South African company ensures Polish mine safety

August 2002 Products

The expertise of a South African communication solutions company has been successfully applied to safety monitoring in a Polish mine.

Pretoria-based company, Q-Kon, has engineered and exported a production monitoring system for use in safety control at a Polish coal mine. The mobile sensor technology means that realtime data on time, location and status can be used for the effective control required to optimise production on the mine.

Monitoring for the miners works via a radio tag, installed into every miner's battery pack. The tag, or transponder, is activated as soon as a miner picks up his battery pack and moves from the room where all packs are stored. No miner is allowed underground without his battery pack.

There are fixed signal points at strategic places around the mine and underground, which activate the tagged battery pack each time the miner passes one. A signal from the miner's pack is sent to the central data control room showing precisely which point the miner has just passed. Each miner's movements can therefore be monitored and his position ascertained in the event of a rock fall or blasting procedures.

A MineTrak monitoring point at a Polish coal mine
A MineTrak monitoring point at a Polish coal mine

"We had to take account, when engineering the system", said Riaan van den Berg, systems engineer at Q-Kon, "of the fact that wearers could be moving very fast past a control point, or could be bunched together at debussing points such as the cages travelling underground."

Vehicle tracking

Tracking of the vehicles is done via the MineTrak monitoring system, installed in each cab. As the vehicle passes a weighstation, a signal from the MineTrak activates the data transmission, sending the position and the usage of the vehicles to a central control point.

The data transmission capabilities of the Q-Kon data radio enables direct integration of the radio with the central monitoring equipment. This method of safety control has already been successfully implemented by Q-Kon in several South African mines.

For further information: Dirk Staal, Q-Kon: 012 665 0052,

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