Coal Age

APR 2019

Coal Age Magazine - For more than 100 years, Coal Age has been the magazine that readers can trust for guidance and insight on this important industry.

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36 www.coalage.com April 2019 operating ideas IntelliZone Celebrates 10 th Anniversary To document IntelliZone's 10 th anni- versary, Matrix answered 10 questions for Coal Age. Q: What exactly happened a decade ago? A: In April 2009, Matrix received the patent for IntelliZone's proprietary technology, which allowed it to pro- vide ultra-precision tracking and de- fine customized zones around each machine to suit the mining envi- ronment rather than having bubble zones, which are less precise. Q: What was the vision in the beginning? A: Matrix wanted to develop a system that would help coal operators better protect their miners. The designers en- visioned a proximity detection system with configurable zones that would slow or stop personnel who came too close. It began as, and continues to be, a training aid to get personnel to stay out of red zones. Matrix wanted to give the mines a system, designed and man- ufactured in the USA, that could offer a balance between safety and production. Q: What made it unique? A: IntelliZone enables precise work- er location around a piece of equip- ment. The system also allows zones to expand and contract based on a vehicle's speed and direction and only into the path of travel, instead of overlapping into crosscuts or cutouts. Q: How has this underground safety system changed over the years? A: Matrix believes in continuous im- provement, so they upgraded the sys- tem a great deal. In 2009, the compa- ny introduced Gen 1, which had X, Y tracking and was revolutionary in the marketplace. At the time, it was only in- stalled on continuous miners and it was restricted to around 30 feet (ft) of range. Back then, six receivers were placed on every machine and drove the signal from the personnel to the machine. Over time, however, Matrix realized the system needed to be more versatile, and ultimately decided on a redesign that would reverse the signal direction. The Gen 2 machines now drive the signal, which allows Matrix to have four drivers instead of six, a tracking range of about 65 ft and an RF line-of-site range of more than 100 ft. Now continuous miners and mobile haulage can combine to form a common operator zone, and it's used on all different types of mobile machines. Q: How was it tested? A: Matrix spent the first six months test- ing it underground in Alliance mines. They cut their teeth on proximity de- tection by listening to the people that ran the equipment. In the beginning, there was a learning curve for miners who had to adjust to the idea of some- thing slowing down their machines if they got too close. Over time, it has be- come a part of the process, and it is now seen as an important training feature. Q: How did Gen 2 change things? A: In addition to the switch in signal di- rection and increase in range, Gen 2 re- duced electrical noise interference and added a number of features to mini- mize nuisance trips. Visual and audi- ble zone alerts were also added on the wearable locator and an in-cab display for visual indication of zone breaches. Q: Any recent upgrades? A: Matrix has introduced several new features. Soon it will release a Status Screen that provides detailed on-board diagnostics, critical for quick trouble- shooting and maintenance. Also, a Ma- chine-Mounted Locator now enables driver signal diagnostics and articu- lated machine-angle detection, and a Capacitor Filter offers EMI noise-filter reduction on tram-motor contactor phase leads. Additionally, a recently introduced Water Hose Isolation Filter helps with EMI noise control, and a new longer-range driver is in development. Q: How do you work with mines to support IntelliZone? A: Matrix provides in-depth training for all of its direct service customers and it has a large team of strategically located field-service personnel whose primary focus is IntelliZone. Q: How does IntelliZone stand up in the marketplace? A: IntelliZone is now the No. 1 prox- imity detection system in the U.S. and is rapidly increasing market share in South Africa. The company was recently awarded IECEx approval in Queens- land, Australia. IntelliZone is the only system on the market that can offer pre- cision tracking and customized zones, and it does so at the lowest cost of own- ership of any product on the market. Q: What is the takeaway? A: By all accounts, safety technolo- gy development over the past decade has reduced accidents and likely seen more miners go home than would have without those developments. Proximity detection systems, and other safety sys- tems like it, are now fully integrated in the daily lives of mining machine oper- ators and are helping mining operations transform along with other industries. Matrix said it continues to design and implement solutions to increase both safety and productivity at the mine site. With Gen 2, continuous miners and mobile haulage combine to form a common operator zone.

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