While the mining sector has been an early recipient of the benefits of private LTE, leading player in the sector Sedna Industrial IT Solutions says Africa’s heavy industrial and manufacturing sectors will be increasingly harnessing the power of this solution to improve efficiencies, productivity and profits in 2023.
Sedna, which penned a major private LTE (pLTE) memorandum with Nokia last year as its main system integrator for Africa in mining and other industrial applications, says pLTE ensures a seamless move from traditional to high-tech manufacturing and will be particularly suitable to run future fit enabled apps and can be deployed across sectors like heavy-duty industry, plants, ports, oil and gas, transportation, but also in areas like healthcare, education and smart cities.
Sedna installed Africa’s first licensed spectrum pLTE network in South Africa as well as Africa’s first underground leaky feeder licensed spectrum pLTE network. They also partnered with global terrestrial spectrum provider and innovator Globalstar to help close the access to the spectrum gap in Africa.
The market growth in this pLTE can be attributed to the widescale acceptance of these networks in core sectors to support digitalization and automation.
pLTE works by 4G radios to connect to smart devices and routers. It is an on-premise version of public LTE networks, and stands apart from WiFi in that latency and jitter, the death-nail of any network, remains constant regardless of the number of connected devices.
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“Importantly, these networks offer an added layer of end-to-end reliability, security (the independent networks have their own radio equipment) and efficiency (drastically reduced operational downtime),” says Sedna MD, Anton Fester.
Significant cost savings add to the benefits at a time when cost pressure is mounting. A case study at an open pit ore mine in Australia, for instance, recorded a 10 million euro saving after replacing over 150 WIFI trailers with just 6 LTE “cell on wheels” units. Operational cost savings were impressive – a 90% drop in “stop” events, which would normally have disrupted operations.
“Similar benefits are possible in Africa. For instance, at a project in the Northern Cape we are involved in, 70 WIFI radios were replaced with just three, more efficient LTE radios,” says Fester.
While pLTE is helping protect and grow Africa’s rich mineral deposit extraction, this will also be a game-changer in turning industrial activity around and opening the door to exciting, innovative solutions in that create jobs and help boost growth.
“With more demand coming from other industrial users, like OEM’s in SA, I expect to see growth in the pLTE accelerate going forward. Our aim is to be the first-choice, trusted next-generation solutions provider and partner to mines and other heavy industries across Africa,” concludes Fester.
Sedna has been providing innovative, sophisticated and reliable digital solutions in the mining industry since 2006. As a pioneer in its field, Sedna has active operations on three continents, employs over 60 engineers, skilled technicians and support staff and counts leading global and regional mining houses among its clients. Sedna continues to build key partnerships with leading OEM’s to ensure its clients stay in step with technology advances to maintain a strategic advantage.
These solutions include enabling technologies such as networks (LTE, wired and WiFi), Autonomous Haulage Systems, Distributed Fibre Sensing and supplier value management platforms. For all of these technologies, Sedna assists its partners with the entire lifecycle: operational readiness, implementation, integration with other systems and support.
Sedna’s vision is to give business leaders the confidence to maximise opportunities and outcomes by making mission-critical decisions based on real-time, system-extracted insights they can trust.