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Case Study: Australian Open Cut & Underground Coal Mine

Our customer is a combined open-cut and underground mine near Singleton in New South Wales.  The mine produces thermal coal and pulverized coal injection (PCI) coal for export and domestic markets.

It has a workforce of approximately 950 people, including contractors.  In 2011, the open-cut mine produced 2.6 million tonnes of saleable coal and the underground produced 2.8 million tonnes of saleable coal.

coal truckWith 950 people to keep safe on such a busy site and the need to maximise productivity, it is essential that communications are reliable, secure and flexible.  They were using an analog two way radio system they had outgrown, leading to congestion on available channels and black spots on site where there was no coverage.   Congestion and lack of coverage had become a significant safety concern and was hampering productivity.

Maintaining control of their radio network was also of concern – sensitive conversations were not private and there were many radios, which could be used to initiate emergency calls and shut down operation of the entire site, unaccounted for.   

They realised they needed a new system that would allow them to expand the number of channels available, and use those channels more efficiently, to reduce congestion and maintain control of communications on site.  Telephone interconnect and private calling for supervisors to communicate with employees directly were also important.  Finally they needed a product with redundancy so that in the event of hardware failures the radio system would still operate. 

The owners of the mine reviewed the two way radio market over a lengthy period of time and came to us well informed and with the knowledge that they needed to upgrade the site to a digital two-way radio system.   They knew National Wireless had a proven record installing digital systems in the Hunter Valley region and they were happy that National Wireless responded to all questions in a timely and efficient manner.

draglineNational Wireless recommended a two site redundant dual carrier Damm Tetraflex system utilising Sepura SRG3900 mobile radios, STP8240 and STP8040 portables and Hornless Horns.  Tetra infrastructure offered all the functionality they required out of the box.   Alternative systems started off with basic features that required costly and complicated upgrades and add on products to meet the customer’s requirements.  Tetra terminals offered superior value compared to alternative systems whilst exceeding independent durability tests.

For both the mine and National Wireless this was a seamless project delivered within 6 months.  The customer was intelligent and well informed with excellent project management skills.  They were able to leverage existing resources to implement their new radio system.  They were thrilled with National Wireless ability to design and deploy the system within 6 six months. 

Now the system is in place they have been impressed by the seamless transition from analog to digital technology, using radio gateways that allow users on analog radios to talk with those on the new digital system.   Private calling between supervisors and staff has also been notably beneficial.
National Wireless has already installed many tetra systems in Australian mine sites – we have the experience and expertise to design a solution that will increase productivity and safety on your mine site – call us on 1300 852 929.

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