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Pyhäsalmi Mine Will Expand RFID System to Boost Safety
The Finnish mine is already using RFID to identify which trucks are onsite and which personnel are in the mines, and it plans to track detonators as well.
Apr 08, 2015—
For the past five years, the Pyhäsalmi mine in central Finland has been using passive high-frequency (HF) RFID tags to record when workers enter or leave a mine shaft, and thereby ensure their safety during controlled explosions and evacuations. Since that time, says Kimmo Luukkonen, the mine's managing director, the technology has improved management's visibility into who is underground and when, and hence has increased its safety program's efficiency and accuracy. The company plans to expand that HF RFID solution to monitor who carries explosive detonators into the mine.First Quantum Minerals, and extracts underground copper and zinc 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) below the surface. The mine has two shafts: one for the elevator that transports miners down and brings ore up, the other extending down to that level via an approximately eight-mile-long spiral that vehicles can drive down and up.
In 2009, the mine's managers began working with Identoi to implement a work-safety system that would automatically identify who is in the mineshaft at any given time. Knowing this information is important for two reasons: In the event of an emergency evacuation, the company needs to ensure that everyone has reported to an emergency shelter, and also needs to be able to identify any individuals who have not. In addition, the mine extracts metal by blasting rock in certain sections, and these controlled blasts require that the mine be entirely vacated.
The RFID solution consists of passive 13.56 MHz RFID tags compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, explains Sakari Vaara, Identoi's CEO. Each tag, made in the form factor of a key fob, can be attached to a worker's keys. All employees must carry their tags at all times while onsite. There are a total of 220 workers, 70 of whom are typically underground during their shift.
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