Importance of Traffic Management & Signalization in Mining

Saving Fuel and Increasing Ore Extraction and Productivity in Mines

Mine tunnels are complex, narrow, dark and muddy environments with traffic flow in both directions and wide enough for only one vehicle to pass. The length of underground roads can reach tens of kilometres depending on the type of mines. These roads have sharp curves, long ramps and completely rough road surfaces. Therefore, opening a mine tunnel is a high-cost and long-term operation.

No matter how many vehicles are in a mining facility, mine tunnels are wide enough for a single truck to pass through. For this reason, some gaps open at certain distances for a truck to give way to another truck coming from the opposite direction. However, for the traffic to flow regularly, truck operators must be aware of the traffic in the tunnel and coordinate with other operators while approaching these gaps. Otherwise, one truck may have to back up to one of the nearest gaps to give way to the other, and this situation can lead to unwanted loss of time, accidents and injuries.

Radio is the standard communication device that operators use to manage traffic. The operator of the truck entering the tunnel and approaching one of the gaps informs the closer trucks by radio. Thus, the operators need to decide instantly which truck will give way through radio conversations.

This busy radio calls also cause another communication problem. Heavy mine traffic, vehicle operators trying to communicate with each other, and regular radio calls of pedestrian personnel inside the mine are the main reason for maximizing the frequency intensity.

The number of vehicle operators who cannot communicate due to frequency occupancy is very high.

The mine traffic consequently is disrupted because of this occupancy. This disrupted underground traffic causes companies that make huge investments in the mining sector to increase their fuel consumption, and decrease their ore output, in another word, a loss of productivity with an increase in costs.

Real-time Vehicle Tracking in Underground Mining

The first step to eliminating these cost and efficiency losses is real-time tracking of underground vehicles' locations. All motorized vehicles working underground or surface can instantly track by their location along tens of kilometres underground with the traffic signalization system installed on the roads inside and outside the mining facility.

The first thing that comes to mind here is the Wipelot Signalization System, which monitors the real-time location of motorized vehicles travelling surface or underground tunnels since the GPS will not work many kilometres below the ground.

What is Wipelot Signalization System?

Mine traffic management and signalization system is an industrial occupational safety and productivity system with UWB (ultra-wideband) wireless infrastructure developed by Wipelot to optimize motorized vehicle traffic in open pit and underground mines.

Active RFID tags on motorized vehicles provide instant location information within the mine, creating high-precision real-time location data of vehicles on the move.

Lotus, the RTLS software developed by Wipelot, creates an algorithm based on the instant location data it gathers from the mine and the identities of the tracked vehicles. Due to this algorithm and warning lights inside the mine, truck operators easily use the gaps inside the mine to perform way-giving procedures without radio communication.

Expandable Infrastructure

Wipelot Signalization System has an expandable infrastructure. An increasing number of vehicles or tunnels. The system can be easily expanded to kilometres and hundreds of vehicles without loss of performance if the number of vehicles or tunnels increases. In addition, thanks to the closed-circle operation feature, it is not affected by general system failures and interruptions.

Emergency and Safety

When ambulances or similar special vehicles are needed to enter the mining facility for emergencies, the system gives priority to these vehicles and mining facility traffic can be monitored and directed instantly from the centre. Also Thanks to the Safezone module, the system creates a safer area around the vehicles, equipment and personnel with an adjustable distance against collisions.

Machine Learning in Mining Facility Traffic Management

The Wipelot Signalization System can implement planned scenarios for motorized vehicles entering and exiting the mining facility. It can classify all motorized vehicles like ore or excavation trucks and personnel vehicles and prioritize them in traffic signalling planning. It executes traffic management and optimization when the number of motorized vehicles in the mine exceeds the determined capacity.

Most Importantly, The Efficiency!

The Wipelot Signalization System contributes significantly to the reduction of fuel costs with its intelligent traffic management.

It allows fully loaded heavy vehicles weighing tens of tons, especially excavation and ore trucks, to move forward without restricting their mobility in the mine tunnels. This positive mobility provides up to a 5% increase in fuel savings and up to an 8% increase in ore extraction to the ground.

Wipelot's in-mine traffic management and signalization system have been deemed worthy of awards by various organizations around the world, thanks to the occupational safety and productivity increase it provides. This system, which needs equipment resistant to harsh environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, dust and mud in the mining facility, is the success of Wipelot's R&D centre.

Wipelot Smart Mining Technologies

Apart from the signalization system, Wipelot has the technological knowledge and experience to offer many expandable mining solutions, which it calls "smart mining", from a single infrastructure.

  • Personnel Safety – Social Distancing Tracking and Locating
  • Motorized - Non-motorized Vehicle and Equipment Tracking
  • Traffic Signalization Management and Collision Warning System
  • Weighbridge Integration
  • Task Assignment and Management
  • Measurement of Environment Parameters and Counter Values
  • Extensometer Measurement
  • Mining Analytics and Optimization (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning)

Wipelot, which gathers these technologies under one roof (called Smart-Mining), is an industrial IoT and digital transformation company that has proven itself in mining, one of the harshest industries in the world.

You can contact us for signalization and all other smart-mining Technologies and you can get detailed information about the most accurate system for your facility.

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