Cerberus: Underground Guardian – Overland Champion


Picture 2 of 4

Man Riding - conveyance Dolly Car fitted with Cerberus SIL Rated Communications System




JUST as Cerberus guarded the gates of the underworld in Greek mythology, Tecom Australia’s Cerberus conveyance communications management system guards underground personnel from many of the hazards, they face on a daily basis.

Tecom Australia specialises in hazard reduction technologies and was the first Australian company to develop Safety Integrity Level (SIL) rated communications for drift and shaft winders and now overland conveyors — not only permitting the instant management of incidents but also adding multiple safeguard layers and incorporating video to monitor down the shaft, inside cages, man-riding conveyances, length of conveyors and the operation of winders.

Cerberus is a closed-loop system that adds additional layers of redundancies, which are themselves SIL-rated. An example of this is a simple switched door lock on a typical personnel cage. If the single switch fails, the door may not close fully, creating potential injury to workers. By adding an additional switch in series to that circuit, the odds of both switches failing at the same time are increased exponentially. In order to override such a system, other systems within that closed-loop must first be activated – such as turning a key, pushing a button or pulling a lever. It is these added levels of redundancy that prevent remote override and significantly reduce the risk of injury.

Cerberus also delivers Communications over VOIP with its own dedicated, intelligent 5.8GHz data radio network connecting underground operations to the surface. Apart from monitoring and interfacing the closed-loop SIL redundancies across the site to the mine’s PLC system, Cerberus incorporates data, telemetry, and video communications that meet NSW mine safety guidelines – one of the strictest in the country.

In the case of a conveyance cage, the system monitors the cage emergency stop, the pushbuttons, the safety switches (monitoring door open and closed positions), the cage door lock, a motion prestart alarm and a slack rope switch. Gone are the days of three-bell systems with inherent time delays that can turn a slack rope event in a cage into a deadly situation. With Cerberus’s VOIP and video communications, the winder control system and the operator are instantly alerted to any abnormal event. They can not only manually and automatically stop the cable from feeding but also look inside the cage and communicate directly with personnel to quickly and safely rectify the situation.

The live video link also allows the winder control operator to look above, below and inside the cage

or bucket as it is travelling, in real-time. This enables fast hazard identification, assessment

and avoidance. This is only one example of Cerberus’s seemingly endless list of applications – it can be applied to almost any materials handling role.

The system that system is adapted to be used in conjunction with long conveyors, particularly those spanning tens of kilometres. In this case, Cerberus can be used to link a system of pole-mounted video and comms stations spaced at regular intervals (approximately 1km apart) along the length of the conveyor.

REMOTE CONTROL SAFETY SYSTEM - Data Telemetry and Communication
Overland CONVEYORS – remote data telemetry

This independent, wireless network can also include solar power for backup. E-Stop buttons are positioned at regular intervals along the conveyor so that when a repair crew needs to work on a section of the belt (which may be 40km away from the conveyor control), they are able to radio in their position, press the E-Stop at the closest point to the repair and work without fear of the conveyor being accidentally started, causing injury or death.

Again, by employing SIL redundancies, only the ground crew can re-start the conveyor after completing a sequence of steps to reset the system. The belt cannot be in put into action by staff in the control tower. To view a video detailing the functions and operation of the Cerberus system operating on an underground cage and winder system, visit the following link:  https://youtu.be/ux6ZNz3BJIk

Tecom Australia is an expert in designing bespoke systems to suit any client’s requirements.

It is able to assess potential site hazards and develop integrated solutions that mesh with a

company’s existing PLC. Tecom adds the safety stop protocols to any materials handling soluti


Copyright 2019 TECOM AUSTRALIA All Rights Reserved