Applying RFID to the Salt Mining Industry

  • Highway de-icing
  • Paper manufacturing
  • Water softening
  • Food grade salt
  • Agricultural (diet supplement for livestock)
  • Industrial chemicals

Solar evaporation, rock salt mining and vacuum evaporation are the three main sources of salt mining production. The following is a brief outline of each of these salt mining methods. Solar Evaporation – Ideal in tropical climates where the evaporation rate exceeds the precipitation rate. Solar evaporation involves collecting salt water in shallow ponds where the sun evaporates the majority of water. Mechanical harvesting machines gather the concentrated brine, any impurities found are removed and discarded prior to harvesting. Crystallization ponds can be spread out over 40 to 200 acres, most of them have a depth of one foot of salt. Evaporation leaves a purified salt crystal behind. Vacuum Evaporation – This method utilizes steam to remove salt brine in large commercial evaporators called vacuum pans. The salt left over is of high quality and fine in texture. Salt deposits originate from wells drilled up to 1,000 feet. Modern day wells are connected via lateral drilling. Water pumped down one well dissolves the salt and the resulting brine floats to the surface in an adjacent well. The pumped salt is then pumped into another well before being stored in tanks for storage. Rock Salt Mining – Mining salt from mines is accomplished by having miners go down a shaft from aboveground to belowground. Salt is mined using the room and pillar method, this ensures adequate roof support. The ceiling height can be up to 18 feet high with an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Explosives inserted into holes drilled into the sides of salt walls are detonated electrically. Hundreds to thousands of tons of rock salt are blasted, the next step in the mining process is for machines to load and haul the salt to machines that crush and feed the salt onto a conveyor belt. Large clumps of salt are crushed before being sent to storage bins to be transported to the surface.

Exploring RFID in the Salt Mining Industry

The Salt Mining industry faces many challenges in its day-to-day operations. Our immense experience in RFID Systems can help to provide ways for the industry to improve efficiency and reduce costs, including:

  • Tracking and Monitoring Equipment
  • Managing and Tracking Mined Salt Deposits
  • Tracking and Locating Personnel
  • Providing Control of Access in Mines

Applying Asset Tracking

RFID is the ultimate solution for tracking people and equipment inexpensively. Embedding RFID Tags in equipment such as wheeled loaders, cutting machines, dredgers, undercutter machines and other mining equipment may make machines available for miners to use and reduces the opportunity of lost or stolen equipment. In addition, with our history of handling such scenarios, we can help track individual machines for the amount of hours used, an important detail for mining operators who rent machinery. RFID Tags can be deployed to help track the grade and location of mined salt deposits in real-time. By assigning RFID Tags to salt deposits,  it may be possible to use handheld RFID readers to identify deposit types. As mined salt piles are picked up by vehicles to be transferred to chutes leading to a conveyor system for crushing into small sized rocks, the deposits can be continued to be tracked during this process to ensure 100% visibility of where inventory is going. RFID Tags designed to survive the rigors of a crusher can relay information from the tag to the mining central office. The central office contains a management system which replaces the old “paper and pen” method of inventory tracking as the RFID Tags can send information to a database for clear outlook on salt inventory.

Applying People Tracking

Preventing mining accidents and tragedies should be the priority of any mining operation company also maintaining an accurate count of all personnel is an important factor to ensure safety in the work environment. We can apply our knowledge that we have gained from our experience using RFID to track people. RFID tags may be used to attach to miners’ work helmets also it can communicate with RFID Readers.  These readers can be placed at different strategic locations throughout a mine. Readers receive and forward data transmitted by RFID Tags and relay the information to the database for any authorized manager to lookup. In cases of emergency, a specific worker can be located in real-time within seconds. During muster drills, the RFID Personnel Tracking System automates the muster count process and accurately identifies which personnel have not yet checked in within minutes of the drill.

Applying Access Control

The access to restricted zones may be controlled with our experience in controlling access via RFID technology. Through customization, it can record the exact time when miners enter or leave a salt mining shaft, ensuring a transparent view of personnel movement and activity. At the same time, RFID Access Control ensures that only authorized personnel can open certain doors to access specialized zones. Access can be managed remotely via our web-based interface, and a manager can quickly grant or restrict access with a touch of a button. All access history is recorded so that a review of activity can be conducted in case of need.

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 management systems so that you can access the data it collects directly via the system or systems you currently have in place. Our team comprises of seasoned professionals who have the capability to combine our RFID experience with your industry experience and provide a customized solution that will smoothly integrate the appropriate RFID Solution with your IT architecture. The result is an RFID solution that is seamlessly unified with your 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.

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

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