Ventilation on Demand - The Impact of Sensors, Installation, Control Strategies, Commissioning and Advanced Controls Performance
The cost to supply ventilation may exceed 40% of the total mine energy cost for underground mines and is often higher for deeper mines. The goal of Ventilation-on-Demand (VOD) is to ensure that the required quantity and quality of air is supplied to underground mining crews and diesel equipment at the least energy expenditure (minimum cost). A VOD system may include control of surface fans (Supply & Exhaust), underground booster fans, auxiliary fans and automated regulators/dampers to regulate the flow of air with more control elements providing more value. Strategically located Air monitoring stations measure air quantity and quality and provide feed-back enabling control. The modular design involving controls, intelligent instrument and intelligent motor control centres coupled with a communication network allows the quick installation, commissioning and expansion of the system as the mine develops. The result is a very robust, flexible system while reducing maintenance costs and spare parts. This paper discusses the impact of sensors, installation and commissioning on advanced controls and provides solutions for in-field applications.