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HomeTech NewsAfricaIoT.nxt’s big deal to give Eskom coal thieves a nasty surprise

IoT.nxt’s big deal to give Eskom coal thieves a nasty surprise

Eskom chairman Mteto Nyati recently revealed that they awarded a tender to Vodacom’s IoT.nxt division for a coal supply chain automation system.

IoT.nxt demonstrated the system last week, and Nyati said they were impressed with what they saw.

He explained that IoT.nxt’s system addresses three streams: coal delivered via conveyor belts directly to power plants, coal delivered via rail to Eskom, and coal delivered to power stations using trucks.

Organised criminal elements have targeted Eskom’s coal supply chain for years, rerouting deliveries destined for power stations to ports and smuggling the resource out of the country.

To avoid detection, trucks deliver loads of poor-quality coal to power stations mixed with rocks, often causing damage and increasing breakdowns at plants.

IoT.nxt’s system tracks coal’s movement from the mine to the Eskom power station, detecting deviations from the planned routes and related problems.

“By the end of the year, the new coal automation system will be implemented at all Eskom’s power stations,” he said.

“That should eliminate the problems associated with criminal elements stealing coal and delivering poor coal instead.”

MyBroadband contacted Vodacom for more details about the system, but the company said it was highly confidential for safety reasons.

“While specifics of this initiative remain confidential, it showcases the kind of large-scale integration projects that Vodacom and IoT.nxt regularly undertake for their customers,” a spokesperson told MyBroadband.

“Vodacom acquired IoT.nxt in 2019, recognising the growing need for an advanced Internet of Things (IoT) software platform capable of deploying comprehensive IoT solutions.”

Vodacom said a cornerstone of IoT.nxt’s success is its next-generation integration architecture, which supports the deployment of these expansive projects.

“This architecture was a crucial enabler for the Eskom solution, which required multiple integration points to deliver a seamless end-to-end solution.”

Former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter revealed in 2022 that the power utility was in a battle with criminal elements over its coal supply.

Eskom’s current coal quality control system has a certified stockpile of coal tested at the mines, loaded into trucks, covered with a seal, and fitted with a tracking device.

However, they discovered significant tampering with the seals and jamming devices used to block the tracking signal.

“The coal trucks are then taken while they are ‘off the radar’ to sites where the good quality coal is swapped out for discarded coal,” he said.

“Instead of 18 kilojoules per kilogram, it’s seven or eight. This has a very negative impact on our mills and our boiler tubes. The knock-on effects are significant,” he said.

De Ruyter said Eskom had been trying to implement a coal automation system to manage coal quality for eight years, but it always failed between the procurement and design stages.

This makes the delivery of IoT.nxt’s system a significant milestone for Eskom and Vodacom.

Source

mybroadband.co.za

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