Smart connected pumps in the mining industry

Let’s travel through the largest open-pit gold mine in operation in Canada, the Canadian Malartic mine. Started in 2017, the Malartic Extension Project involves the exploitation of the Barnat gold deposit. As with all mining projects, water and, more specifically, pumping systems are essential to the sustainability and serenity of the project. Moreover, pumps are one of the most used machines in the mines for mineral processing and refining, dust suppression, slurry transport, tailings disposal, and potable and hygiene needs.

In this context, Smartrek and 5 Canadian companies were offered the mandate to develop a connected pump to its environment to satisfy an economical and functional need to avoid damage or additional costs.

For a connected pump

Specialists in their field, Technosub manufactures and distributes innovative and sustainable custom pumping and water management solutions for the industrial and mining sectors. However, to offer a more connected and state-of-the-art pump, Technosub reached five Canadian companies to provide a system that measures temperature, pressure, electrical current, and accelerometer data. By measuring these different parameters, it is possible to detect when a pump is beginning to show symptoms of wear or failure and to diagnose the nature of the problem. With this information in hand, it is much easier to make preventive repairs before it is too late. Moreover, since these repairs are preventative, they can be done conveniently. Note that breakdowns can be costly and cause delays on the production line. Therefore, the data of these machines is essential to avoid certain surprises and to be able to do preventive maintenance adapted to the situation.

Mine de Malartic Smartrek

A connected solution

Each pump will be equipped with state-of-the-art sensors to retrieve accurate and relevant data and prevent failures. These sensors transfer data to a wireline tag (ALIX) to which Smartrek Technologies’ PORTIA RF module is added, which will communicate the data to Smartrek’s MODBUS Gateway. The data is then transferred to the cloud via an LTE modem.

Following the connection to the cloud and, more precisely, the transfer of data to the cloud, OPTIS teams will analyze the data, with the help of artificial intelligence, to determine the causes of equipment failures. This analysis will result in an assessment of the condition of the pumps and then the appropriate actions to take.

The data analysis and evaluation reduce outages and service interruptions, which can be costly for the mining industry.

Let’s better understand the project with an explanatory map:

map mine malartic Smartrek technologies

BLUE : The blue dot is Smartrek’s GATEWAY MODBUS which collects all the data and then sends it to the cloud.

RED : These are the 9 Smartrek repeaters that will connect to each other, allowing data transfer. They are placed in strategic locations to avoid potential problems related to data transfer.

ORANGE : These are the pumping stations, from which it is possible to collect information.

GREEN : These are future repeaters that will be added to expand the network in Phase II of the project.

With its SpiderMesh innovation, Smartrek makes pump connectivity possible and powerful at no additional cost.

Smartrek is all about connectivity

Smartrek has a special place in this project because of its ability to bring connectivity to the most remote and complex environments, such as mines. With its SpiderMesh innovation, a corporate mesh protocol integrated into its PORTIA RF radio module, it is now possible to connect an unlimited number of objects while maintaining low power consumption and no packet collisions.

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A joint project

Smartrek is working with a number of companies to create an innovation that will revolutionize mine pumping systems and lower costs.

Smartrek technologies

Smartrek Technologies: Smartrek and its SpiderMesh technology enable unlimited range data communication while consuming very little power. Smartrek’s solutions are based on sensors and a highly efficient platform to remotely monitor the activities of devices of any size and location while allowing you to create your own network.

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Technosub designs, manufactures, and distributes innovative and durable custom pumping and water management solutions for the industrial and mining sectors. The company brings together the knowledge and resources essential to manufacture industrial pumps, parts, and complete pumping assemblies.

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Lynkz is a company that offers IIoT/4.0 sensor design services for the mining industry and aims to develop industrial wireless monitoring systems. Consequently, Lynkz intervenes when the solutions on the market are not adapted or do not exist. Therefore, their sensors are adapted to each problem, allowing their customers to save time and cost.

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BGI develops innovative technological solutions that support their clients in energy optimization mandates for industrial processes and buildings. As a result, this organization improves the performance of buildings and operations by developing a data acquisition and analysis platform to equip analysts and maintenance teams.

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MISA is an organization working in the Quebec mining sector. This organization works in collaboration with all the players in the Quebec mineral sector, including mining companies, mining products, services companies, research centers, and various ministries and governments.

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Optis empowers innovators working towards a cleaner, more sustainable future. Provide R&D capability and technical resources on-demand. Specialized in turbomachinery and aerospace systems, Optis supports modeling & simulation efforts, experimental validations, and certification with authorities.

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Towards a more connected future

It is with great enthusiasm and ambition that Smartrek and these companies participated in this project. This project fits perfectly with Smartrek’s mission and values, which are to respond to the promise of the IoT to make the future more connected, even in the most complex environments.