of WA.
Premier Coal Mine produces a clean coal with low ash and sulphur content such that it does not need to be washed and requires only crushing, sizing and blending prior to use. The coal handling equipment installed at the Premier Coal Mine is very effective. The system has been designed to supply coal in a very consistent way so that there are no variations in quality.
The coal handling plant consists of a crusher, screening plant, stockpile stacker, reclaimer and delivering system for Premier’s customers, either by conveyor, rail or truck.
As part of Premier’s open cut pit monitoring, over 29 piezometers were installed in 11 locations across the area. Previously, the data was collected manually by site personnel.
Geomotion proposed the Loadsensing G6 Data Logging system to automate the collection process, including a 5-channel node at each location and a centralised gateway. The data is presented directly in Premier’s data management software.
This system fully automates the collection and presentation of piezometer readings, ensuring the data available for analysis is kept up to date at all times.
Mascot Towers is the high-profile residential building in Sydney that was evacuated in June 2019 due to serious concern about its structural integrity.
With the rapid growth of our cities and the increasing need for affordable housing, buildings similar to Mascot Towers are popping up quickly throughout Sydney and other major Australian cities.
Concerns were initially raised when significant cracking began to occur suddenly through the building’s basement foundations (see image below).
Geomotion were engaged by the remedial engineers to supply and install structural monitoring equipment on critical areas in the building's basement.
A site walkover was undertaken on the Monday morning after the evacuation, the same day Geomotion was first contacted. Sensors were installed and commenced sending live data to Geomotion Cloud, Geomotion's online data hosting platform, by the very next day.
Geomotion's precision monitoring systems can be utilised, not only after a major structural failure event, but also during construction and throughout a building's lifespan to provide critical information on a building's structural health, early warning alarms and peace of mind for all stakeholders.
Geomotion technicians carried out the installation of 4 tilt meters on critical areas on the basement slab, with four additional tilt meters set to be installed soon.
A 3G telemetry gateway was installed to enable data to be transmitted remotely – importantly removing the need to be inside the building to retrieve data.
Geomotion's data team set up the online portal on Geomotion Cloud, where data is displayed in easy to interpret plots.
Geomotion also integrated external survey data into Geomotion Cloud, offering the client a centralised platform to view all data, enabling them to make quick and informed decisions.
Want to ensure the safety and reliability of your major property asset? Geomotion can help. Contact us today for an obligation free discussion on how our precision monitoring solutions can provide key information in real time to prevent costly and dangerous critical failures. Suitable for new construction and existing building monitoring.
The Omnidots SWARM is a revolution in vibration monitoring!
If you are concerned with asset monitoring and the risk of vibrations causing damage to buildings and other structures, monitor vibrations with Omnidots.
The SWARM vibration monitor, together with the Geomotion Cloud web platform, provides you with insight into vibrations and helps you ensure that vibrations remain within the set limits. With Omnidots' vibration monitoring solutions, you are in control of all your projects, simply by using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
This budget-friendly vibration monitor is more cost efficient than alternative solutions as well as being cutting edge technology with vastly improved precision data and reporting.
Measured in accordance with Australian Guidelines and combined with Geomotion Cloud software, Omnidots SWARM is the premier vibration monitoring solution available today.
In line with the current VIBRA-series, of which thousands are now in use worldwide, Geomotion partner, Profound BV, proudly introduce the new VIBRA+. Later this year the new standard VIBRA will also be available.
New features of the VIBRA+:
The Forrestfield-Airport Link (FAL) project will deliver an 8.5 km extension of the existing PTA urban rail network in Perth, Western Australia connecting the Midland Line, just past Bayswater Station, to Forrestfield, running underground in twin bored tunnels underneath the Swan River, Tonkin Highway and Perth Airport. The project will include three new stations, being: Redcliffe Station (located underground in Redcliffe), Airport Central Station (located underground at Perth Airport to service both domestic and international terminals) and Forrestfield Station.
The project will provide new rail services allowing a 20-minute rail journey from Forrestfield Station to the Perth CBD, improved bus networks for the eastern suburbs, foothills and surrounding communities as well as integration with the full Transperth bus and train network.
Redcliffe Station and Forrestfield Station will have rail-bus interchanges and up to 2,500 new car parking bays in total.
Description of Geomotion Works
Salini Impregilo S.p.A. - NRW Pty Ltd Joint Venture (SI- NRW JV) has entered into an agreement with Field Monitoring Services, Geomotion Australia, Land Surveys Joint Venture (FGLS JV) for the work of:
“SUPPLY, INSTALLATION, TESTING, OPERATION, MAINTENANCE OF GEOTECHNICAL AND SURVEY INSTRUMENTATION, INCLUSIVE OF MONITORING AND MIMS MANAGEMENT FOR FORRESTFIELD AIRPORT LINK PROJECT”.
Geomotion is working as a part of Joint Venture partner and broadly responsible for the followings works:
THE word “smart” is ubiquitous these days. If you believe the hype, smart farms will all employ sensors to report soil conditions, crop growth or the health of livestock. Smart cities will monitor the levels of pollution and noise on every street corner. And smart goods in warehouses will tell robots where to store them, and how. Getting this to work, however, requires figuring out how to get thousands of sensors to transmit data reliably across hundreds of metres. On September 15th, at a computing conference held in Miami, Shyam Gollakota and his colleagues at the University of Washington are due to unveil a gadget that can do exactly that—and with only a fraction of the power required by the best devices currently available.
Dr Gollakota’s invention uses a technology called “LoRa” (from “long range”). Like Wi-Fi, this allows computers to talk to each other with radio waves. Unlike Wi-Fi, though, LoRa is not easily blocked by walls, furniture and other obstacles. That is partly because LoRa uses lower-frequency radio waves than Wi-Fi (900MHz rather than 2.4GHz). Such waves pass through objects more easily. More importantly, LoRa devices make use of a technique called “chirp spread modulation”. That means the frequency of the carrier wave—the basic radio wave, which is then deliberately deformed in order to carry data—rises and falls in a sawtooth pattern. That makes even faint LoRa signals easy to distinguish from background noise, which fluctuates randomly.
Generating that carrier wave requires a lot of power. But modulating it, in order to impress data upon it, can be done by a chip that consumes almost no power at all. Conventional LoRa transmitters do both jobs. Dr Gollakota proposes to separate them.
In his take on the system, a central transmitter, hooked up to a big battery or to the mains, broadcasts the carrier wave, while the task of impregnating it with data is done by a chip on the sensor. It accomplishes that by choosing to earth its tiny aerial, or not, millions of times every second. When the aerial is earthed, part of the carrier wave will be absorbed. When it is not, it will be reflected. If one of those cases is deemed to stand for “1” while the other represents “0”, the chip can relay data back to a receiver with the whole process controlled by three tiny, and thus very frugal, electronic switches.
Dr Gollakota reckons that such chips can be made for less than 20 cents apiece. The signals they generate can be detected at ranges of hundreds of metres. Yet with a power consumption of just 20 millionths of a watt, a standard watch battery should keep them going a decade or more. In fact, it might be possible to power them from ambient energy: Dr Gollakota and his colleagues have experimented with running the chips from the electricity generated when light strikes a small photodiode. Like other LoRa devices, the chips are slow, transmitting data at about the speed of an old-fashioned dial-up modem. But most smart sensors will produce just a trickle of data in any case.
The researchers are keeping quiet, for the time being, about the orders they have received. But early applications could be medical. The team have incorporated the chips into contact lenses and a skin patch. In hospitals, the chips could help track everything from patient gurneys to syringes and stethoscopes. Last year, Dr Gollakota unveiled variants of the chips that use ordinary Wi-Fi, too. These, he says, are in the process of making their way into disposable drug-delivery devices that notify patients via their phones when their medication is running low. That seems like a smart start.
This article appeared in the Science and technology section of the print edition of The Ecomomist under the headline "Cheap and cheerful"
Source: The Ecomomist
Geomotion recently completed the establishment of a complete remote monitoring solution for South32 at its Worsley Alumina refinery near Collie. The system draws on data from piezometers spread over 5km across the site.
Manual monitoring of piezometers across the site was a lengthy process usurping a significant amount of man hours to ensure the safety of the plant infrastructure. With the new system implemented by Geomotion Australia, data is updated daily on a web based data management platform, with the ability to increase read frequency during critical periods. It allows up to date monitoring, comparison to weather events or pumping activity on site, and offers a comprehensive yet accessible review and report functions.
The Loadsensing G6 data logging system allows up to 10 years power autonomy, yet maximum coverage across the site. With a single Gateway positioned at the site communications tower, the site is covered for monitoring of tailings dams across the facility. Maxwell Geosystem’s Mission Monitor powers the data management and reporting functions.
The project follows the successful implementation of over thirty G6 data loggers across the Illawarra Region with Geosensing Solutions on behalf of South32.