Raspadskaya is Russia's largest coking coal producer, and quality control is critical to its business. It was looking for a solution to ensure that its coal grades do not mix when unloaded by its trucks at warehouses. Mixing grades of coal due to human error can spoil the final product.

Coke is an essential fuel and reactant in the blast furnace used in the production of steel. It is produced by heating coal to remove impurities and create a hard, porous material. The company's processing plant cleans the coal extracted from the mine to obtain a concentrate, which is coal, free of impurities and rocks. The raw coal is transported via dump trucks from different manufacturers and is then unloaded into storage bays. If a driver makes a mistake and dumps coal of a particular grade on the wrong pile, the concentrate's quality and yield will fall. This can have a significant impact on the operation's profitability.



The Orange Business Services IoT solution effectively and efficiently automates the control of the coal unloading zone, removing the risk of human error. The digitalization of these types of processes guarantees the highest possible quality of coal products and reduces costs by reducing manpower requirements.

 

Alexey Chervyakov, Director for Labor Protection, Industrial Safety and Ecology, Raspadskaya

IoT provides the answer

Raspadskaya was keen to explore a technology solution that would address its quality control issue. It approached Orange Business Services to develop a bespoke IoT solution for its coal preparation factory in Russia. It needed a system that could minimize the risk of mixing different qualities of coal and tainting supplies.

Orange developed a solution that utilizes telemetry sensors at the open-air coal warehouse using a real-time tracking system to pinpoint the trucks' locations. Transport tags are installed on the trucks transporting coal from the mines to the warehouse. They read data from the truck and warn drivers if they are unloading coal in the wrong grade bay by using Wi-Fi hotspots. The system provides a tracking accuracy of around one meter.

Base stations, which are the hub of the Wi-Fi network, along with the tags and transmitters, are all packed in a unique thermal casing, so that the equipment can operate in extremely low temperatures at the warehouse.

Improvement in operational efficiency

The bespoke IoT solution has already reduced Raspadskaya's yield loss through grade mixing, increasing margins. The company is now looking to expand its IoT initiative to include collision prevention and enhanced health and safety for workers.