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By Mal Jones, 3D-P. AsiaPac Sales Manager
Organizations facing the daunting task of selecting the best proximity awareness or collision avoidance product fit to meet their requirements may find that there is no silver bullet solution from any one vendor, indeed, they may find that there may be something from Vendor A that suites one scenario of the operation while the product or sensors from Vendor B provide a better fit while operating the same machine in a different scenario or part of the mine.
This is similar to the way a mining operation may find a particular vendor’s dispatch solution provides a better fit for the operation while the machine health application from another vendor provides a more appropriate reporting and post processing result for your maintenance department. The same holds true for high precision applications, tire pressure monitoring, fatigue management and so on. The reality is there is no single vendor that has the silver bullet suite of applications that meets all your needs.
Miners typically take one of two roads. They either take a single vendor’s products because they really like one aspect of their suite of applications, and will just have to make do with the rest or, they select best of breed applications from various vendors for each specific part of your mining operation.
There are pro’s and con’s either way. However there is another technical issue that is looming here. I have just been talking about multiple and disparate applications that all need to coexist on the same machine and most, if not all, will need to transmit data across a wireless network. Some may even need to exchange and share data between applications. Historically, this meant a separate wireless network for each application. That’s a lot of resources and maintenance dollars in infrastructure and people.
The solution: You need something that can take all your applications, integrate them into one box on board your machine in such a way that data can be exchanged between the applications as needed and also manage and carry them across a single wireless network. How do you do that and ensure the integrity of every application?
Enter 3D-P and the Intelligent EndPoint! Wow you say, what is that red box with the doohickies on it and ribbed for my pleasure to boot? It sure does look sexy, what does it do? The 3D-P Intelligent EndPoint is exactly what the name suggests. “Intelligence at the EndPoint” It is platform that integrates all your on board applications and interfaces through one box and manages the way each of those applications talk between each other and across one common wireless network.
The concept is not so new in the Telco industry handling a mix of corporate clients with multiple applications on a variety of different communications standards. The core difference is that 3D-P has done it with mining applications in mind and built hardware you can shoot out of a cannon and it will survive.
Construction wise, the box comprises of four distinct modules:
• A computing or core processing unit that is completely open source which enables anyone to create or customize applications to meet their needs
• Firmware module that hosts the tools developed by 3D-P that provide the mining specific application and network management capability. It also allows the hosting of 3rd party applications such as a proximity awareness application or a machine health application or any other widget you care to think of
• I/O (input output) module. A choice of pretty much any combination of interfaces includingSerial, Ethernet, CANBus, digital I/O
• Radio module can be one or more radios of your choice whether it is standards-based 802.11 b/g/n, proprietary such as MotoMesh or some sort of 3G, 4G/LTE/WiMax or a combination based on your design requirements.
Take your pick. Ultimately, what you have is a completely open, standards-based product that is an upgradable, future-proof solution that works with any protocol, any application on any interface over any network. Built to last the lifetime of your machine and designed to give you the choice of best-of-breed applications to maximize your ROI and lower the total cost of ownership.