March 2, 2023 - Rajant Corporation, the pioneer of Kinetic Mesh® wireless networks, collaborated with Sandvik on digital mining tests to ensure that wireless communication can be used with tele-remote and autonomous vehicles destined for the De Beers Venetia diamond mine.
Venetia is South Africa’s largest diamond mine. It has been mined as an open-pit since 1992, with a Rajant Kinetic Mesh network providing resilient connectivity for surface vehicles. The Venetia Underground Project is a ~$2 billion investment that will rely upon autonomous and remotely operated vehicles to mine the diamond-bearing rock efficiently and safely, adopting new techniques for precise sub-level caving extraction. Given this investment, the mine life extends into 2045.
“Our collaboration with Rajant demonstrates real cooperation in adopting best-in-class technology to enable our customers to mine safer and more efficiently. Allied with Sandvik’s world-leading mining machines, the Rajant Kinetic Mesh wireless connectivity allows full utilization of our advanced systems,” says Elen Toodu, Director of Global Automation Product Line & Projects, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.
“Testing and validating with Sandvik demonstrated the ability to maintain the network connections required, not only to ensure safe operations but to be able to stream live video from the machines as they operate autonomously,” says Jouni Koppanen, Product Line Manager, Underground Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.
The Sandvik intelligent loaders and trucks feature smart solutions that rely on ubiquitous network connectivity within the challenging underground environment. Rajant’s network nodes, called BreadCrumbs® are mounted in fixed points within the mine and on every vehicle to directly connect to the vehicle’s cameras and control safety systems. This ensures that the controlling systems have 100% connection to the onboard systems.
“All Rajant BreadCrumbs communicate with all other radios, creating a unique, high-capacity, dense mesh network of connected assets, operating the advanced software systems at the heart of modern mining,” shares Chris Mason, Rajant VP of Sales, EMEA. “Rajant continuously develops its network offerings by working closely with machine and system manufacturers and the end-customer, enhancing the hardware and software systems that deliver mission-critical connectivity. Working with Sandvik on this task was a true illustration of collaboration across organizations and continents.”
Adds Mason, “Rajant’s extensive mining heritage in over 270 mines globally has led to the development of the latest Peregrine BreadCrumbs used for validation. This not only proved the resilience of connectivity and ruggedization to survive in the mining environments but provided extremely high throughput and ultra-low latency required for multiple application use.”
Rajant technology is deployed across many mines globally, offering future-proof wireless connectivity. Each time Rajant launches a new BreadCrumb with added functionality, such as increased throughput, additional radio frequencies, or advanced management and control software, each new version is backward compatible with earlier models. This offers a clear path to continual improvement and network upgrade – critical when operations extend well into the future, like Venetia.