Communication systems speak volumes

A world of technological gizmos and gadgets goes into making the right communication equipment.

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Tiaan Tromp, Becker Mining South Africa sales manager, gave a rundown of a number of individual modes of communication.

Backbone
Leaky feeder
Leaky Feeder, for those less familiar, is a mine wide communications systems that is based on a radiating cable that can be deployed where ever the mine requires communication. The cable has gaps / slots that “leak” the signal in and out; one can say that it is like a gigantic antenna system, and can be dubbed as one of the most effective mine-wide communication backbones.

“The leaky feeder is primarily a voice communications system, but also manages data transfer, particularly tagging and tracking,” said Tromp.

“A lateral system, one can “spider-web” it wherever it needs to go with special equipment used to spilt the cable and allow it to branch.
Think of it as a system with a tap, hosepipe and sprinkler; the more it branches the less “water pressure” there will be, so at some point you are going to need a pump to pump up the pressure again. The same principle applies to a Leaky Feeder, so every 350m (for UHF) to 500m (for VHF), you will need to insert a power amplifier to boost up the signal again.  

Industrial Wi-Fi/fiber
Industrial Wi-Fi is also a communications backbone, run using a fiber optic network and / or meshing with hot spots underground, much like hot spots we find in airports, malls and restaurants.
It is can be connected back to the mine’s IT infrastructure or on a seperate network and makes up a mine wide communication system for voice, video and data.

Click here to read the full feature article on page 5 in the Mar/Apr issue of MMPR ...

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