A UHF radio link, designed and built by Benbro Electronics of Brookvale, Sydney has been successfully tested at the large Candelaria copper mine in Chile and will now become a permanent fixture at the mine.
The radio link was designed for Linatex, a mine-equipment supplier, to connect their hose-wear monitor to a computer system, also designed by Benbro, which alerts the miners when a flexible hose is nearing the end of its life. The Candelaria mine, in the ore-rich Punta del Cobre district of northern Chile, is renowned for its application of advanced technologies
With the larger hoses costing up to A$30,000 each, being able to delay replacement until really necessary, without a danger of rupture, is a major economic saving for the mine. The flexible hoses are used to carry earth, rock and gravel to the processor in a liquid slurry and the rough material can be very abrasive. To meet the problem, Linatex uses sensors in the hose material which trigger an alarm when they are exposed to the slurry.
Benbro provides the electronic terminal, which identifies each section of hose, the UHF radio connection to above-ground and the final computer interface. The first system was installed in Chile in April and, according to the miners, it successfully reported the need for a replacement hose in June. This success should see the system installed in many other mines, throughout the world.
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