Coal Age

DEC 2012

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proximity detection continued other Joy CM machines also use a version of the Matrix design. Additionally, for more than a year, any CM that's come through the Joy rebuild program has also been equipped with all of the necessary cable and connections for the Matrix designed proximity system. This ensures that, although not yet in use, all that the CM requires is a controller and some receivers and they are proximity detection capable. Statistically, operators and others are in the most danger from the CM when it is tramming from entry to entry, place to place. The risk is higher not when the machine is cutting coal, but moving to the next entry. Consequently, with the Matrix system, "when the cutter head is not on, there is a larger protection zone. And that zone will not allow an operator to get into positions that he normally would when he's cutting. Most of the fatalities have come when you're either setting the miner over for the second cut or when you're moving from one entry to the next and therefore dealing with a lot of visual information. It's not the front of December 2012 the miner I'm thinking about here though, but the back of it. The rear of the miner is the most dangerous part of the machine, particularly the two back corners, the horn where the cable comes in, and the tail swing," said Randy Moore, director of engineering, Matrix. Matrix's proximity detection system creates a warning when an operator walks up to the CM. A set of colored lights will blink as he gets closer alerting him that the machine may be shut down. From this advance warning, if he walks further to it, or if the CM moves further toward him, additional lights will come on and the machine will shut down before the two intersect. This is the heart of the system: preventing human and machine from coming into physical contact. After years of testing and improvements, the system has been hardened so that it can take the common knocks and dings that occur underground and still save lives. "We can't afford down time. You have to put a system in that is going to hold up won't require constant mainte- nance, or affect production. We've done a lot of work to ensure that part components hold up under harsh conditions. It's not a perfect system. We still have issues with performance that we're working on constantly," said Moore. Plans for Mobile Equipment While proximity detection on CM units and crews is the immediate issue, coming up behind these regulations are other potential proximity rules for mobile inby equipment (shuttle cars and scoops). Matrix is currently developing a viable extended range system and they are in the advanced testing stages now, hoping to have product availability in early 2013. The challenge with mobile equipment is that "we need more range. The 35-ft range we've been working with for the CM system is just not enough for efficient mobile haulage operation. We're also going to change the technology a little to get that range. We're also adding extra safety features into the personal wearable devices (PWD) that are part of the system. If someone's walking away 55

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