Ventilation System Boosts Safety, Energy Savings

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 @ 04:07 PM gHale


An on demand controlled ventilation system for Boliden’s Kankberg gold mine in Northeast Sweden increases worker safety and boosts energy savings.

ABB’S SmartVentilation ventilation on demand solution provides fresh air for the 500 meter deep underground mine, which extracts gold, tellurium and other minerals for commercial electronics and industrial uses.

In addition to providing fresh air, SmartVentilation helps ventilation equipment operate more efficiently. Since commission it earlier this year at Kankberg, Ventilation on Demand saved 54 percent of ventilation energy, and 21 percent of air heating energy, compared to operating without this technology.

The project extended the mine’s existing 800xA control system by adding SmartVentilation to provide all work areas with plentiful fresh air to ensure worker safety and comfort. It uses a library of functions customized for this Boliden site, including heating of the fresh air brought into the mine.

In the mining environment, where conditions can change quickly, reliable ventilation is critical to worker and equipment safety. The control system must be adaptable and expandable for current circumstances and future operations. Boliden can easily add, remove or relocate fans to where the company needs them in the mine. The Mobilaris Mining Intelligence location system in the mine detects the presence of a mining vehicle or machinery in the ventilation area, then communicates with the 800xA control system which in turn calculates the right amount of air needed and controls the fans to provide it.

ABB’s SmartVentilation solution provides a controlled ventilation system that delivers fresh air where and when it is needed. At the same time, it minimizes the use of energy through the utilization of on-demand functionality, which yields 30 – 50 percent savings compared to normal installed power. The system also improves the safety conditions through built in functionality in case of fire such as preventing spread of smoke and enabling faster exhaust of hazardous fire gases.