Business continuity is crucial in today’s world, and DUCS is designed with this in mind. The e structure of the DUCS system includes two independent links providing the same functionality. Both links use their own power supply source, fiber optics for data transport, and are deployed in opposite directions. In doing this, downtime (experienced with a leaky feeder system) is significantly reduced. The main structural unit of the DUCS system is a bi-directional distribution box which acts as the main communication point for services and power supply to all underground locations. Every distribution point can deliver power and data access to 8 individual clients (i.e. VOIP Phones, Wireless AP, Thin clients) providing multiple ways to communicate. Additional power supply sources (battery packs) assure uninterrupted work of up to 10 hours after a failure from the main power supply. The modular configuration of the distribution points and clients, mounted in their own protective box, are unique.
Wireless Access Points are deployed according to the geographical specificity and the amount of technology that could potentially utilize the communication services. All Wireless Access Points are managed by a series of wireless controllers, which centralizes the management of a large number of devices.
The main functionality of DUCS is the delivery of wireless network services. The wireless network access is assured in almost every underground location. Where wireless network services are impossible to deploy, special designed mobile Wi-Fi extenders are utilized. The Wi-Fi extenders are hand-held mobile devices and have an independent power source, allowing the wireless network to be expanded.
Small, battery-powered Wi-Fi Active RFID Tags are used to track people, assets and equipment. The mobility engine calculates the location of the tag according to the strength of signal obtained from two or more access points. The accuracy of the calculated position is 5 to 100 meters.
Tags used to track people are mounted in the lighting headlamp and additional battery pack provides redundancy of power supply for tags in case of failure of the main power source. The additional power supply is designed to power the tag for up to one month. When a worker goes underground he must take a lamp and return it at the end of his shift. The number of lamps indicates how many workers are underground. The number of returned lamps must balance the number taken out. If there is a discrepancy, an event in the management system is generated and signals to organize a rescue mission. Knowing the number and location of people underground at any given time, is a significant safety benefit.
The loss of equipment in underground mines leads to downtime searching for equipment. Our tracking capability makes it easy to take stock of all inventory and equipment. Integration of the tracking system with business intelligent software assists managers with calculating the amount of time required for processes, resulting in better planning and management.
A special ‘Material Monitoring System’ uses DUCS to collect technical data from computers mounted on all vehicles. Proactive supervision of vital information can flag potential downtime or damage, allowing for vehicle planning, and ultimately providing greater reliability and safety. The Material Monitoring System supervises additional metrics such as the weight of the material in transport, amount of time mechanics work on vehicles, engine temperature, etc. This assists with maintenance, and optimizing production work processes.
Material Monitoring System enables real time monitoring of underground fleet with applicable central control dashboard functions as well as a new way of work management with short interval process control of production. The deployment is integrated with DUCS, which provides a system and interface to monitor all underground mobile equipment, enabling the tracking of production, equipment and personnel in a simple and effective manner. This provides data to inform business decisions such as capital equipment planning. With this monitoring system, it is possible to supervise actual production and costs relative to plan, resulting in greater efficiency, lower costs and improved performance of all processes and equipment.
Industrial controllers are used to manage the sensors and monitor the measurements. This data is critical for the work of the mine. If the measurements indicate potential problems, specific underground processes must be suspended. DUCS provides a communication environment for applications which monitor the data obtained from the industrial controllers.
Another business process management system uses DUCS for remote management of fans, detonations, gas analyzers, and weather stations. This can save time in initiating ventilation after a detonation, or when a large number of people concentrated in one location, require additional ventilation.
Push-To-Talk capability is also built on DUCS. The system uses VoIP Phones and a special application developed by DPM, to transfer the functionalities implemented in current radio communication systems into one modern communication system based on standard Wi-Fi network.
The Push-To-Talk system uses communication channels by defined groups. Primary and secondary role-based groups are applied to separate regular communications from emergencies. For emergency purposes, a dedicated button on the phone is used to broadcast emergency messages to all available phones. Push-To-Talk in vehicles is connected to the standard onboard audio system.
The most significant benefit of DUCS is the Central Control Room located on the surface, where scheduled tasks can be assigned to people and equipment underground. The data captured from technologies and machines is transmitted to the surface automatically via the Wi-Fi environment. The responsibility for reporting events, therefore shifts from manual to automatic real-time reporting of events directly from equipment. The system provides straight forward reporting of the outcome of all assigned tasks using the data from the equipment. The Control Room provides a single point of access to monitor a variety of systems, and enables status checks and intervention as required. It improves remote management of business processes, access to information, solving critical problems, reducing delays and leading to increased efficiency.
The Control Room management design uses integrated touchscreen dashboards in the underground vehicles where operators can receive information and assigned tasks. The dashboard automatically sends feedback to the system on the progress of specific tasks. A camera connected to the dashboard of the vehicle, assists the operator in the safe execution of his tasks.
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Dundee Precious Metals Inc. is a Canadian based, international gold mining company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, mining and processing of precious metals.