Rajant partnered with Doodle Labs to implement a reliable and robust wireless connectivity solution that keeps their BreadCrumb wireless nodes connected in the harsh conditions at major copper mines.
The United States is the third largest producer of copper, generating 1.2 million tons of copper across 23 mines. To meet production demands, mines operate large fleets of 200+ haul vehicles. Typically on any given day, about 15% of the multimillion-dollar vehicles could be sidelined for repair or service, creating a significant negative impact on productivity. To help mines improve performance, Rajant was tasked with implementing a solution to modernize mining’s approach to maintenance and repair.
To achieve this goal, Rajant planned to equip each vehicle with a BreadCrumb wireless node. Once deployed, the BreadCrumbs would be rapidly interconnected using Rajant’s proprietary InstaMesh technology. The result would be a high-bandwidth, robust, mobile Kinetic Mesh Network connecting vehicle sensors to the mine’s condition monitoring software. With the Kinetic Mesh Network in place, the mine could take a proactive, data-driven approach to service and repair that would enhance productivity.
However, before the solution could be implemented, the right hardware was required to ensure wireless connectivity was robust enough for field use. To maintain connectivity and maximize uptime for copper mines, Rajant needed a rugged and reliable wireless transceiver for their BreadCrumbs. To this end, their wireless transceivers had to meet the following requirements:
- High-power: The mining site spans multiple kilometers and maintaining connectivity on a network means being able to transmit data over long distances.
- Industrial-grade construction: Field conditions in the mining space can be harsh and unpredictable. Dust, debris, high-temperatures and significant amounts of vibration are the norm. For this reason, BreadCrumbs are designed to meet IP67 standards, and any components used within one must be rugged enough to withstand extreme conditions.
- Noise resistant: Any RF device deployed at a mining site must be able to perform in spite of RF noise and interference. The ideal solution for Rajant needed to have strong receive sensitivity to overcome the RF noise at copper mines.
- Regulatory compliance: Since mining is a global industry, any solution Rajant implemented had to be compliant with FCC, CE, and IC standards. This compliance ensures Rajant can serve their customers worldwide.
To meet their requirements, Rajant partnered with Doodle Labs and selected a 900 MHz Special Band Transceiver for their BreadCrumb nodes.
The transceiver offers up to 1W of RF power, enabling it to transmit large amounts of real-time data at a range of over 20 kilometers. Additionally, Doodle Labs’ transceivers can withstand harsh operating conditions, including temperatures ranging from -40C to +85C, and still deliver high-performance RF connectivity. The transceivers also have high receive sensitivity and interference resistant COFDM, enabling them to overcome the high levels of RF noise common in the mining industry.
As a result of the Doodle Labs and Rajant collaboration, the Kinetic Mesh Network has made a huge impact on productivity at copper mines. According to Bob Schena, CEO and Co-Founder of Rajant, mines are able to reduce the number of the multimillion-dollar vehicles sidelined for repair or service from about 15% to about 5% per day. That means the business impact of the Kinetic Mesh Network was an additional 10% of productivity per day.
Further, many other customers in the mining space are now implementing Kinetic Mesh Networks and the technology is making an impact in other industries such as military, public safety, and oil & gas. To date, the project has been a resounding success for Rajant and their copper mine customers. Since going to market, thousands of BreadCrumbs with wireless connectivity enabled by Doodle Labs’ Special Band Transceivers have been successfully deployed.