Project Name: Protect Field-site Workers’ Safety in Underground Utility Tunnels
Products Deployed: IGPS-9084GP-LA，IGAP-610H+，RGPS-R9244GP+-P
Centralizing various urban pipelines such as power, telecommunication, water supply and drainage, gas, and waste pipelines in the same underground tunnel can enhance management efficiency of public utilities and modernize urban infrastructure. Therefore, underground utility tunnels are an important part of the smart city. Not only can underground utility tunnels free up a lot of space above the ground, they can also produce valuable of data regarding the operations of pipelines to improve city management.
However, the environment in underground utility tunnels poses great risks to employees’ health and safety due to narrow spaces, high temperature and humidity levels, low visibility, and exposure to huge amounts of dust. To ensure personal security, it is necessary to get hold of employees’ locations in underground utility tunnels at all times so the control center can take actions immediately when the employees’ life is endangered. Therefore, the Taoyuan government in Taiwan wanted to build a wired and wireless network in an underground utility tunnel to transmit on-site workers’ biometric data from their Bluetooth wristbands to the control center in real time so that the control center staff will be notified immediately if anything happens in the tunnel. The contractor of the project thus asked ORing to build the networks as ORing has comprehensive networking solutions consisting of wired and wireless networks.
This project uses ORing’s Ethernet switches and APs to build a wireless network in the tunnel and a backbone network that connects the field site with the remote control center. In the four channels of the tunnel, which accommodate pipelines for telecommunications, electricity, water, and ventilation, a number of IGPS-9084GP-LA industrial Ethernet switches are installed to form the backbone network. Each switch is connected with three IGAP-610H+ wireless APs which are located 100 meters apart from each other to make sure every spot in the tunnel is covered by the wireless network.
Two SSIDs are set up for the WLAN provided by the IGAP-610H+. One SSID is used to connect to the Internet, so on-site workers can access the network via their phones to send messages and communicate with remote staff. The other SSID is used to identify the workers’ locations. The workers’ smart wristbands send their biometrics to the APs regularly which transmit the data, along with other video surveillance images and equipment status data to the control room, allowing the staff there to keep track of the workers’ safety. It is worth noting that the system estimates the workers’ locations based on the signal strength between their handheld devices and the AP. Through an integrated management interface, the operator can get hold of the workers’ real-time locations and carry out rescue operations immediately if necessary.
In the control room on the B1 floor, two RGPS-R9244GP+-P core switches are installed which are connected with each other via port trunk to provide link redundancy and more bandwidth. The IGPS-9084GP-LA in the tunnel are connected via fiber cables and then to the core switches in ORing’s proprietary O-Chain topology to ensure flexibility, unrestricted expansion, and simplified configuration. If any segment of the chain is disconnected, the network will be back to normal in less than 30ms.
The wireless and wired networks has enabled the Taoyuan City government to swiftly respond emergencies that can threaten field-site workers’ health and safety, while reducing employees’ fears or anxiety of working in the harsh environment, giving both the employer and employees peace of mind. With outstanding results, the project has won the Taoyuan City Public Construction Golden Quality Award and the central government’s Public Construction Golden Quality Awards. Due to the success of the project, the approach is expected to be replicated to other similar project scenarios in the future.