Reducing Ramp Congestion: MineProx Right-of-Way feature

With Newtrax I’ve visited many underground mines and while each site is different, the most consistent observation I’ve made has been the impact of traffic congestion in ramps. Typically, I observe congestion as a passenger in a light truck that encounters a loaded haul truck moving material to an ore pass, waste location, or to surface. Without advanced warning, a haul truck may have to slow or stop to provide the light truck opportunity to reverse into a safety bay or crosscut. The impact of this encounter is obvious – lost productivity due to increased cycle times, higher costs from higher fuel burn, equipment wear, and so on – all impacting operational performance. In a recent case, a client reported an average loss of 50 minutes per truck due to congestion each shift!

Ramp Congestion

Despite advances in mining practices and technology, vehicular congestion in underground mines around the world remains a major production bottleneck and continues to cost the mining industry significantly. Efforts to improve congestion using radios, traffic signals and other such solutions have led to fewer accidents, safer mines and improved traffic flow. However, in some cases, these same solutions have caused secondary issues such as convoys where slow moving vehicles leading a convey can slow progress in ramps for all other vehicles in pursuit.

A new feature from Newtrax has been helping improve traffic in ramps and is now available as part of the popular MineProx proximity detection system. MineProx has been used for many years to enhance situation awareness, to help miners avoid collisions, and to save lives in mines around the world. The system uses 900 MHz radio frequency (RF) technology to detect vehicles and pedestrians (via a RF chip embedded in cap lamps) which detects proximity at farther distances and in more complex geometries than alternative solutions; even working in curving ramps and in outside line-of-sight. Since the system is peer-to-peer, inclusion of all vehicles is immediate and there is no downtime associated with network outages resulting from infrastructure.

The new MineProx Right-of-Way (ROW) feature allows the operator of loaded equipment or emergency vehicles to signal ROW status (left in image above). Once ROW is signaled, all vehicles within RF range will be warned of an approaching ROW with a visual cue (right in image above). One result I obtained during a recent underground demo in a curving ramp revealed advanced warning of between 15-20 seconds before the headlights of the haul truck were visible. With an extra 15-20 seconds, many light/heavy vehicles encounters can be solved in advance, meaning loaded haul tuck delays will be less frequent.

How much of an improvement could you expect? Want to see a demo of the solution at your mine? Please give me a call/email so we can work through the particularities of your mine/ramp/haulage to understand the impact of MineProx ROW features on your operations.

Craig Banks | +1 514 360 3724 |