A safer refuge chamber

UK-BASED Trolex has unveiled two of its newest developments, fixed and transportable refuge chamber monitoring systems.
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Trolex transportable refuge chamber monitoring system

Donna Schmidt

“As mining refuge chambers become more commonplace as a safe haven for miners in the event of an underground crisis, Trolex has spent time developing intrinsically safe monitoring systems especially for these chambers,” the company said.

As a result, it developed flexible systems to suit requirements and monitor a range of gases as well as temperature, humidity and pressure inside the main chamber.

In the fixed refuge chamber system, Trolex’s intrinsically safe Sentro 8 and Sentro 1 integrated monitoring stations with intelligent, interchangeable sensing modules are used.

Specifically, a master Sentro 8 system is placed in a unit’s main safety chamber to monitor five gases plus temperature, humidity and pressure.

A secondary Sentro 8 system located outside the chamber, meanwhile, measures between four and seven gases along with the area’s relative pressure.

Located in the air lock, or the transition space before the entrance to the main chamber, there are two Sentro 1 gas detectors to measure levels of oxygen and carbon monoxide.

All of the equipment uses universal data communications with standard Modbus protocol and the monitors also feature large LCD read-outs and programmable visual and audible alarms.

The entire system is capable of 106 hours operation from a UPS power supply.

Trolex also released its transportable refuge chamber monitoring system, the SentryTM stand-alone unit.

The system, which is also available with a frame for mounting on uneven terrain, is based on its proven Sentro 8 integrated monitoring station.

It features eight monitoring modules for five gases and the rugged self-contained unit has an integral carrying handle and a stainless steel skid panel base plate for protection.

The unit is 290mm high by 250mm wide and 190mm deep and weighs 4.8kg.

The intrinsically safe design with a protected power supply switch provides up to 100 hours of operation using a sealed but removable lead acid battery pack.

“In both the transportable and fixed systems, the data collected by the environmental monitoring system is displayed in the refuge chamber in real time, so miners know when it is safe to leave their temporary sanctuary,” the company said.

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