Grace Industries lights the way

ORIGINALLY designed for use by firefighters, the Lite Tracker is now brightening the future of the mining industry, thanks to creator Grace Industries.
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Grace Industries' Lite Tracker.

Donna Schmidt

Published in the May 2010 Coal USA Magazine

The Pennsylvania-based company received MSHA approval under Title 30, Part 18 for its Lite Tracker products on March 11, when the company promptly announced its arrival to mining.

The lightweight (just 3.5 ounces with batteries) product measuring just 1.75 inches wide, 2.75in high and 1.5in deep, is now available for coal and metal/nonmetal underground mines.

Its initial design in the fire-fighting realm was as an emergency alert identification device, but Grace Industries sales and marketing director Alan Warren noted that receiving federal approval was a “natural progression” for the line.

There is a total of 13 designs, each encased in high-impact plastic and easily attached to clothing or gear with one of four attachment options such as a grip clip or swivel. Depending on the model, the durable and water-resistant unit can display a number of LED light colors and patterns including alternating hues, flash and a strobe effect.

The lights also provide high visibility from all directions and can be used at the surface as well as underground.

While Warren noted that the design does not currently offer a dock for recharging, the product can run on regular two AAA 1.5-volt alkaline batteries for seven days continuously. In fact, he noted, the batteries are easily replaced – and in less time than it takes to change them in a television remote control.

The Lite Tracker is emergency-ready and can be stored underground until needed, but marketing representative Victoria Lenzi said the biggest benefit is the flexibility of uses the product has for the mining community.

“[It was] primarily designed as an emergency identification alert and can very easily be used for miner-to-miner communication. However, these lights can certainly be used for any application the mining industry deems necessary,” she said, noting that the lights could be used in conjunction with the MSHA-approved Grace Industries Mine Rescue Alarm to provide both a visual and audio alert.

Looking ahead, Grace Industries is enthusiastic about the potential for the Lite Tracker’s use in conjunction with many other mining products. A magnetic backing option, for example, can easily transfer the light from use as personal identification to identifying and locating underground equipment quickly and easily.