Coal Age

DEC 2012

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p r ox i m i t y d e t e c t i o n Matrix, Alliance Resources and Preparing for New Proximity Regulations BY LEE BUCHSBAUM, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER More than 75% of Alliance Resources' CMs are equipped with proximity detectors (inset). At MINExpo in Las Vegas, Matrix unveiled the company's new, state-of-the-art IntelliZone proximity detection equipment for use on various types of mobile equipment, the next step beyond the current widely used system Matrix developed specifically for the high-accuracy requirements of continuous miner (CM) units. As of mid-September, Alliance Resources LP, Matrix's parent company, was using more than 70 Matrix proximity detectionequipped CM units throughout the company's fleet of underground operations. Additionally, Joy Mining Machinery, producer of the lion's share of the CM units now in operation nationwide, and Matrix development partner, has sold more than 50 units equipped with the SMARTZONE proximity detection system, compatible with the Matrix design. But looking forward, Matrix has determined that though the CM proximity rule 54 www.coalage.com has only been proposed by MSHA, following President Obama's re-election, it's quite likely that after this rule is finalized, an additional rule will be promulgated that includes equipment like shuttle cars, scoops and other mobile haulage at the face. The current technology was not designed with the range needed for faster mobile equipment, so Matrix and Alliance along with partner Joy, have been developing and are now finalizing new proximity detection technology for mobile equipment. The new gear will have twice the range that current equipment has and greater accuracy. On an operational level, in 2013 Alliance hopes to be fully compliant with at least the spirit of the proposed proximity regulations as already announced. Many expect the existing proximity regulations to be implemented sometime in early 2013, with more stringent and expan- sive proximity detection rules treating all mobile equipment not too far behind. Either way, Alliance at least will be prepared and ready. However, beyond Alliance, few companies have really embraced the system and deployed the technology throughout their fleets. So how prepared will the industry be when this new rule comes down the pike? And how ready is your mine? Proximity Detection on CM Units Initially, Matrix installed its first system underground at Alliance's southern Illinois Pattiki mine in October 2009. Based in large part upon the success of that system, since then Alliance made the decision—way ahead of regulations—to put proximity detectors on every CM coming out of rebuild. Today, more than 75% of the company's CMs are so equipped. Nationwide, almost 100 December 2012

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