The node-based system, which communicates on a mesh architecture node-to-node, is self-forming and self-healing. It does not require pre-existing communication infrastructure or a hard-wire backbone.
“The system incorporates a network of fixed nodes and personal interfaces which wirelessly transmit data to a surface monitoring station,” Strata said.
The company added that each system component was battery operated with AAA and D-size alkaline cells.
The battery life will exceed one year with no recharging necessary. Also, no external power source is required.
The nodes, meanwhile, are 12.5 inches by 4in by 3in, and include internal antennas. They are immediately operational once placed in strategic locations across the mine.
StrataCommTrac was designed in compliance with the US Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Public Policy Letter P09-V-01, as it provides real-time tracking as well as post-accident two-way communication between surface and underground staff.
The compact, lightweight devices are unobtrusive, attaching to a miner’s belt or vest, and are carried at all times with the capability of sending canned, freeform and pager messages.
“The mobile communication device automatically transmits identification data every 30 seconds and is received by all fixed nodes within signal range,” the company said, and miner tracking accuracy is 200 feet mine-wide.
Once the vital information reaches the surface, it can be logged and mapped using a graphical user interface.
"We are very excited about our new wireless communication and tracking system," company president Rory Paton-Ash said.
"Both underground and above-ground testing have yielded very successful results. We expect MSHA approval shortly and are able to provide system proposals immediately; including in-mine evaluations."