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Tropos wireless mesh network for PotashCorp phosphate mines

High-performance wireless broadband networks at two Potash- Corp North American mine locations.


The networks provide near realtime access to data and video from the mine pit and mobile mining equipment, improving operational efficiency and safety. In addition, video cameras are connected to the network and monitored centrally, enhancing perimeter security.

PotashCorp is the world’s largest crop-nutrient company with operations around the globe. Two of the company’s phosphate mines in the United States are located in Aurora, North Carolina and White Springs, Florida. Mining operations continue around the clock, seven days per week. At both mine sites, the plant managers need real-time, remote visibility (data and video) into pit operations from that mine’s control center and processing plant. As the location of actively mined pits changes several times a year, the communication network needed to be not just reliable but also flexible enough to be easily relocated with minimal disruption to service.

To meet the customer’s needs, ABB deployed fixed wireless mesh routers in and around each mine pit. Additional fixed wireless routers were used to extend the network to each site’s mine control center and chemical processing plant. At these points, wireless mesh routers configured as gateways connect to the facility’s core fiber network. Video cameras in the pit connect to the wireless mesh network, enabling operators to monitor activities in the pit and record how much material each dragline excavator picks up. In addition, digital cameras at each facility’s entry gates enable centralized monitoring and recording of people entering and leaving the area, eliminating the need for a guard at each gate.

Mobile routers were mounted on draglines. They serve to transport telemetry data from multiple sensors, whose data is used monitor the health of these key pieces of equipment in the pits. This provides operators with a clear picture of their assets, allowing them to schedule preventative maintenance, which is more efficient and less disruptive to productivity than unscheduled or timebased maintenance.

ABB’s Tropos network delivers an effective combination of fixed and mobile routers to provide high-bandwidth communications for PotashCorp’s mining operations.

Today, the Tropos network enables centralized tracing and analysis of mining equipment telemetry, helping reduce unscheduled downtime, thereby increasing productivity and safety. Fast access to process data provides early visibility into trends that may affect product and quality enabling early resolution of issues. Plant operations have visibility into mining pit activity in near real-time, improving operational efficiency and safety. Video security reduces costs and provides centralized monitoring of multiple locations concurrently.

The PotashCorp phosphate mines take advantage of some key differentiators of Tropos technology. They mix mobile and fixed nodes in a single network; they run multiple applications, including video surveillance, concurrently; and they relocate radios with ease as the location of mine operations shifts from place to place within the facility.

Download the case study and learn how wireless networks improves mines' efficiency and safety.

ABB is the market leader in wireless broadband networks that provide reliable, secure and scalable wireless IP networks for field applications in a broad range of industries, including utilities, oil and gas, mining, smart grids and smart cities.

Contact: bert.williams@nam.abb.com
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