Remote Asset Tracking System (RATS) – in
UCIL’s Narwapahar Underground Mine
An ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004, IS 18001:2007 company
URANIUM CORPORATION OF INDIA LTD
ECO-FRIENDLY & SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE
MINING WITH TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE
Set-up in 1967, Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (a Public Sector
Enterprise) under the Department of Atomic Energy, has the sole
mandate to mine and process uranium ore for fuelling the
Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors for generation of electricity
through nuclear means.
To Maintain sustained U - fuel
supply to the nuclear reactors for
Take significant initiatives for
meeting national needs and
Achieve all round excellence &
Commissioned in 1995
Entry through 80 decline for movement of
355m deep shaft providing access to deeper
Most modern, well designed and mechanised
Cut-and-fill method of stoping
with ramp as access
Waste rock filling along with deslimed tailings
Deployment of state of art
equipment like hyd drill jumbos,
LHD, LPDT, passenger carrier,
scissor lift for drilling and mucking
THE GENESIS OF CHALLENGE
Underground mines, with personnel and equipment working at great
depths, require an effective and fool-proof, mine-wide
communication system for smooth functioning of mine production
and worker safety.
With this rationale in view in late 2011, a proposal was mooted to
take up a project to address the various challenges involving
production management, maintenance downtime and asset tracking
in UCIL’s underground mines.
UCIL management decided that its modern high production mine at
Narwapahar located in the East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand
would be the pilot location for the project to validate the IT solutions
in the mining domain. Further within Narwapahar mine, Level 4
located 140m (460 feet) below ground was determined as the area
where the solution would be piloted.
It was decided to take the assistance of M/s TCS (who have certain
experience in mining) for providing the necessary technical inputs.
UNDERSTANDING THE SOLUTION
Wi-Fi is the industry name for wireless LAN (WLAN) communication
technology related to the IEEE 802.11 family of wireless networking
standards. Wi-Fi is a popular technology that allows an electronic device
to exchange data or connect to the internet wirelessly using radio waves.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless non-contact use of
radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data for the purposes
of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. The
tags contain electronically stored information. Unlike a bar code, the tag
does not necessarily need to be within line of sight of the reader and may
be embedded in the tracked object. The RFID tag attached to the
underground mine truck tracks its movement through the mine area.
An IP Phone or VoIP phone or uses voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
technologies for placing and transmitting telephone calls over an IP
network, instead of the traditional public switched telephone network
(PSTN). The Cisco make IP phones used in our system gives the full
advantage of converged voice and data networks while retaining its
convenience and user-friendliness.
This challenge was taken up as R
project of UCIL in collaboration
with M/s TCS.
The system has been installed at
the 4th level (140 m below
It has three components, viz.
Tracking of Vehicles & Key
between Key Personnel.
Production Monitoring by
The system uses a Wi-Fi based
tracking system for
real-time and historical
key personnel in
Underground using IP
A Control Room in
A Wi-Fi network in
An RFID network
The system uses OFC
cables for long distance
System Components of Wi Fi network
The Wi-Fi is primarily used for tracking of assets, voice communication
between key miners and the control room on zoned basis.
Access Points: A wireless access point
(WAP) is a device that allows wireless
devices to connect to a wired network
WCS: Wireless Control System (WCS)
includes tools for wireless LAN planning
and design, location tracking, and wireless
LAN systems configuration, monitoring,
MSE: Mobility Services Engine (MSE) is
an appliance-based solution that supports
a suite of software services to provide
centralized and scalable service delivery.
API: An application programming
interface (API) is a specification
intended to be used as an interface by
software components to communicate
with each other.
Application Data Storage:SQL server
2008 is used as database in this solution.
System Components of RFID network
Individual MT trip count data are gathered by RFID system.
RFID Reader: RFID readers use RF
waves for communication and therefore
must have one or more antennas. The
antenna may be externally connected or in
the same housing or enclosure as the
RFID reader electronics.
RFID Tag: The tag transmits information
to the reader via antenna, and the reader
converts the incoming radio waves into a
form that can be read by a computer
RFID middleware: RFID Middleware
communicates with the device; filters
redundant data in real time, logs the
filtered data along with a time-stamp to a
database .The logged data is utilized by
the application to create reports of trip
count for individual MTs.
Underground Wi-Fi Network
It consists of:
‘Wi-Fi Access Points’ at various
locations consisting of
LIU (Light Interface Unit)
Wi-Fi Antenna near Access
Points (Range = 75 m)
Wi-Fi tags mounted on mine
IP Phones for voice
Underground RFID Network
THE U/G RFID NETWORK
An RFID Reader near grizzly
at 4th level where Mine
Trucks are unloaded.
A pair of RFID antennas (Range :3.0 m)
To detect presence of
mine truck in close
To stamp mine truck
RFID tags (passive) mounted
on mine trucks
Underground Control Room
It has the following installations
Server for storage and processing of
time stamped data.
A graphic user interface showing
Location of mine equipment
Location of IP Phones (used by
It is connected through OFC cables
Wi-Fi Access Points.
Application Development Technology
The following table details the software details
used to develop the Remote Asset Tracking
Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
Microsoft visual studio 2010 using
Microsoft Office 2010
Benefits from the System
Implementation of this project has helped in
Fast track management of emergency situations by
voice communication using IP phones.
Faster management of breakdowns to minimize
downtime of various mine equipment.
Better monitoring of mine truck trips.
Generation of real time data for industrial
engineering studies for better planning.
Our remote RFID asset tracking system is proving to be an
optimisation mechanism wherein the movements of the high
production equipment are tracked online, instructions
provided in case of problems or safety issues and all necessary
data transmitted/stored for more effective mine planning.
With add-on facilities the project shall be upgraded from the
present voice/ data communication to continual video images
of the underground workings.
The diagnostic modules of all critical underground equipment
shall also be interfaced to this system.
We have thus proved that if an organization has the
will & is not afraid of challenges then nothing is
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