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Increase Mine Safety with Fiber Optic Sensing (Hawk Measurement)
Topic: FOSA Case Studies
Owner: FOSA Staff
Date: 2020-10-19

Implementing advanced measurement and monitoring instrumentation increases plant safety, productivity and profitability. It is essential, now more than ever, that steps are taken to minimize the time operators and personnel spend in the field, reduce any downtime and operate at optimum efficiency. There are now smarter technologies that predict equipment failures, detect fire and hot spots and provide 24/7 monitoring. 

A technology that is being utilizing more frequently throughout the mining industry is Fiber Optic Sensing. It is the most technologically advanced method to monitor conveyor and power cable health. On a conveyor belt, a fiber optic sensing system can detect idlers that have failed or will soon fail (up to 20 days in advance), identifies the exact location of each idler and reports it to the control system or operator. This type of predictive maintenance saves thousands. The Praetorian Fiber Optic Sensing System developed by Hawk Measurement Systems (HAWK) also has the ability to detect conveyor fires, reports in real-time and can monitor up to 50miles (80km).

Another application that mines are utilizing fiber optic sensing technology is monitoring buried and unburied data cables, wires and power transmission lines. Monitoring for wear, damage or corrosion of the cable is extremely difficult and often power failure or data outage is the first sign of a problem. These cables are typically installed in areas that have multiple uses by various stake holders and in the event of a failure can be logistically difficult and expensive to access for repair. The Praetorian Fiber Optic Sensing System can be installed either near the power cables or embedded within the power cable itself. It can monitor disturbances, identify manual and machine excavation, vehicle movement, ground condition assessment and detects hotspots. HAWK’s Fiber Optic Sensing System requires no additional field infrastructure such as power or communication and does not require maintenance or calibration after commissioning. This type of real-time intelligent monitoring is critical to operating efficiently and protecting valuable assets.

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