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Adaptable network for enabling accuracy in heavy construction operations

Johannesburg, 29 Jan 2021
Read time 5min 10sec

As the heavy construction industry has evolved over the last decade to become much more hi-tech, it has created the challenge of these advanced applications all requiring reliable network connectivity to run. 

“Unfortunately, traditional serial radios, WiFi and even LTE all fall short in either connectivity, capacity or coverage to effectively support the growing demands of the construction industry. As an example, highway projects, railroads, pipelines and other expansive infrastructure projects often require multiple base stations for high-precision earthmoving. If an organisation opts for a serial network, they’re limited to a base radio and a single repeater – which severely limits the range in which they can receive corrections. If they opt for WiFi, the machines can only be connected to a single access point at a time, which means equipment will lose connection as it roams across a site. This isn’t a workable solution from a connectivity standpoint. LTE has challenges as well,” says Teresa Huysamen, Business Unit Manager for Rajant solutions at Duxbury Networking.

Rajant Kinetic Mesh is a private wireless solution that gives heavy construction job sites a better network alternative: one that is easily deployable and rapidly scalable to expand base station range in any direction, while also providing high data throughput and continuous connectivity for numerous efficiency-transforming site applications. Another benefit is that the organisation owns the network – so they do not have to share capacity or pay for machine data.

There are a number of examples of how Rajant goes to work to improve worker communications, reduce survey time, minimise machine wear and tear, improve productivity and increase job site security.

Expand coverage for base station corrections

Dozers, road graders and heavy equipment equipped for GPS guidance depend on exacting 3D survey models to maintain tight tolerances. Unfortunately, since each base station operates in its own survey grid, individual 3D models must be stitched together and reconciled. Reconciliation errors expose companies to profit loss and liability if the finished product does not meet contract specifications.

By deploying Rajant BreadCrumbs with a base station and on high-precision equipped machines, construction sites can easily extend the range of transmitting GPS corrections. By adding occasional network infrastructure nodes, the base station’s range can be extended over many miles.

Remotely monitor machine productivity

The continuous mobile connectivity provided by Rajant’s network can also be used to monitor machine productivity. This production data from each machine can be freely pulled by the back-office from equipment on site for incremental billing purposes.

Remotely load machine guidance models

Manually loading models onto machines each day is a labour- and time-intensive task. With Rajant’s mission-critical network, the designer can remotely load models onto any machine from their office, provided there is an Internet connection at the site. This allows for real-time data transfer, without work stoppage. This process is more efficient for the designer and more efficient for the operators.

Enable streaming video surveillance

Rajant’s low latency, high bandwidth network provides the capacity to easily stream real-time video from remote sections of the site to either the job site office or a corporate office (provided there is broadband connection on site) that wants to maintain oversight of job progress remotely, including:

  • Ensuring workers are complying with OSHA regulations; and
  • Heading off security breaches, equipment theft and site vandalism.

“Rajant takes a completely different and highly innovative approach to address the shortcomings of traditional wireless architectures in heavy construction environments. Its Kinetic Mesh network is engineered from the ground up for rapid ad hoc deployment, in nearly any outdoor setting with or without existing infrastructure in place, and uses the intelligence of Rajant’s InstaMesh networking protocol to dynamically self-optimise once deployed. In turn, it delivers fully mobile, rapidly scalable, high-capacity coverage to easily expand base station range and enable new data-driven applications on site,” says Huysamen.

Some of the advantages it provides include:

  • BreadCrumb nodes can be deployed on fixed or moving assets

BreadCrumb portable nodes form a Kinetic Mesh network and are ruggedised to operate reliably in even the harshest weather and job site conditions. Every node can be fixed or mobile, and can be easily deployed on infrastructure, attached to base stations, and on moving equipment and vehicles to quickly form a mobile mesh network. BreadCrumbs work peer-to-peer and can hold multiple connections over various frequencies simultaneously, creating hundreds of potential paths over which to direct traffic.

  • Multi-radio, multi-frequency redundancy creates resiliency and high capacity

Every BreadCrumb is infused with the intelligence of Rajant’s InstaMesh software, which works in real-time to orchestrate traffic over the meshed connections, selecting the fastest path(s) for delivery.

  • Full duplex communication preserves throughput over long distances

Compared to a WiFi mesh where throughput drops by 50% on every hop, a Rajant network can maintain consistent throughput over many hops. This functionality is vital when deploying a network in a remote area with little to no wired infrastructure.

  • Deploy and scale with minimal technical resources

After initial configuration, when new BreadCrumbs are turned on, they automatically begin communicating with other nodes in the area, autonomously and without outside intervention.

  • Enable WiFi to connect workers across the job site

Access Point mode can be enabled on any BreadCrumb, fixed or mobile, on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. This enables tools like rovers, smartphones, tablets and laptops to be used on-site to improve safety, worker productivity and communications.

“Applications enabled with Kinetic Mesh’s resilient, high-capacity, mission-critical coverage, include site surveying, machine guidance and control, asset tracking and optimisation, worker safety and site security,” says Huysamen. 

For more information, contact Duxbury Networking, +27 (0) 11 351 9800.

Editorial contacts
Allyson Koekhoven
Alzira Queiroz (+27) 011 351 9800
See also