Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Power line emergency communication system for mines

Ardoran are cooperating with a major operator of oil shale mines in development of a safety system that can benefit from WireNet technology.

Oil shale - Polevkivi, in the Estonian language - is an industry of national importance in the North East of Estonia. The mining operators require a reliable communication technology between the surface and the underground mine working areas. Existing systems are adequate for normal operation. However, in the event of an accident, part of the mine can lose power and/ or communication facilities. To re-establish services, a hole 15cm in diameter is drilled to the depth of the underground location, which is typically 50m in depth. A power cable is then put down the hole. There remains the difficulty of how best to restore communication facilities, which is currently unsolved. Radio based systems from the Czech Republic and USA suppliers have been evaluated but these technologies have been found to be unsuitable.

Ardoran are currently conducting tests at the mines with a digital audio intercom system. At present, this requires installation of a separate Cat-5 or optical fibre cable down the long emergency hole. It is problematic to install this additional cable and it would be of great benefit to the mine operators if the mains power cable could also be used to provide the emergency communications facility. Ardoran will be working with the mining company with a view to implementing a system based on the WireNet technology.

Since WireNet is based on UWB principles, it offers the possibility to transmit the intercom signals via the mains cable and then re-transmit throughout the mine area using UWB radio transmission to provide radio coverage over a wide area. This will involve development of a WireNet to UWB-radio interface converter.

Since the power cable down the hole has only one input and one output it represents a simpler topography compared to the mains power wiring in domestic and industrial premises. This will simplify the signal transmission and filtering requirements. As a result, it provides an ideal application for first use of the WireNet results.

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Reported by

Ardoran OU
P.O.Box 1213
11402 Tallinn
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