WRN – Wireless Repeater Node

  • 2017

  • Product
    Commercial and Industrial

Commissioned By:

Mine Site Technologies

Designed In:


The WRN (Wireless Repeater Node) is Mine Site Technologies recently developed Mobile, Self-Meshing Access Point intended for the ad-hoc extension of MST’s “Impact” (Wireless & TCP/IP) Underground Network for VOIP, Video, tracking and data transport. It is devised for short to medium term deployment in the dynamic (changing) areas of mining.

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  • The WRN has virtually no predecessors or references? The devised shape (long elegant curves) evolved to accommodate the features and facilities envisaged with requirements and use. Within the envelope of the product, we provide; - Simple portability - a sensible handle, carry strap anchor points, rock/roof bolt and machine mounting plates, - Effective and redundant retention and ejection mechanisms for change out/ changeover of dual "Hot Swap" batteries to keep the unit alive (system operational) during a battery change out. - Effective protection for sensitive high leverage components by bounding them within the envelope of the product - Sensible indicators to ascertain system operation and unit status.

  • The WRN extends a mine's TCP/IP Infrastructure into the "Dark" areas of a mine where work is actually happening. Wireless & redundant meshing allows VOIP communication, Video, tracking and data to access and be conveyed through the mines system. The highly power efficient "system on chip" approach of the intrinsically safe electronic design allows 30 WRN units to operate in a "nest" or serially communicate over 10 hops for many kilometres for nearly a week on one set of batteries. The Hot swap batteries allow change out without effect on the system and simplifies charge and maintenance of an operating system. Lithium ion batteries are considerate of and certified for safe air transport internationally.

  • The WRN greatly enhances safety in developing, blind and hazardous areas of a mine by providing access to the mines infrastructure for: - Communications - (Voice) VOIP - Tracking - location of personnel - Video - high risk tasks - Data - machine health and work type instructions The product is designed and approved as "Intrinsically Safe" allowing it to be used in hazardous atmospheres (mines susceptible to firedamp - methane) where multiple failures (of any kind) will not initiate an explosion of the atmosphere. Hot Swap thus "Live" batteries are employed and approved for use and are considerate of and transportable by air. All the above are challenging, hard, long winded and expensive to achieve!

  • 95% of the mass of the WRN is either re-usable, recyclable or disposable in the normal waste stream. The design of the WRN was to achieve a highly efficient product allowing short charge times and long discharge times of the batteries whose charging regime allows longevity of the batteries for usability over many years. Our history of battery management has seen our battery life-cycle equal or exceed the usable life of the product they operate within - reducing rate of replacement and thus volume of disposal.

    Mining is a rugged and hostile environment. Equipment entering these environs has to be ready for the abuse and the restrictions/ requirements imposed upon equipment operating in hazardous atmospheres. A successful product must be "Fit for Purpose" which is governed and decided by independent entities. The circuit design offers both thermal and spark reduction techniques commensurate with the requirements of intrinsically safe apparatus. The product also exceeds the mechanical requirements of such standards with regards to impact, drops, flammability, strain, static discharge, thermal differentials and ingression protection. Materials, shapes and the manufacturing processes accumulate to achieve this.

    The WRN is looking to be one of MST's most popular products for many years - simply because it has such a needy role in every mine. The product was touted as one of the stand-out products at the recent (2016) MinExpo (one of the world's largest mining exhibitions) in Las Vegas. It came in under the development budget, on time and the market is accepting of its list price. The product also has all approval requirements for use worldwide; - EMC compliance - CE, FCC, RCM - Hazardous area Compliance - IECEx & MSHA The uniqueness of the product has increased brand awareness and opportunities into new markets and other verticals. Current run rate will see development recovered within the first year of production.

    The WRN is one of those "Missing Link" type products filling a void that has stood there for ever. The WRN has both "Design Registrations" and "Patents Pending". Most battery powered equipment used in mining has to be removed from the mine to be charged - charging is not allowed in hazardous areas! A dual "Hot Swap" battery attitude was employed allowing simple change out of batteries whilst allowing the system to maintain operation. A unique mechanism (Lachlan Wheel) was devised to retain both batteries or selectively eject "the other battery". The wheel is intuitive and utilizes bearings, cams, indexing and leverage mechanisms to make/break battery contacts which must maintain high connectivity during use.