The clay quarry at Kirton in Newark, Nottinghamshire has been in operation since 1955 supplying a key raw material for brick production. Hanson Building Products took over the 2sq km site in 1989 and now extracts and transports over 170,000 tonnes of clay a year.

The Challenge

Quarries are harsh and potentially dangerous places to work in, so a robust and reliable radio system is essential to ensure there is clear communication across the whole of the site covering everyone working there.

Any communications solution also has to be able to withstand the harsh environment and cope with dusty, muddy and wet conditions. Health and safety regulations also impose a duty of care on employers to safeguard their employees.

The continual movement of large plant vehicles across the site is a potential safety hazard and so the communications equipment needs to meet the strict standards set by the UK Health and Safety Regulations.

Production and quarry manager Brian Reid and his team had been using analogue radios for some time. The team considered the radios to be an essential tool, as efficient working practices alongside a robust safety regime was key to ensuring smooth operations in the quarry. However, they felt it was time to look at a more modern, digital radio solution to provide clearer communications across the quarry.

The Solution

Derbyshire-based Zycomm Communications was asked to come up with a solution, which would provide robust, rugged radios able to withstand the harsh quarry environment.

The radios had to be easy to use and deliver clear, instant communication across the whole site, including within the site buildings. The radios also had to have a number of health and safety features built in and the overall system had to be future proof to enable expansion and upgrades at later times.

Zycomm recommended the rugged Hytera PD705LT digital mobile radio (DMR), which features exceptional audio quality and noise cancellation features, making it an ideal choice for use in a noisy quarry environment.

The handheld radio is IP67 rated meaning it can cope with the dust and water intrusion within the quarry. The radio comes with a built-in lone worker alarm, which uses a timer in the radio to measure inactivity. If the timer expires, a warning is issued, and if there is no response to that, the alarm is triggered.

It also features a large emergency button, which identifies the ID of the person issuing the alarm. A priority interrupt feature enables a priority transmission to interrupt other calls, allowing critical messages to get through quickly. These functions provided the necessary health and safety features requested by Hanson.

Zycomm suggested that the compact Hytera PD505 DMR handheld radio for members of staff working indoors, as it is both small and easy to use. The radio is IP54 rated for dust and water resistance, and also comes with noise cancellation, emergency mode and lone worker features.

Each radio model operated through the small, compact RD625 DMR repeater. The RD625 combines transmitter and receiver components, the voltage supply and an optional duplexer within its chassis. The repeater ensured excellent coverage throughout the quarry site, in critical areas, and back into the offices at the front of the site.

The Result

The initial trial of the Hytera digital radios produced an enthusiastic response from all the staff on site. Everyone was impressed by the clarity of the audio from the radios even in the areas which previously suffered from patchy coverage or none at all.

Switching the radio system over from analogue to digital has to be done without interrupting the service.

“Swapping over from analogue to digital was done with professionalism by Zycomm and with minimal disruption,”

comments Brian Reid, who said the company’s understanding of the Hanson business meant that everything went as smoothly as possible.

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3 April 2018

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