The Messenger system received intrinsically safe (IS) approvals late last year, and has significant implications for the underground coal mining industry, especially in emergency situations.
“The ability for workers to send messages back to the surface has huge implications for safety – not only during rescue operations, but during daily operations as well,” NLT Australia managing director Tim Haight told International Longwall News.
“For the first time workers will be able to send emergency alerts to central control rooms or other networked computers, call for help or simply verify their status.”
NLT recently entered an agreement with Wavetrend, a UK-based designer and manufacturer of digital communications solutions for the mining industry, to incorporate its RFID technology into the NLT tracking system.
“After evaluating a number of RFID products, we concluded that Wavetrend’s RFID solution allows for greater tracking precision and efficiency when compared to other competitor products,” NLT chief operating officer Daniel Rose said.
Grasstree’s order includes IS tracking for all of the supplied cap lamps and underground vehicles, which monitors and locates personnel and equipment throughout the underground workings and can assist in managing an emergency situation.
The tracking system operates on the same fibre backbone as the Messenger and does not require a separate network infrastructure to be installed.
“The expected benefits of the system are on the safety side – being able to locate people, communicate with them, and them with you instantly is unparalleled in underground coal,” Haight said.
“Now add to this the increased productivity – being able to locate equipment and personnel with specific skill sets, you know you will decrease your down time.”
The Messenger cap lamps will use NLT’s newest IS-approved LED headpiece, which will eliminate the need for bulbs and therefore all bulb replacement costs.
“This combination of products will provide Grasstree with the most innovative and advanced certified products available on the market today,” Haight said.
“As all of our products will be IS, they will be able to stay up during an emergency, which is currently not available in the world.”