Coal Age

DEC 2012

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proximity detection continued before that becomes regulation nobody knows. Does Production Suffer from Proximity Detection? Alliance's River View mine, one of the premier CM unit operations in the nation, while mining from two seams simultaneously, is 100% equipped with proximity detection equipment. With coal customers lining up, contract obligations to meet, and production schedules to keep, operational continuity cannot be compromised, but neither can safety. River View's crews have proved that installing and using proximity detection equipment does not have to compromise production. But every mining professional has to be wondering to what extent does having proximity detection slow down or impact production? To answer this, Moore and Matrix conducted an exercise where they watched the production numbers following the installation for a longer term. Using the production average prior to installation over a two-month period using several systems, production was affected—particularly as operators were learning how to work within its parameters. But after approximately 20 days, productivity started to increase. Moore concedes that initially there was a significantly reduced rate of production, particularly at first. "However over a period of time, production bounces back. Within two months or less, most operators returned to the same productivity levels as before. But there is a learning curve, especially for veteran operators who have developed their own methods. It's hard for them to change their habits. But newer operators are much more adaptable, especially when taught by a mentor that this is the way to do it. He learns it that way and typically you have no problems. Not only that, he may use proximity detection as part of the way that he operates his machine as opposed to seeing it as a hindrance. The system itself lets him know through the yellow zones when he's in an area that's getting close, and by seeing that there are no lights blinking, he knows he's in an area that is safer," said Moore. Though there is almost no way to quantify how much safer an operator is working with proximity detection as opposed to without it, "in the end if it saves one life, it's definitely worth it. For the most part I would say 95% of miners are glad it's on there. They accept it because they know it's the right thing to do. We're fortunate to have a company that is behind the system. From the highest levels they have decided that, even though proximity detection is not yet regulated, you are going to run this way and monitor these things," said Moore. "The biggest problem that we have, I think, as regulations come out is we ask these guys to pack all this stuff: dust monitors, spotters and radios and now we're talking about prox devices and things like that. For operators and other miners they are besieged by all these distracting, cumbersome devices that they have to wear, charge, understand, calibrate and use beyond mining coal—which wasn't that easy to begin with. So as a company and product designer, we're looking to integrate all these products together into one device. We can even company profile - paid advertisement ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp. Has a Legacy of Excellence Founded by three brothers in 1964, the ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp. is today the largest privately held crane rental and sales operation in North America—a family of 34 branches and growing. Our world-class fleet of lift equipment is the broadest, deepest, and "smartest" in the industry. We buy the most technologically advanced new equipment, loaded with options and then maintain it in our own shops. Few crane rental companies can offer so much modern equipment kept in like-new condition; in fact, very few fleets compare to ours. 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