FUSION: Bridging surface and underground communications through a single platform

NOTE: on 8 September 2023, MST Global announced the FUSION Radio hardware and associated products (FUSION Voice, FUSION Link) as reaching end of life.

In mining operations, communication is mission critical.  In harsh underground environments, communications solutions need speed, clarity, and redundancy. Effective communication helps improve safety, productivity and efficiency and the MST FUSION platform is strengthening the ability to deliver these outcomes.

MST has been developing and supplying mine communication systems  for nearly 30 years.  In that time is has been witness to and driven vast changes to communications technologies. While there have been various standards of surface-only and underground-only communication solutions, the industry was lacking a device that could transition seamlessly from communicating on the surface to communicating from within the underground environment over a range of platforms.

Enter MST FUSION Platform.  FUSION Platform is a hybrid communication platform incorporating a UHF or VHF digital radio, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity and SIM card slot.  It is network agnostic, but optimised for fast hand-over on the MST IMPACT network.

The first product on the MST FUSION Platform was FUSION Voice.  FUSION Voice brought together VoIP and traditional radio channel communication in a single vehicle mounted device.

FUSION Voice Features and Benefits:

  • A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) equivalent of a mobile radio until FUSION Voice there was vehicle mounted VoIP radio available to install permanently in vehicles. This has create a barrier for Wi-Fi and VoIP being an complete alternative to leaky feeder radio.
  • Additional to VoIP, FUSION can include PTT channels to operate on UHF/VHF radio system as well.
  • Externally mounted antenna removes the shielding effect from vehicle cabin walls allowing for better Rx and Tx while traveling between, and at distance from APs.
  • Louder audio through the remote speaker mic and the capability to connect external speakers means clearer audio over the noise of operating vehicle.
  • A selection of remote speaker microphones with built in controls and noise cancellation as well as no constraint to legacy connectors.

MST have now extended the power of the FUSION platform having just introduced another  application, FUSION Link.  FUSION Link turns the unit into a digital network bridge, without the need to install another device. This enables third-party fleet management or vehicle health systems to be connected to the FUSION RJ45 connector, and Link will bridge the data via Wi-Fi to the corporate network.

The digital mine is the way of the future, and an effective communication platform that offers more than basic voice transmission above and below ground is essential for productivity and safety. But when more functionality is required, like data transmission or monitoring capabilities, installing more devices is not the ideal solution. The FUSION platform is already streamlining surface to underground voice and data communications in mines and tunnels through a single unit, and MST plans to continue to expand this multi-functional platform to help customers optimize operations.

August 20, 2018