~ How do pumping systems benefit from wireless remote monitoring? ~

Network devices have made life much easier for factory managers. However, because moving cables from one area to another is a huge expense for plants, hard-to-reach areas must rely on wireless solutions. Here is Ian Loudon, International Sales and Marketing Manager at wireless pump monitoring and control Omniflex experts discuss how a South African mine uses wireless pump monitoring to maintain production efficiency.

The Nkomati mine near Machadodorp is one of the largest nickel reserves in South Africa. With approximately 408.6 million tonnes of ore with 0.33% nickel, large amounts of water have to be moved for ore processing and pit dewatering operations.

These processes rely on water pumps and, most importantly, pump monitoring systems. In addition, because mines are in hard-to-reach and dangerous places, monitoring pumps is not always easy. Installing control cables throughout the site is an expensive task, so plant managers are increasingly adopting wireless systems such as radio telemetry.

Achieving aging

Factory managers have been using licensed band radio frequencies to monitor and control pumps for some time. This system uses controllers and separate radio remote terminal devices (RTUs) with a data interface. However, maintaining annual radio licenses is expensive and over time much of the equipment becomes obsolete. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can no longer maintain the products because they have either gone out of business, been sold to other companies, or simply no longer produce the products.

With faulty and expensive appliances, plant managers have no way of monitoring water status and turning pumps on and off. If the water cannot be managed or the waste cannot be pumped out, the mine’s ability to process the concentrate efficiently is at risk.

The reliable solution

By researching wireless products that combine radio and controllers in one package mounted on a DIN rail, it is possible to control the pumps remotely from a long distance. Products like these use unlicensed frequencies to avoid unnecessary engineering and administration. Replacement is plug and play, which eliminates downtime and optimizes the retention of spare parts.

A typical solution is a system consisting of multiple radio RTUs (stations) connected to a SCADA system using a built-in Ethernet port. This simple Plug-and-Play system has one RTU located at the end of the local control, with all inputs and outputs designed to control the status of the feedback via Ethernet, and another located remotely connected to the electrical control of the pump and all kinds of tools. The only wiring required is for the power supply and all necessary control circuits.

Unlike traditional systems, simple configuration templates on each device are edited to share the I / O status between each RTU. For example, if a switch is actuated on one side, it will stimulate an output on the other side to turn the pump on or off. This makes line code programming unnecessary. A simple wireless solution that does not require programming will reduce costs by saving time and resources.

The system ensures that mines can monitor the status of their pumps wirelessly at distances of up to 20 kilometers. RTUs are also sturdy, housed in weatherproof enclosures with chargers for power supplies and spare batteries. Moreover, the low energy consumption of the system makes it suitable for solar power plants in remote reservoirs.

Easy to use remote monitoring

With any remote monitoring system, ease of use is essential to ensure efficient and productive operations. Therefore, wireless distributed RTUs with data acquisition capability are no more convenient than cable-based systems. The devices can be connected to an existing SCADA or DCS system via built-in Ethernet ports. This makes installation quick and easy, and plant managers also save on additional hardware and engineering time.

Once collected, all data can be viewed on fully adaptive HMI. Operators can easily view their pump and view the status and alarm conditions on the LED touch screen from any connected HMI. The addition of Omniflex’s cloud-based Data2Desktop service also allows plant managers to take advantage of remote monitoring of their site using a tablet or phone instead of having to be in front of a computer.

Extraction is a productivity-driven operation, and downtime is lost revenue that cannot be recovered. When the plant’s assets are spread over a large area, wireless remote monitoring technology makes control and management simpler, more efficient and more cost-effective.

To learn more about pump monitoring using wireless technologycontact Omniflex on 0161 491 4144 or visit website.

Wirelessly monitoring water pumps in African mines @Omniflex #engineering #engineeringupdate

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