Networked, Adaptive Mining and Construction
Digital transformation and development are currently one of the key challenges facing the mining sector. The Integration of new, powerful data transmission technologies is indispensable for the mining sector and the entire industry. The data transmission standard 5G enables high-performance, real-time wireless communication among the participants of a network and is a key technology in this context. Under harsh operating conditions such as in mining, however, the use of 5G has not yet been sufficiently scientifically examined.
The 5G.NAMICO: Networked Adaptive Mining and Construction project is researching the use of the 5G data transmission standard in the application areas of underground mining and the construction industry. Knowledge already gained in the area of 5G integration in industrial production will be transferred within the project to the mining and construction sector. The research project is a collaboration of the university institute MRE (Institute of Mineral Resources Engineering), IP (the Chair of Individualized Production) from the RWTH Aachen, and the Fraunhofer Institute for production technologies IPT in Aachen. The Fraunhofer IPT has already been conducting application-oriented research on the industrial use of 5G in production for several years. In particular, the interdisciplinary research consortium will address the challenge of developing a 5G communication network for the adverse and dynamic application fields of underground mining and the construction industry. Moreover, the research project will validate these created networks by implementing dedicated use cases.
At the beginning of the project, requirements for the underground 5G and the construction site 5G networks are specified. Based on the gained results, the next step deals with the technical design of the 5G networks. This interconnects the identification of the entire required infrastructure and architecture as well as the essential technologies for the realization of the 5G networks (e.g. transmitting and receiving components). This is followed by the installation and testing of the planned networks and optimization of the network parameters to implement the previously derived requirements. Validation of the functionality takes place in the last step of the project by transferring the designed and installed 5G networks to application-specific use cases in the mine and on the construction site.
The university’s Institute of Mineral Resources Engineering (MRE) will contribute to the planning and development of the 5G network with its expertise in underground engineering. The understanding of specific conditions of underground mining will be observed already in the planning phase. The focus is on the examination of the mining use cases together with the mining partners Nerospec SK, GHH Fahrzeuge, and BAT Bergbau Service. The mining use case incorporates three main aspects; the development of a real-time-based safety concept, the investigation of the bandwidth of the 5G network, and the investigation of the latency between day surface and underground.
- Examination of how a 5G network, which is used under constantly changing conditions – as is typical in mines – can be technically implemented.
- Examine how 5G signals perform in individual mine sections and especially in the last mile.
- Validation of the conceptualized 5G network in an underground mine and a reference construction site by implementing different use cases.
- WP 1: Definition of the Use-Cases and requirement specification
- WP 2: Technical design of the 5G network
- WP 3: Installation and testing of the 5G network
- WP 4: Use-Cases – 5G in the underground mine and on the construction site
- WP 5: Project management and implementation of the obtained results