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With the majority of Australia’s mineral, oil and gas reserves situated in remote locations, resource companies can struggle to get timely access to the data they need to make critical operational decisions.
A carefully considered network of remote monitoring and control systems, with optimised satellite communications, can deliver operational efficiencies and reduce costs for mining, oil and gas operators.
The following article shows us where satellite-enabled remote-monitoring systems can be utilised in the mining, oil and gas industries, the considerations for cost efficient optimisation and the operational benefits of having real-time, reliable access to critical data.
Australia’s natural resources industry is characterised by remote locations, vast geographical areas with difficult terrain and poor 3G network coverage.
Regular, physical access to field locations can be cost or time prohibitive, leaving resources managers without access to the up-to-date information they need to make decisions that can impact on compliance with environmental regulations, efficient operations and maintenance of systems and equipment.
A carefully planned network of remote monitoring and control systems, combined with reliable, optimised satellite communications systems, can provide managers with the full visibility of field conditions they require to achieve cost-effective operational excellence.
The purpose of each remote monitoring and control system can vary but the core elements remain the same:
- A sensor or transmitter to capture an ‘event’ (such as rainfall, bearing temperature, water level)
- Instrumentation to read the signal from the sensor and transmit the data (such as a data logger and modem)
- A wireless network connection (3G / radio / satellite) to carry the data
- A device (such as a computer) capable of accessing the data transmission and translating it into meaningful information
Monitoring & Control Systems: Design Factors
- What do you want to know?
Identify the list of parameters before committing to sensors or transmitters. By planning early, you may be able to find an all-in-one solution that delivers all the readings you require
- How regularly can you physically access the system?
Many sensors and transmitters require regular, ongoing maintenance. If you are unable to meet these requirements, reliability or accuracy of data may be compromised.
- Is there access to mains power?
If mains power is unavailable, solar power will probably be required. Consider how many consecutive ‘no sun’ days the system may encounter.
- Can you get a clear, consistent mobile phone signal on-site?
If there is no 3G network coverage, or the network is regularly ‘swamped’ you will need to consider alternatives such as satellite communications.
Technical capabilities: the manufacturer AND the end user
Before assigning the responsibility for component sourcing, manufacture, programming and installation to an internal resource, consider their level of experience regarding:
- Assessing and planning for the power draw of all system components
- Communications protocols such as Modbus and SDI-12
- Software programming: many data loggers / control devices require at least a basic level of coding for initial setup
- Electrical wiring
Outsourcing the manufacture of a system can often be a more reliable and timely option in many situations.
The technical capabilities of the end user need to be considered during the planning and development. It is important to ensure that the system offers a clear, easy-to-understand interface that allows the end-user to access and understand the information being produced.
Since 1984, we have been solving problems for customers. We have experience in mining, agriculture, surveying, environmental protection and other industries and have worked with differing technologies including RFID, 24/7 remote connectivity and satellite telemetry.
From defining your needs, through to production, your dedicated Project Manager will guide you through the process of developing a remote monitoring system.
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