Dr Douglas Carter, creator of the Nautitech Spitfire BPLM, talks about the latest leap in BPLM R&D.

So Douglas, what’s the big news? 
The Spitfire BPLM has proven to be a reliable product for shearers in underground coal mines around Australia and abroad. We have been working to transfer that success over to continuous miners and now have data from trials to demonstrate it. A key challenge is that continuous miners typically send the data on the power conductors instead of the pilot cores (like shearers). Data is coupled onto the cable using a new high voltage capacitive coupler.What’s the net benefit that underground coal miners should expect?
It is well known that continuous miners can log valuable operational data. However, it hasn’t always been easy to get that data out of the machine and up to the surface where it can be analysed for fault logging, productivity, and maybe one day even for remote control. When a continuous miner stops or is not running optimally this can translate into a tremendous opportunity cost that is not easy to detect without reliable data.  The Spitfire has now been tested underground on continuous miners here and in the USA. The results are very good. We are achieving enough data throughput for reliable real time operational monitoring with enough spare bandwidth to also transfer video data for continuous miners that have HD or thermal cameras fitted.

What cable lengths have been tested and performance level achieved?
With typical maximum cable lengths of 400 m our customers are getting TCP data rates around 20 Mbps. The data rate is higher for shorter lengths.

Douglas, thank you for the update and congratulations on achieving this important milestone.

Video of a continuous miner in action
To learn more about the BPLM Spitfire contact Nautitech on 02 9899 6857.