"I was motivated to do more for mining," said company founder and president Frank Fosella, who previously served as president of OX-GEN but resigned last year to take his ideas to the industry in a more direct manner. While there, Fosella led the company to receive a landmark US Food and Drug Administration approval - the first oxygen permitted to be sold over the counter.
Fosella said his concentration was always on the areas of mining and military use, and he wanted to ensure a new and safer generation method was available to those markets, thus his establishment of OXON to allow the special focus.
"Most SCSRs currently approved by NIOSH rely on either compressed oxygen or oxygen-generating chemicals such as potassium superoxide, which is corrosive," he explained.
By contrast, OXON's unit does not rely on potassium superoxide, but instead uses more "benign" chemicals that negate common hazard concerns with rebreathers and produce oxygen through their interaction while "scrubbing" carbon dioxide.
"A hybrid filter component will extend the usability of the system after oxygen depletion to approximately one hour of rebreathing. Compact size and ease of use are also of utmost importance," said the company.
The OXON oxygen generating system is composed of the Charger 10, the Charger 150 and a hooded mask. It is dockable, or rechargeable, which allows for uninterrupted worker use.
The Charger 10 provides 10 minutes of emergency oxygen to be worn on the belt and then can be docked to the Charger 150 for an additional 2.5 hours of 99.97% pure oxygen. Fosella added that the system will keep a closed circuit intact while switching units and provide non-interrupted breathing support.
OXON is currently reviewing its prototypes for submission to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; it hopes to begin the certification process with the agency in late 2007 or early 2008. In the meantime, the company continues its onsite testing of the system until its last development details can be polished.
For more details on the company, the development of the unit and its research efforts, check out the December edition of American Longwall Magazine.