Inpixon takes location tech to the mines
Nanotron acquisition broadens mine safety and efficiency Metal Tech News – Nov. 4, 2020
Last updated 11/4/2020 at 3:11pm
Internet of things-enabled hardhats that turn on ventilation in a section of an underground mine before workers approach, alert a miner not to enter a hazardous exclusion zone, or lets an underground truck driver know there is an unexpected person or piece of equipment along his path, can make underground mines safer and more efficient.
Inpixon, which already offers location awareness solutions that make indoor spaces smarter and safer, is now positioned to provide this type of life- and money-saving location awareness technology to the mining sector.
This move into mining, construction, manufacturing, and other industrial sectors stems from Inpixon's recent acquisition of Nanotron Technologies, a Germany-based provider of innovative internet of things solutions for real-time location systems.
"For Inpixon, the Nanotron acquisition expands the company's product and intellectual property portfolio, and broadens its customer base, geographic presence and partner relationships," Inpixon CEO Nadir Ali told Metal Tech News. "For the mining industry, the acquisition enables Inpixon to offer increased location precision and decreased latency to locate assets and people in real-time, and to introduce additional products and solutions that increase mining operations' safety, and efficiency."
Nanotron already offers mine safety and productivity solutions that provide real-time visibility of vehicles and mining personnel.
Here are examples of Inpixon-Nanotron technologies available to mine operators:
• Worker locator. Transceiver chips embedded into smart helmets able to locate workers in need of assistance, as well as for overall situational awareness and to support evacuation scenarios.
• Proximity detection system. Warning system to alert miners to slow down, stop, or, if okay, to continue driving or walking in proximity to other vehicles, shovels or blast areas.
• Collision avoidance system. Sometimes GPS used to track mining vehicles in large open-pit mines can be inconsistent, which can force them to stop all autonomous vehicles when any one vehicle's GPS position is lost. This problem can be addressed using Inpixon-Nanotron chirp spread spectrum technology, which uses a sonar-like system to provide reliable location of equipment in challenging environments such as open-pit mines.
• Ventilation on demand. Mining ventilation is a significant cost contributor for underground mines. Knowing the positions of miners and machinery allows for ventilation on demand, a smart way to keep mines safe and less resource intensive.
• Exclusion zones. Location technology can help prevent people from entering dangerous areas, where, for instance, gases, water or structural instability makes it too risky to enter.
Inpixon plans to offer even more solutions to the mining sector as it integrates Nanotron technologies with its own Indoor Intelligence platform, which specializes in capturing, interpreting and giving context to indoor data so it can be translated into actionable intelligence.
"Inpixon intends to continue to lead in delivering innovative location intelligence products and solutions for the mining industry," said Ali. "Offering mixed-technology deployments – for example, UWB (ultra-wideband) and Chirp (CSS 2.4 GHz) – can offer the benefit of higher levels of underground coverage, improved location accuracy, and more redundancy. Inpixon's suite of mapping, security and analytics solutions could be applied to mining to provide multi-dimensional visualization of spatial data using the Inpixon platform."