RFID Collision Alert

Posted in: Application News on November 6th, 2009

In conjunction with RFID Inc, Pacific Automation has developed an RFID Collision Alert system for use in the underground mining industry.

Scope Of Project

imageTelfor Gold Mine had a number of Landcruisers “squashed” by boggers in their underground mining  operations.  At over $80,000 per vehicle, these were proving to be expensive accidents.

What was required was an inexpensive, reliable collision alert system so warn drivers of the presence of other vehicles in the immediate vicinity.  The system had to operate in the harsh, environments experienced in underground mining operations.

Pacific Automation’s Solution

There were three factors that needed to be considered in the assessment of this problem.  Firstly, due to the amount of blind spots and corners in the mine, any system would need to be able to see around them.  Mirrors had previously been used but were always promptly broken by a bogger skidding against the wall.  The second issue was identifying the best method of identifying the driver of a potential collision.  And thirdly, any system would have to be retrofittable to any vehicle on site without the need for any special tool or programming.

image In the end it was decided that a Long Range Active RFID product would be most suitable for the job.  Each vehicle was fitted with a RFID tag on the external body and a customised RFID reader in the cabin.  A 443MHz system was used as it provided up to 20m of range, was able to “bounce” off the walls of the mine to see around corners and was license free, meaning the mine did not have to apply for any radio frequency licensing.  The reader was fitted into a stand alone IP67 enclosure with a siren and flashing LED indicator attached to alert the operator to the presence of another vehicle.  This system comes as a simple kit which can be  installed or relocated quickly with basic tools, the only connection that is required is for power.

Another issue that had to be considered was the reader on each vehicle picking up its own tag and providing false alarms.  To avoid this problem, RFID Inc added a function to the reader to allow it to ignore a specific tag.  This setting can be easily altered in the field to allow for replacement tags to be fitted quickly.  Each reader is also fitted with a Self Test button which the operator can depress at the start of their shift to ensure the integrity of the systems prior to starting the vehicle.

The tags used in this system are fitted with battery life indicators which illuminate when the tag needs replacing.  The typical life span of up to five years means that maintenance is kept to a minimum.  The attenuation of the reader can also be set with the use of a Master Range Programming Tag (MRPT).  This allows the reader to be set to only alarm when a tag is sensed within a certain distance.  This is a useful feature as the distance to be measured will change based on the size of the vehicle being used as well as the position of the reader.

These systems have been sold to mine sites both in Australia and internationally and have successfully reduced the rate of accidents.

Products Used

RFID Active
Power Conditioner

More Information

RFID Inc Website

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