Advances in digital capabilities have continued to revolutionize data and communications at a wide variety of companies operating in multiple industrial sectors.
Fibre optic innovations have helped transform the systems such organizations use to track and share data vital to the safe and efficient management of their operations. That said, there are currently many large industrial companies that are just now putting strategies and infrastructure in place to bring their data and communication systems into the 21st century.
“What we have discovered over the past couple years is that there is a real gap not only in Sudbury but also in northeastern Ontario for data and communication services, especially in the pulp and paper and mining industries,” said Steve Pankow, director of the electrical department operating within Lopes Limited, a company headquartered out Coniston in the city of Greater Sudbury. “We’re trying to fill that gap.”
Lopes Limited is a multi-faceted fabrication and construction services company serving mining, forestry, energy, chemical, and industrial companies across Northern Ontario. After identifying the local gap in available data infrastructure service expertise, the company recently set out its own strategy to become a leading data and communication services provider.
“What we’ve done is secured the right equipment and recruited some of the very best people, such as Mr. Allan Lavigne, our lead network cabling specialist who is well known in the industry, to be able to offer these services,” said Pankow.
“We then went through extensive training and continued to augment that training until we were confident our team was ready. Now we’ve added a service that is turnkey for our primary market, which is the base metals and pulp and paper mills.”
Pankow said integrating fibre and data installations into mining and mill operations is a much more intricate process than in other commercial and industrial sectors. Mining has always presented a unique challenge given the need to move data from surface to underground, but the technology is now there to facilitate that exchange according to Pankow.
“When I started in this industry 15 years ago, all we were concerned with was installing infrastructure for radio and power. The last thing you ever thought of was having your cellphone, laptop, or tablet underground. Now we have requirements for data and communication services underground. Mines have been moving in this direction for some time now. As the mining industry matures and finds more efficient ways to operate, they need this kind of infrastructure. With automation there’s a lot of data moving from surface to underground and underground to surface.”
Pankow said integrating such technology not only makes mines safer but also improves the flow of critical data including:
- feedback on ventilation systems,
- updates on air quality,
- identifying seismic events,
- monitoring the movement of equipment,
- automating mining equipment
- and tracking workers health and location within the mine.
The ultimate goal is to get more people out of harms way and to bring mines closer to full automation.
Pankow said that the new digital communication technologies are fully scalable, so once in place it will be much easier for companies to upgrade when they go further and deeper underground. When companies are ready to expand or upgrade, Lopes Limited wants to be the first name people think of for the installation and maintenance of such data and communication applications.
For more details, visit Lopes Limited online here.