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UWB Technology Brings Signalization to Turkish Mining Company

ESAN is using RFID to control the movements of vehicles into and out of its underground mines, thereby increasing productivity and reducing fuel consumption and labor time.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 21, 2019

Mining company ESAN has boosted its efficiency and productivity with a customized RFID solution that automates traffic signalization underground. The system ensures that vehicular traffic moves safely through its 26-kilometer (16-mile) mines, by identifying vehicles and then managing the signal lights to keep those vehicles flowing safely in two directions.

The traffic signalization using ultra-wideband (UWB) technology is the latest in a series of RFID deployments at the site. The RFID solutions are being provided by wireless technology company Wipelot. Rifat Ok, the company's R&D director, presented the deployment's description and results at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference, held this month in Phoenix, Ariz.

ESAN has boosted its efficiency and productivity with a customized RFID solution that automates traffic signalization underground.
ESAN owns zinc and lead mines throughout Turkey. The firm began introducing RFID technology into its mining operations in 2015, first by automatically capturing the identities of trucks as they were weighed before and after loading. Since then, the company has included RFID in its underground mines to track individuals and vehicles moving around the mines, thereby improving both productivity and safety.

Initially, the company had sought to automate the collection of weight data at the Balikesir site, south of Istanbul, where trucks are weighed upon entering and leaving the mine. "The first project was scale integration," Ok recalls. With UWB tags on vehicles and a reader installed at the scale, the company captured each truck's unique ID number as it entered the scale. The software, residing on a PC at that location, then linked the vehicle ID and type of ore being collected with the gross and tare weights. After leveraging RFID at the scales, the company began looking at other use cases for the technology. It then opted to employ UWB RFID technology to track the movements of employees and equipment entering and exiting the premises.

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