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Advanced diagnostic system with ventilation on demand for underground mines

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3 Author(s)
Farjow, W. ; Electr. & Comput. Eng. Dept., Ryerson Univ., Toronto, ON, Canada ; Daoud, M. ; Fernando, X.N.

After a series of recent world wide mine tragedies, ranging from collapsing mines in China and Colombia to trapped miners in Chile, the importance of robust and reliable underground communication networks has become evident once again. A reliable underground communication network in mines will not only facilitate the day to day operations but will also help save many lives. However, designing reliable and robust underground network has always been a challenge due to the special nature of mines. These extreme and harsh mine conditions require special communication systems like leaky feeders, Through The Earth (TTE), and wireless mesh networks. While TTE is used in case of disaster recovery and locating trapped miners and wireless mesh is used for sensing the mine conditions, the leaky feeder system can be considered the most popular communication system used for daily operations. It carries voice, video, and data; however, the leaky feeder system is not reliable and problems are hard to diagnose. This paper describes a novel advanced diagnostic system with a ventilation on demand capability that enhances leaky feeders; this system will not only allow monitoring of all underground nodes connected to the leaky feeder. It will also allow remote programming from the control room above ground and monitoring the losses in the leaky feeder in the sense that the infrastructure will be able to monitor itself. Ventilation on demand is another advantage of this system as it will operate the underground mine ventilation fans depending on data collected from sensors attached to the leaky feeder. This will provide huge power savings since ventilation fans are responsible for about 60% of power consumption in mines. The system is described here along with simulation results proving its performance.

Published in:

Sarnoff Symposium, 2011 34th IEEE

Date of Conference:

3-4 May 2011