Evolutionary tagging becomes active

ZONING is a term most sports buffs would be familiar with. Now mine managers have a tool they can use to zone off parts of their mines, make all people and equipment in a mine visible at all times, and account for personnel working at different locations on site.

Staff Reporter

TRACKER II is a progression from Mine Site Technologies’ TRACKER system which uses beacons and “active” electronic tags, worn by people and attached to vehicles, to monitor all activity in a mine. The technology is currently undergoing extensive field trials as part of MST’s focus on fit-for-purpose R&D, and is due for commercial release in early 2002.

TRACKER II beacons are connected to a database PC (by direct hard wire link or VDV leaky feeder antenna) and can read tags up to 40m away, depending on tunnel shape and dimensions. They can detect up to 10 tags in a vehicle travelling past at 40km per hour.

With beacons installed at strategic locations in a mine, the location of people and equipment can be tracked within and between zones. Information is reported directly to the host computer, where it can be displayed on a schematic, and all activity is logged to hard disk.

Active tags worn by personnel, or attached to equipment, are constantly transmitting their unique identification. As they pass within range of a beacon, this information is recorded and sent to the main PC. MST’s proprietary software program also allows an operator to generate a current list of personnel working underground, work zones and even peoples’ trades and other qualifications.

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