Connectivity provides the baseline for IIoT applications. The best way to establish such is defined by the use case. In surface operations, GSM transmission is the most likely scenario. In case the network does not cover the whole operation, Machine to Machine (M2M) communication can provide for sourcing data from areas, where no network access can be established, but machines are accessed by gathering vehicles on a regular basis. In underground operations it is slightly more complex to provide connectivity. The most likely scenario is to establish WiFi Access Points (Hot Spots) in regular whereabouts of the machines. Dumping sites or maintenance areas could be such regular whereabouts. However, the connectivity does not necessarily need to be permanent. Cyclically transmitted data which is analysed in batches provides valuable insights which can be utilized in various scenarios, just as much as real time data. This comes with the limitation of not being able to deploy dispatch systems or real time warnings and alerts.
Data gathering itself is provided by the use of a so-called industrial computer (IPC). Such devices enable a reliable physical data interface to the vehicle. The innovative hardware solutions, developed, manufactured and optimised for mining environments by the indurad GmbH, are enabling the smartHUB consortium to source unbiased and consistent machine data. These high-end devices, for example the iRPUC (Radar Processing Unit Compact) are installed on-board the to be integrated assets and connected to their internal 24-V power supply. These high-end devices have been logging consistent high definition data with a standard sample rates of 10Hz from machines in production for over a year, without mentionable black-outs or failures. In addition to several CAN-Bus compatible connectors, an important component of the hardware unit is an industrial grade Solid State Drive (SSD), for intermediate storage of the acquired machine data. The indurad IPC devices can be equipped with various data transfer measures, such as WiFi, Bluetooth or GSM modules. In order to be able to replicate absolute positioning Radar Transponder Technology (iRTT) is utilized, if high precision GPS is not available or insufficient. In order to assure data integrity data servers can be set up in the client’s intranet. With this, the applying party remains in charge of all sourced data and data consistency is ensured by utilizing this server as a buffer, prior to transmitting the data to the analytical cloud. For security reasons, the data pipeline usually consists of two separate VPN connections, one within the Intranet of the mining company (machine to data server) and an additional VPN to transfer the data from the client’s intranet to the external analysis platform (data server to online platform).