Through the dust
Thermal cameras help command center dispatchers see through the dust created by the crushers night and day. If they see that the conveyor belts are too heavily loaded or that the wheels driving the belts are getting too hot, they can intercede to make sure the system doesn’t break down. NIC installed six of FLIR’s PTZ-50 MS cameras for this very purpose.
“This mine is a 24/7 operation,” explained Chacon. “Command center dispatchers need to be able to track and monitor their assets night and day – thermal cameras help them do just that.”
Since thermal imaging cameras make pictures from heat, not light, they can not only track shovels and haul trucks operating in the deepest parts of the mine but can do it with cameras placed along the mine’s perimeter. Four FLIR PTZ-35 x 140 MS cameras are positioned as perimeter cameras. Unlike many thermal cameras posted along a perimeter, these cameras do not face outward for security, they point inward towards the mine. This vantage point ensures that at least a few of the cameras will have an unobstructed view of anywhere mining operations are going on.
The future of thermal imaging in mining applications
Thermal cameras are proven commodities in a number of applications, including residential security, industrial security and homeland defense. Today, ingenious mining operations are appreciating the ability to see clearly through total darkness, as well as through dust, smoke and light fog. Forward-thinking security integrators like NIC are seizing the opportunity and pairing their customer’s needs with their technological savvy.
David Lee is a writer and editor who has worked with thermal imaging cameras for over some 10 years. He lives in Portland, Ore..