Technology aids productivity amid cold-wave conditions
Updated: December 21, 2023 07:11 Xinhua

CHANGCHUN, Dec. 20 -- In China's northeastern city of Changchun, where winter temperatures plummet to nearly minus 20 degrees Celsius, Wang Xinbing, a member of the local branch of State Grid, once faced challenges due to the harsh weather.

However, thanks to the assistance of intelligent inspection robots, he can now monitor substation equipment comfortably indoors.

"The robots can swiftly evaluate equipment conditions, significantly boosting our work efficiency," Wang said as he reviewed data and images transmitted by the robot from a 220 kV substation 30 km away.

"The robots are equipped with 40 high-definition cameras on their pan-tilt heads," Wang added.

These cutting-edge technologies are becoming more prevalent across China, helping with snow removal, ice melting, power restoration, and addressing the challenges brought about by intense rain and snowfall during the winter.

Drones also lend a helping hand during rapid inspections in the rugged terrain of the Dabie Mountains.

During the recent cold spell, Yuexi County in the city of Anqing, east China's Anhui Province, located in the hinterland of the mountainous region, has experienced significant snowfall. The potential increase in ice on power lines poses a threat to the entire county's electricity supply.

"The fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can operate at high altitudes, at high speeds, and cover long distances," said Chu Zhugang with State Grid's Anqing branch.

"With predefined flight routes, they can complete an inspection within an hour," Chu said.

In freezing conditions, technology also plays a crucial role in maintaining the orderly functioning of both production and daily life.

In northeast China's Jilin Province, snow removal has become highly mechanized. Benefiting from the use of de-icing vehicles, snow blowers and biogenic snow-melting agents, manual labor serves as a supplementary measure.

In Pingshuo East Open-pit Mine, one of China's largest open-pit mines in the coal-rich Shanxi Province, the massive screen at the mine's control center shows live updates of orderly blasting, mining and transportation activities in a pit over 200 meters deep, despite the extreme cold temperatures following heavy snowfall.

The seamless operation relies on the assistance of unmanned trucks, which were introduced in 2022, said Dong Shubin, deputy chief of the mine.

"We have achieved the coordinated operation of five unmanned trucks. Previously, it required around 20 personnel to operate these trucks each day. Now, only a few safety officers are needed, monitoring screens from the control room, just in case," said Dong.

Dong added that the mine aims to achieve unmanned operations with about 100 trucks, each with a loading capacity exceeding 300 tonnes.

In many intelligent mines across China, the remote control of equipment such as electric shovels and drilling rigs is also being enhanced, aiding the country's mining industry in boosting production efficiency and mitigating the impact of extreme weather conditions.

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