Coal Age

APR 2018

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April 2018 21 communications continued lars of added production and also increase the efficiency from reduced man-hours for each ton of production." The system, however, has proven ca- pable of doing more than simply stoking production numbers, Carrier said. "One of our customers told us that an employee had a heart attack while underground, and our system enabled EMTs to quickly locate and save his life." In Q1 2017, IWT expanded its offer- ings to include a wireless carbon monox- ide (CO) monitor. It features a 6-month battery and a 1,000-ft range. "The IWT CO sensors are placed along the belt every 1,000 ft and mesh together to pass sensor and network data to the next sensor until the surface is reached, or reaching a mesh node in the mains in place to support communications and tracking," the com- pany reported. A primary selling point is the sensors "mesh together and don't require other infrastructure," Carrier said. Additionally, "the CO system can be deployed indepen- dent of the rest of the system." Benefits include low maintenance and total cost of ownership, IWT reported. One result is cost savings, Carrier said. "In a typical longwall coal mine, the savings can be tens of thousands of dollars every year." In Q4 2016, IWT released an asset tracking tag with an operating life of a year. The low-cost tag takes AA batteries and enables the tracking of all types of assets underground, the company reported. "The ability to track assets with the system great- ly enhances productivity," Carrier said. Future developments of the above- mentioned IWT technologies will "address application-specific requirements in oth- er markets," Carrier said. Currently, the company's Mine Rescue Communication System is used by the MSHA Emergency Unit. "We are deployed in small and large mines, mines with seam heights less than 30 in. and above 30 ft, and distances from the portal to the working area of several thousand feet to greater than 10 miles," Carrier said. "We are the market leader in underground deployments in the USA coal market, with more than 80 installations." Intrinsically Safe CO Detectors Strata Worldwide's wireless Trolex Sentro 1 universal gas detector is MSHA-approved Intrinsically Safe (IS), is compatible with more than 64 different gas sensors, and enables continuous remote monitoring. Released in 2015, the battery-powered units "operate as stand-alone monitor- ing devices, or can be incorporated into pre-exisitng or Strata's wireless communi- cation networks for continuous, real-time data streaming to the surface," the com- pany reported. The Sentro 1 is designed and manu- factured by the U.K.'s Trolex Ltd. "In De- cember 2012, Strata signed a distribution agreement with Trolex for exclusive dis- tribution rights in the U.S.," Mike Berube, CEO, Strata Worldwide said. "Together, the companies worked on a development ef- fort to integrate Strata's wireless commu- nications and battery technologies into the Trolex Sentro 1 in order to offer a com- pletely wireless, battery-powered gas de- tection unit that is interoperable with Stra- ta's wireless communications network." The company defines wireless as needing no power supplies, cables, re- peaters, splitters or J-Boxes. Battery life is 40 to 60 days. Monthly calibration is done at the surface, Berube said, "but a quick replacement of the sensor underground keeps the unit fully operational." Benefits include easy installation and a reduction in maintenance time and costs. "Units can be carried by hand and hung in place Above, Strata's Sentro 1 universal gas detector. (Photo: Strata Worldwide)

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