On-demand ventilation solutions continue to find favor, says Howden

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Ventilation solutions provider, Howden, says it continues to see strong demand for ventilation-on-demand (VoD) solutions from the mining industry, on continued cost control measures, safety requirements improved and the evolving need to map underground emissions.

The company recently added Cooling on Demand (CoD) functionality to its Ventsim CONTROL software, which reflects this market demand.

Ventsim CONTROL uses smart software connected to Howden or third-party hardware devices to remotely monitor, control and automate airflow heating and cooling to provide safer, more productive and lower cost ventilation for mines , says the company. The Ventsim CONTROL solution also offers 3D modeling capability within the software, which helps users better predict and control airflows based on what is highlighted in the simulation.

In the case of CoD, this means users can monitor temperatures at deeper levels and push out cooled air more efficiently.

When releasing the solution last year, Howden said the CoD update aligns with industry trends toward deeper mines requiring chilled air to achieve health and safety standards. higher safety standards for workers.

“Currently, many mines install a cooling plant at surface level and cool the air wherever it is going or where it is needed because there are no smart controls to identify the localized need, which is often at deeper levels,” Howden said. “These new controls ensure fresh air goes where it’s needed, reducing operating and energy costs.”

The company is currently aligning a trial of this new functionality with an existing Ventsim CONTROL customer.

Howden has also recently won several Ventsim CONTROL contracts around the world, including South America, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Jose Pinedo, Ventsim’s sales manager, said most of these contracts reflect the mining industry’s continued focus on cost control, as well as these “net zero” commitments.

“All the different sites had a recovery target in mind, but some sites also wanted to know what implementing the system would do to their CO2 emissions,” he said. I AM.

In Ventsim CONTROL there is a built-in energy reporting tool to show customers their current energy consumption. Following customer requests and internal development work, Howden was able to adapt it to generate a continuous indicator of CO2 emissions that customers can monitor.

“The reduction in energy is directly correlated to a reduction in tons of CO2 emissions,” Pinedo said of the reporting tool. “This means that in addition to what the system will deliver in terms of operational and running costs, it can also tell customers how it will help them achieve their environmental goals.”

Leo Botha, Managing Director of Ventsim, said Ventsim CONTROL’s ability to reduce energy consumption associated with ventilation and the direct correlation between these savings and CO2 emission reductions enables Howden to help miners achieve their environmental goals.

“Initially when you chat and talk to mines about energy savings, you also talk directly about CO2 emission reductions and how that can be used in ESG reporting,” he said. .

This increased visibility of carbon emissions, along with expectations of tougher regulations in major mining jurisdictions, should encourage more customers to use VoD solutions, according to Pinedo.

“For example, with Australia adopting stricter diesel particulate emissions, the industry is faced with two options in terms of complying with the legislation: either you upgrade your fleet to use more efficient and ‘cleaner’ diesel engines. (US Tier 4 F/ EU Stage V) or electrical equipment, or you increase your ventilation rate to meet new emissions requirements,” he said.

Even if a mine has chosen option A — modernizing its fleet — ventilation flow requirements may still need to increase, Pinedo explained.

“Without a VoD system, you need to have a ventilation system configured to the air required for x number of vehicles and personnel, that they are running all the time,” he said.

A VoD system, however, allows mines to push air only where it is needed based on the vehicles, personnel and infrastructure in place and operating at the given time.

With more mixed fleets of mobile mining equipment expected in the future, consisting of battery electric, hybrid and diesel equipment, the benefits of a VoD system able to leverage existing infrastructure for telematics and positioning will be further highlighted, allowing mines to vent depending on what type of motor/battery the machine is powered on and if there is an operator in the cab.

“What we’re offering through Ventsim CONTROL is to take all of these existing tools and optimize everything to comply with legislation and the evolution of ‘net zero’ mining,” Pinedo said.

Agnico Eagle’s Fosterville mine seeks to do just that in what Howden says is an Australian mining first.

The operation, having already installed Ventsim CONTROL Level 3 (flow planning and control), is progressing towards an installation that will see the mine monitoring system integrated with Ventsim CONTROL Level 4. This will provide real-time feedback on the locations of vehicles in Ventsim CONTROL to automatically adjust ventilation based on demand.

Ventsim CONTROL software also continues to be valued by customers for its security capabilities.

“One of the features we have in Ventsim CONTROL is related to fire simulation,” Pinedo said. “We also have this in our Ventsim DESIGN software with scenario-based simulations, but installing it on Ventsim CONTROL connects to your entire underground communications infrastructure to take an instant snapshot of a fire’s status.

“From a planning perspective, this allows operations to have a much faster response time based on an accurate, real-time picture of what is happening underground. This provides another tool to enable them to make the right decisions when and if needed. »

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