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Westmoreland Coal keeping its mine equipment connected

Published by
World Coal,

Zebra Technologies Corp. and KNS Communications Consultants reveal the Zebra wireless local area network (WLAN) AP 7161 access point will be used by Westmoreland Coal Co.

Westmoreland wanted to improve the efficiency and profitability of the Wyoming Kemmerer mine – the oldest opencast mine in the US. The company wanted to do this through enabling remote monitoring and maintenance, connecting the equipment and fleet management system and extending internet access to all onsite workers and contractors.

Imran Akbar, Vice President, Enterprise Networking Communications, Zebra Technologies, commented: ?"We are delighted to be working with KNS Communications Consultants to provide Westmoreland with increased visibility into their operations at the Kemmerer mine. Our WLAN infrastructure has improved the mine's operational efficiency, productivity and profitability, and it has given their mobile workers increased connectivity needed to excel in a tough environment."

The Kemmerer mine has more than 70 pieces of mining equipment across 13 400 acres that all needed to be reliably and constantly connected to the mine's WLAN network.

?Don Rily, Kemmerer IT Director, Westmoreland Coal Co., stated: ?"We take pride in deploying state-of-the-art technologies to maximise equipment utilisation, production, operational efficiencies and worker safety. We chose KNS Communications Consultants and Zebra for their experience and the reliability and superior bandwidth of the WLAN solution. It was the best option available for a rugged environment and we are extremely pleased with the performance and cost savings offered by this solution."

Beneficial features of the Zebra wireless local area network (WLAN) AP 7161 access point include:

  • Improved data collection – the AP 7161 can be installed on vehicles, such as shovels and backhoes that can pull information from the equipment and improve day-to-day management.
  • Dramatic reduction in shovel repair costs – engineers can perform most repairs remotely in less than an hour.
  • Substantial increase in equipment uptime – the real-time data collected from the equipment has allowed maintenance engineers to perform timely programming upkeep to optimise operations and prevent equipment breakdown.
  • Added mine production – streamlined processes and increased equipment availability translate into reduced idle time and movement of more loads per shift.
  • Increased equipment lifecycle – timely maintenance and the ability to monitor and manage how operators treat equipment helps extend the life expectancy of the equipment.
  • Improved wireless network utilisation – network administrators can monitor all users and traffic on the wireless network to prevent unauthorised use and pinpoint which access point and mobile device are involved.

Sue Thomas, President at KNS Communications Consultants, said: ?"The reliability, ease of deployment and power of the AP7161 is why this solution was the perfect fit at Kemmerer. Additionally, the predictability and support we get from Zebra is why we use it in many of our worldwide deployments."

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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