Applying RFID to Coal Mining

The top five coal producers in the world are China, India, Australia, South Africa, the U.S.A., and Canada. Coal is the primary source for electricity and the world’s most abundant fossil fuel. Coal is classified as the following:

Lignite: A lower ranked coal used in electricity power generation

Sub-bituminous coal: A cleaner burning coal used for electricity in power generation

Bituminous coal: Primarily used for fuel in electrical power generation and coke for steelmaking.

Anthracite coal: The appearance is glossy black used for home heating and steelmaking.

Canada has 24 coal mines located in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. In Canada coal is extracted by surface mining and strip mining. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal in the world, accounting for 46 percent of global coal production and 49 percent of the world’s consumption. China relies heavily on coal for power and energy production. Asia currently accounts for more than 67 percent of global coal consumption. Countries such as Japan, Chinese Taipei and Korea import steam coal for electricity generation and coking coal for steel production. Coal is a cheap source of energy.

Coal is used in everything from paper manufacturing to the pharmaceutical industries. Ammonia gas, the byproduct of coal ovens is used to manufacture ammonia salts and agricultural fertilisers. Coal and coal by-products are used in soap, aspirins, dyes, plastics, solvents and fibres. This product is an essential ingredient in the production of carbon fibre and silicon metal.

Mining Methods

Surface mining is implemented when a coal seam is found near the surface. Large surface mines can cover many square kilometres of land. After the coal seam is exposed after being broken up by explosives it is drilled and extracted using shovels and trucks. With the many challenges that the industry faces, we at GAO RFID, can help you in this regard, we have extensive experience and can apply our knowledge so as to get multiple solutions that will help organizations within the industry.

Exploring RFID Systems in the Coal Mining Industry

At GAO RFID, we can offer our experience to help the Coal Mining industry improve operational efficiencies including:

  • Track Equipment
  • Monitoring and Locating Personnel
  • Monitor and Manage Inventory
  • Control Access

Tracking Assets

Coal that has been extracted from underground or surface mining and separated from refuse material is placed into piles. Lumps of coal are known as gob piles, slate dumps, boney piles and culm banks. Coal piles may be moved several times before final transport. The insertion of RFID Tags in coal containers is easily documented using an RFID Reader that informs mining supervisors of the exact location of different grades of coal. We have the relevant experience which we have gained from working on RFID technology to track assets using RFID Tags, it is a simple straightforward approach compared to the “pen and paper” method of inventory allocation.

RFID technology can be used to tag mining rental equipment such as the following:

  • mobile crusher jaws
  • draglines
  • large trucks (used to transport coal)
  • conveyors
  • bucket wheel excavators
  • power shovels

Coal mining sites periodically rent mining trucks for temporary time periods. Deploying RFID Tags that have been assigned to rented equipment allows you to track and locate the specific location of the unit on your mining site.

In addition, you can track each individual piece of machinery for maintenance and service records prevent the breakdown of machinery and parts. Servicing machinery while it is under warranty and before it requires maintenance prevents having a pivotal machine out of commission delaying production of coal operations.

To gain a clear perspective on how tracking rented mining equipment can save your organization money, the following are the hourly operating costs (US$) for mining equipment. Imagine not know what equipment you have on site, and letting them sit idle without use while paying hourly for rental fees?

 

ITEM OVERALL PARTS OVERALL LABOUR MAINT. LABOUR TOTAL
Shovel, Hydraulic $14.47 $11.67 $17.53 $119.24
Loader, wheel 4.83 3.9 7.25 109
Truck, rear dump 2.98 3.21 5.96 89.95
Drill, rotary (crawler) 8.26 7.79 6.37 104.99
Tractor, crawler (dozer) 2.2 2.37 3.55 38
Grader, road 3.28 3.09 5.74 52.87
Truck, water 2.05 2.49 4.62 38.15
Truck, service 1.18 1.11 2.07 16.51
Truck, shot loader 0.61 0.58 1.07 26.45

 

Tracking people

Coal mining accident rates in China and the U.S.A. are a common occurrence. The Chinese Administration of Coal Mine Safety has worked to improve safety conditions but the end result speaks for itself, mining accidents caused 2631 fatalities. The director of State Administration of Coal Mine Safety released statistics that for every million tons of excavation there were 0.89 deaths.

RFID is a viable solution for tracking the exodus of mining personnel in possible disaster scenarios. With our immense experience in RFID technology, we can help you deal with this critical situation and personal safety of an employee can be assured using RFID, every employee is outfitted with an Active RFID Badge that continuously communicates their location to the RFID Readers installed across the site. This information is relayed to the database, allowing you the ability to instantly look up employees by badge ID to locate their location and status.

Providing Access Control

Incorporating RFID Access Control on sites at coal mining operations contributes towards the prevention of unauthorized vehicles or personnel to secure job sites. Work sites consist of expensive equipment. Tagging underground equipment and personnel in mining zones can be tracked with our custom RFID solutions.

Every vehicle and worker can be detected at the gate by their assigned tags that communicate with the boom barrier to allow them to enter. Unauthorized personnel or trucks will be denied entrance. Securing access to coal mining sites makes the site more safe and everyone becomes accountable.

Integrating with your Management Software

GAO RFID’s Systems can be deployed as a standalone solution or can be integrated with other software solutions, according to your needs.

GAO RFID’s AUTO-ID Engine, incorporates middleware and essential RFID functions that perform RFID data collection and information processing. It can seamlessly integrates with a wide variety of coal mining management systems so that you can access the data it collects directly via the system or systems you currently have in place.

Our team of seasoned professionals who have the ability to combine our RFID experience with your industry experience and provide a customized solution that will easily integrate the appropriate RFID solution with your IT architecture. The result is an RFID solution that is seamlessly unified with your coal mining management system.

We can work with you to integrate the RFID tracking data collected from our custom solution with today’s leading information management systems in your industry.

List of Relevant Information Management Systems

Contact us for more information on how our RFID Systems can be configured for your organization.