With radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology being ideal for inspecting assets at a mine, screening and vibrating-equipment solutions provider Aury Africa has enlisted RFID specialist Thembekile Asset Management Solutions (TAMS) to develop a solution specific to the requirements of the mining industry.
The search for RFID technology applicable to the mining industry is focused on factors such as vibration, high operating temperatures and pressures encountered. This is also in line with Aury Africa’s vision of keeping up to date with such trends as the Internet of Things.
TAMS business development director Dean Parkhouse explained that RFID innovations leader Xerafy and its Roswell ultra-high frequency RFID tags were selected as the ideal solution for South African mining conditions. These offer a variety of attachment options suited to mining equipment, enabling real-time reporting and asset management applications.
In addition, the tags also allow for comprehensive reporting on planned maintenance inspections, for example.
RFID tags are energised through electromagnetic fields which then are used to identify and track objects and equipment. This aids in flow-process inspection and maintenance, and enables compliance reporting with all regulatory requirements. The microchips in the tags can be embedded into different types of attachments, including cable ties, bands, buckles and bolts. They can be welded, glued or tied onto the required application.
“RFID tags each have their own unique identifier to ensure they can never be duplicated. The system requires a proof of presence, as the person undertaking the inspection has to be within proximity range of the tag with the scanning device to energise and communicate with the tag,” he explains.
RFID technology enables knowledge and operating procedures to be digitised, subsequently transferring the skills to the person who is inspecting the equipment, because maintenance, inspection or standard operating procedures can be downloaded easily for reference, explains Aury Africa director Sydney Parkhouse.
The results registered on the reader are either cloud or server based. Log books can be created for lifting equipment, for example. The RFID technology can therefore effectively be used to create an inspection history for equipment, he adds.
“Aury Africa has several RFID implementation proposals from mines belonging to global mining group Anglo American, platinum group metals miner Lonmin, and coal producer Seriti Resources at present,” Dean concludes.