Underground » Health and Safety
Mine Site Technologies (MST) with the support ACARP and Xstrata Coal NSW, as well as assistance from Centennial Coal, has developed a Proximity Detection System to proof of concept stage as per plan. The basic aim of the project was to develop a system to reduce the risk of the people coming into contact with vehicles in an uncontrolled manner (i.e. being “run over”). The potential to extend the developed technology into other areas, such as controls for vehicle-vehicle collisions and restricting access of vehicle or people into certain zones (e.g. non FLP vehicles into Hazardous Zones/ERZ) was also assessed.
A number of recent “near misses”, and fatalities, have been acknowledged by both Coal and hard rock mining companies, as confirming the need for some form of “Proximity Detection” to provide an additional level of control in vehicle-person hazards. Increasing levels of vehicle use, automation and remote control has added to this requirement.
The project leveraged off MST's existing Intellectual Property and experience gained with our ImPact TRACKER tagging technology, allowing the development to be fast tracked.
The basic concept developed uses active RFID Tags worn by miners underground to be detected by vehicle mounted Readers. These Readers in turn provide outputs that can be used to alert a driver (e.g. by light and /or audible alarm) that a person (Tag) approaching within their vicinity.
The prototype/test kit developed proved the concept and technology, the four main components being:
- Active RFID Tags to send out signals for detection by vehicle mounted receivers.
- Receiver electronics to detect RFID Tags approaching within the vicinity of the unit to create a long range detection system (60 m to 120 m).
- A transmitting/exciter device to enable inner detection zone (within 5 m to 20 m)
- A software/hardware device to process & log incoming Tags reads and create certain outputs.
Tests, undertaken in the laboratory and at a number of mine sites, confirmed the technology path taken could form the basis of a reliable Proximity Detection/Alert System.