Concept: Chinese professional IoT company Milesight has unveiled LoRa technology to enhance ventilation control for smart underground mining. Based on it, the company’s UG67 outdoor LoRaWAN gateway serves as an interface between the air quality sensor and the cloud platform.

Nature of Disruption: In the mining sector, wired networking has a restricted range, high cost, high maintenance cost, and vulnerability. Short-range technologies, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, do not cover a large enough area, have significant power consumption, and are unable to penetrate deep under the mine environment. LoRa’s deep penetration capability enables data transfer over a long distance while using very little power, making it suitable for smart underground mining applications. The smart ventilation system is intended to meet the aim of dynamic ventilation system control based on hazardous gas concentration measurements. Air quality sensors are used to measure concentrations of CO2, CH4, CO, SO2, H2S, NO2, and other pollutants. Monitoring gas concentrations allows for adaptive ventilation management. The Milesight UG67 LoRaWAN gateway receives data from sensors and transmits it to the management center. As a consequence, the control center may either switch on the ventilation fan to dilute and eliminate pollutants or turn it off to save energy. LoRa’s technology is IP 67 waterproof, uses Semtech SX1302, and has full-duplex radios in its arsenal. This with round-the-clock real-time monitoring reduces downtime after-blast and lessens energy consumption by up to 50%.

Outlook: Mining has long been a major primary sector business in many nations, including Australia. In underground mining, ventilation is the foundation of oxygen supply and the principal way of eliminating hazardous gases. The majority of ventilation systems are built for “worst-case scenarios,” and mine managers frequently operate their ventilation systems at this maximum level without regard for real ventilation demand. As a result, ventilation accounts for a tiny portion of total subterranean energy consumption, although the majority of them are redundant. As a result, it is important to create a ventilation-on-demand system to decrease energy usage while maintaining a safe working environment. The adoption of smart environmental data accumulation and ventilation control systems in underground mines, on the other hand, remains difficult. As a result, Milesight devises a solution to improve smart ventilation management for underground mining using LoRa technology to meet the issue.

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