Material Tracking


Pictures: RFID Reader; RFID tag and material label on container


The RFID1 module is the base element for any modern asset and material tracking in underground mines. It is well proven and successfully in use since more than five years. It is the key element in getting to know where the material and the assets are. It thereby saves significant costs by optimized organization of the underground logistics: it has been proven, that performance of underground logistics increased by over 30% after introduction of the RFID1 based tracking system!

The RFID1 reads the separately supplied MineTronics UHF RFID tags placed on a mobile asset. The tag ID is sent to servers aboveground which register the time and location of the asset for further processing in visualization systems or databases.

A typical application is set up as follows: When the material is loaded into a container, the loading personnel registers the material commission number onto the container ID. Optionally this can also be automated by electronics reading of the material label together with reading the RFID code. At the shaft entry and at locations on the way to the workings RFID1 Readers are placed: these locations are defined to be behind branching points of the rails so that the driving direction can be determined. This means that there is no need to equip the whole mine; A number of 5-10 readers per level are enough to be able to sufficiently follow up logistics tasks. The readers are connected to the MIC infrastructure computers which transform the storm of RFID messages into easy to process IREDES standardized tracking Web Service formats which are sent to servers (TrackCenter) aboveground. Another reader is installed at the exit of the shaft hoist where returning containers come to surface. This closes the circle.

MineTronics provides related consulting to plan the overall process optimization with an individual approach to every mine, in order to assure that the project benefits are reached. The system has been developed together with one of the most modern coal mines in Europe and is successfully in use since 2009.

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Benefits :

  • Information about current location of material and containers
  • Passive asset tags: no battery needed
  • Ex M1 ATEX certificate
  • Tracking software of the MIC main module used acc. to IREDES standard
  • Price efficient add-on to the MIC Network System
  • Cost-cutting by lowering the number of containers needed (better organized and quicker empty units return)
  • Better organization of underground transport by real time information about train and material locations
  • Display of locations in 3D mine model with use of additional ViewCenter software
  • Successful in use at RAG Anthrazit Ibbenb├╝ren for optimized material logistics