Tait Partners Keeping the Mining Industry Connected

The Australian Mining Review recently caught up with Tait Partners Direct Communications in Western Australia, to gain their expert knowledge on the latest trends in communications that can support the safety of work personnel in the mining sector. They learned how Tait base stations and remote fault diagnostics were making life easy.

This is an extract from an article first published by The Australian Mining Revue.

Mobile phones dominate communications on a personal basis these days, but it is radios that are the vital link on Australia’s mine sites. Radio was first invented way back in the late 1800’s, but they are still a critical part of global communications and nowhere more so than on remote Australian mine sites. Radios support the every-day running of mines 24/7 in not only providing personal communications, but also playing a vital role in transferring data and helping to keep everyone safe.

Worker Safety

Radios are so critical that one malfunctioning radio can shut down mining operations instantly – potentially costing a mining company hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. Ensuring those sorts of incidents don’t occur is a big part of Direct Communications’ business. Direct Communications specializes in building wireless communications systems; the company has been supporting the resources sector in Australia for almost three decades as a supplier of world-class radio equipment, radio systems, safety systems and 24/7 support services.

According to the Direct Communications team, the mining sector has a major focus on flexible voice and data communications these days. Those types of systems can fit multiple purposes such as transferring operational data from water pumps, bores, and any other SCADA applications through the two-way radio network. This provides a great cost benefit with added layers of redundancy for control systems monitoring.

Direct Communications’ equipment also plays a vital role in the safe operations of mining projects. For example, at the most basic level, if something goes wrong on site, pressing the orange button on a radio can trigger an emergency status through the radio network. These can be customized and configured to integrate and expand an existing emergency response plan on site.

Some of the key services Direct Communications provide for the mining industry are designed predominantly for critical voice communication, weather, emergency, and blast control alerts.

Custom Solutions

Direct Communications can design and supply a range of its own products which can be integrated into existing or new two-way radio networks while simultaneously connecting to online weather alert services, which allows workers on site to have the latest weather data on hand instantly. The Direct Communications team says that safety is a major priority for them and their customers.

“Safety is a big part of how we operate, and the equipment and systems we provide need to be safety focused. It’s an important thing for all companies, everyone wants to come home from work safely.”

“So, obviously, we don’t take any shortcuts with what we supply and a lot of what we do directly interfaces with safety in terms of emergency response, and we are here to support our customers on a 24/7 call out basis if they need it.”

Direct Communications’ system design and integration capabilities have made it particularly popular with the ever developing mining sector. The company can not only design a completely new system and supply the necessary equipment, but it can also develop new technology to integrate with an existing system. They also provide maintenance and installation services while undertaking a range of conditioning maintenance service contracts.

“We supply a wide range of equipment and services to the mining sector. Depending on our customer’s needs, we integrate those as we see fit. Someone may want something that doesn’t exist, so we create and build something by bringing together equipment that is available for integration or custom development to meet that need.”

“The systems are all configurable and we are very flexible in meeting a client’s needs. The days of telling a customer what a system’s limitations are is pretty much long gone,” the Direct Communications team says.

Remote System Management and Monitoring

The communications industry is ever evolving, and we asked the Direct Communications team what they see as being one of the major new developments. They unanimously named remote system management as a step-change in radio communications technology. While it is not a new development, the advances that have been made in the digital two-way radio industry in recent years have been game changers for critical communications systems management in the mining sector. These include:

  • Access level control features
  • Remote fault diagnostics – witness network performance in real time
  • Detailed alarm monitoring and management
  • Auditing Capabilities such as call records, system alarms, event logs
  • Fleet management, including “Over the Air Programming” of terminals
  • Channel management – create, modify, and delete talk groups
  • Software and Firmware upgrades – keep your networks up to date with the latest security and expanded network features
  • Control and configuration of multiple layers of redundancy

The ability to have a multi-site digital two-way radio network remotely managed and reconfigured to suit your needs is proving invaluable in critical communications reliability, directly resulting in a safer and more efficient mining operation.

For example, Direct Communications can monitor network performance, including radio network coverage, and relay that critical information to a customer. As their operational areas grow, companies can be guaranteed a cost effective, two-way radio coverage expansion – which will suit their operational needs – can be made based on this data.

A rack of Tait Base Stations

Direct Communications is Western Australia’s leading Tait dealer and has landed several tenders to supply radios to government departments, and the private and mining sectors. The company has years of experience dealing with clients who require radio systems which are supplied in a safe and timely manner, and more importantly work as advertised.

Direct Communications’ close relationship with all radio manufacturers allows the company to offer service, sales, and technical support to exceptional industry standards. This enables it to provide repairs, solutions, and systems efficiently to its customers, meaning less downtime, and more effective radio systems to get the job done.

The world of radio communications is dynamic and always changing, so its reassuring to know that companies like Direct Communications have their finger on the pulse to find the right answer for their clients.

Article Courtesy of Australian Mining Review

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