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  • Does Smart-VOD work with Primary fans?
    Smart-VOD can work with primary fans in a few ways: Controlling the speed of the primary fan(s) to ensure total fresh air into the mine while slowing the primary fan when there are fewer vehicles underground Speeding up primary fan(s) to expedite clearance of blast gases
  • How do we know it's performing?
    Each Smart-VOD site has a dashboard made available to company staff. The dashboard can include the following: ​​ The current speed of the fan and current savings; Vehicles currently in the ventilation zone and when they entered the zone Savings per shift; Savings for the prior 30 days; Savings for the financial year to date;
  • I have two-speed fan motors. What relevance does Smart-VOD have to me?
    Smart-VOD can work with any fan configuration using a VSD or a Smart-Starter. Two-speed fans work well with a VSD or a Smart-Starter.
  • What does Smart-VOD do to keep the system operating?
    Smart-VOD maintains a watch over all units in use, using some AI tools to detect anomalies, including: Antenna misalignment, which can be caused if an antenna is impacted by a mine vehicle Missing tags, which can occur if a tag is scraped off a mine vehicle An unexpected rise in temperature or humidity inside the sealed Smart-VOD Zone Unit A decrease in received signal strength; as may occur with damage to the antenna cable, corrosion on the connectors, or a buildup on the front of the antenna [such as shotcrete overspray]
  • Can we buy it?
    Smart-VOD offers ventilation on demand as a service. We allow our clients to focus on development and extraction while we focus on energy and cost savings.
  • I have been told VSDs are unreliable?
    Smart-VOD has been qualified with the Magnetek GP1000 M-Force 1,000V VVVF drive. Dozens of those VSDs have been providing reliable service underground for a few years now. While VSD technology is not new, getting 110 kw and 220 kw 1,000V drives small enough and tough enough for reliable underground deployment has taken a while. Smart-VOD has partnered with SMEC Power & Technology to provide and install VSDs. SMEC Power and Technology have been involved since the beginning and have a competent field workforce and a manufacturing capability that compliments Smart-VOD’s capabilities.
  • What savings does Smart-VOD deliver?
    Actual savings vary each shift and are also affected by factors including: ​​ The mix of activities in the ventilation zone through the shift; cost of power; how hot the working area is; in hot areas you may want to run the fan faster than indicated by diesel exhaust alone for the comfort of miners not in airconditioned cabs; if using a VSD or a Smart-Starter; Single-stage or twin-stage fan; Generally, Smart-VOD delivers more than 50% energy savings.
  • How can a Smart-VOD be tuned for even greater savings?
    With monthly ventilation survey data from each ventilation zone, Smart-VOD can be tuned for even greater savings, allowing for the vent bag length and condition, which change over time.
  • We plan to convert to electric vehicles; what's the relevance of VOD to us?
    Conversion to electric-powered vehicles is likely to occur gradually, rather than all at once, with loaders and haulage trucks some of the more complex to migrate. Even once migration to electric vehicles is complete, mines require primary and secondary ventilation to clear blast gases. Smart-VOD sets the air required per vehicle, so the system automatically adjusts to vehicles requiring less air. A mine with all-electric vehicles can expect to save even more, as the fans will likely run at full speed only for blast gas clearance and during shotcreting.
  • Can we make our own?
    If your organisation has some smart people with time on their hands, and you’re prepared to invest a few $M, and you’re not in a hurry for savings, then sure, you could build your own. On the other hand, you might like to concentrate on mining and have us deal with energy savings: it’s all we do.
  • What happens if something goes wrong?
    System resilience and fail-soft are key tenets of the system design:​ ​​ Multiple tags are attached to each vehicle to ensure each vehicle is detected even if a tag is missing from a vehicle; If the Smart-VOD Zone Unit loses network connectivity, it continues to operate, storing its status updates until network connectivity is restored; If the cable between the Smart-VOD Zone Unit and the VSD is damaged, the VSD speeds up to full speed to ensure adequate air for mining operations; Considerable system margin is designed into the system; so it can continue to operate reliably even with antennas misaligned, with corrosion of antenna connectors, or a buildup on the front of the antennas [such as shotcrete overspray]
  • What is a Smart-Starter?
    A Smart-Starter is a DOL starter [single or dual motor] that works with a Smart-VOD Zone unit to control: a single fan on or off; dual motor fans: both off, one on, or both on; a dual-speed fan motor: off, slow or fast Savings with a Smart-Starter won’t be as high as with a VSD, but the capex is much lower, so the buy-back period is reduced. Smart-Starters' applicability overlaps somewhat with VSDs, and it's common for mines to use Smart-VOD with both VSD and Smart-Starter in different mine areas at different development phases. The Smart-Starter is a joint development in conjunction with SMEC Power & Technology. Smart-VOD has also partnered with SMEC Power & Technology for installation and field support.
  • How does it work?
    RFID tags [Radio Frequency Identification] are attached to each underground vehicle. Antennas near the entrance to the ventilation zone detect the vehicle as it passes, and the Smart-VOD Zone Unit updates the vehicle's location. Each second, the Zone Unit calculates the air required based on the vehicles in the ventilation zone and adjusts the fan speed.
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