André De Kock – Research Manager, Simtars
One of the major hazards in an underground coal mine is the interaction between mining equipment and humans. This is the result of limited vision around underground equipment and the confined space within which the equipment operates. To address this hazard, various proximity detection systems have been developed.
This paper describes a project that evaluated three proximity detection systems in an underground coal mine. The systems were subjected to a suite of nine scenarios, involving interaction between humans and continuous miners, shuttle cars and LHDs. In addition, the detection zones of the different proximity detection systems, were determined on surface as well as underground. The underground zones were determined under “normal conditions” (reference pattern), in the vicinity of an underground substation, tags at different heights, and multiple tags in zones.
The scenario results provide a documented comparison of the proximity detection systems performance when subjected to the same scenarios. This will allow a mine to make an informed selection of the most suitable proximity detection system. The detection zone results provide a graphical comparison between the performance of a proximity detection system on surface and underground. The results also present the comparison for “normal conditions” of the proximity detection system and when subjected to EMF radiation, multiple tags and tags at different heights.
The project also identified the need to develop a universal specification for a proximity detection system.