CalAmp to provide mobile comms system for Rio Tinto upgrade

1 August 2012 (Last Updated August 1st, 2012 18:30)

Under the deal, CalAmp will be responsible for supplying its P4 base station and G3 mobile data radio, which operate in the 450MHz band with parallel decoding technology to enhance signal reception capability, while the train is in motion.

Rio Tinto, Pilbara

Under the deal, CalAmp will be responsible for supplying its P4 base station and G3 mobile data radio, which operate in the 450MHz band with parallel decoding technology to enhance signal reception capability, while the train is in motion.

Both P4 and G3 radios have been modified to comply with Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) regulations, as well as to meet certain application-specific requirements.

Currently, the private railway line is being upgraded by Ansaldo STS Australia in a €253m contract that had been awarded under the framework agreement signed between Ansaldo STS and Rio Tinto in 2010.

The agreement was to develop and deliver an automated train management system for the Rio Tinto Iron Ore rail network.

Initially, the CalAmp system will consist of 56 base stations and around 180 mobile units that will be primarily equipped on locomotives.

The automated train operation system will be supported by mobile radios that use extra technology, layered on to existing control systems used within the RTIO rail network, to reduce demand for locomotive drivers and increase fright shipment.

In July 2012, Ansaldo STS Australia won contracts worth €289m to upgrade signalling systems on Rio Tinto's iron ore rail network.

"The CalAmp system will consist of 56 base stations and around 180 mobile units that will be primarily equipped on locomotives."

This project included the upgrade of the automated heavy-haul railway system that is scheduled to be finished in 2015, and is intended to improve the flexibility and capacity of Rio Tinto Iron Ore's mining operation.

Under the deal, Ansaldo STS will develop a modular signalling system, including a centralised safety server to manage train movements and onboard driving modules for the locomotives, which will enable fully automatic operation.

The deal also included a €36m contract that has been awarded as part of the framework agreement to carry out the next phases of upgrades to improve capacity and efficiency on the heavy-haul rail network.

According to Ansaldo STS, upgrades will be made to Rio Tinto's locomotive control systems to allow the introduction of electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking.


Image: CalAmp will install its P4 base station and G3 mobile data radio on Rio Tinto Iron Ore's 1,500km rail network. Photo: courtesy of Rio Tinto.