May 22, 2012 - Tropos® Networks today announced that PCS Phosphate Company, Inc. has deployed a Tropos wireless communications network at its Aurora, North Carolina (PotashCorp-Aurora) phosphate mine. The outdoor network transports telemetry data from instrumentation on mining and processing equipment such as shovels, draglines, conveyors and feeders. Real-time telemetry data monitoring enables PotashCorp-Aurora to minimize unscheduled maintenance and increase uptime at its round-the-clock, seven-day-a-week operation.
PotashCorp-Aurora mines and processes phosphate ore. The facility is the world’s largest vertically integrated fertilizer enterprise. It is a leading supplier to the agriculture, animal nutrition, and industrial chemical markets. The plant site sits adjacent to the Pamlico River and began operating in 1964. It employs approximately 1,000 permanent and up to 550 contract workers.
The Tropos network employs fixed mesh routers deployed around the mine’s perimeter as well as mobile mesh routers mounted on mining equipment. It transports data collected by sensors on the mining equipment to the facility’s operations center where the information is monitored and analyzed. By ensuring that equipment is operating within specified parameters and predictively determining the need for maintenance, PotashCorp-Aurora avoids unscheduled maintenance and costly downtime. In addition to equipment telemetry data, the network is used to communicate manufacturing process data and to support use of IP phones.
“After a thorough review during which we evaluated wireless technologies already deployed at our site as well as alternatives that we had not previously examined, we chose Tropos Networks to provide the wireless broadband network in our mine, ” said Gary Peterson, Superintendent-IT, PotashCorp-Aurora. “The Tropos equipment and software provides the cost-effectiveness, mobility support and ease of deployment that we require. We also value the direct customer support that Tropos offers.”
Tropos mesh networking technology is designed specifically to build large-scale outdoor communication networks, in contrast to products that are rooted in indoor enterprise networks. As a result, Tropos mesh networks meet the challenging requirements of outdoor telemetry and industrial applications.
“Industrial applications such as mining as well as oil and gas exploration and production have become an increasingly important part of Tropos’ business,” said Tom Ayers, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tropos Networks. “We are pleased that PotashCorp-Aurora selected Tropos to meet their outdoor wireless broadband networking needs and are excited that we can help them keep their facility operating continuously and efficiently on a 24/7 basis.”
PotashCorp-Aurora is a subsidiary of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp). The Aurora facility employs approximately 1,000 employees with approximately 90 percent of them native to the area.
PotashCorp is the world's largest fertilizer enterprise by capacity producing the three primary plant nutrients: potash, phosphate and nitrogen, and a leading supplier to three distinct market categories: agriculture, with the largest capacity in the world in potash and third largest in phosphate and nitrogen; animal nutrition, with the world's largest capacity in phosphate feed ingredients; and industrial chemicals, as the largest global producer of industrial nitrogen products and the world's largest capacity for production of purified industrial phosphoric acid.