Leaky feeder communications in mines offer more stable and effective communication than wired phones. Carroll Technologies combines a number of technologies in its leaker feeder system, a wireless communication network that can be integrated with tracking and monitoring devices to provide a holistic solution to keep mines connected.
Leaky feeder communications in mines: Latest innovations
Here at Carroll Technologies we combine the latest innovations with best in class customer service to give you a complete mining safety solution
To book a free consultation on how to improve your mine safety and reduce collisions, please contact Carroll Engineering president Allen Heywood on firstname.lastname@example.org and he will arrange a time for one of their consultants to visit you.
Alternatively, call +6065731000.
A leaky feeder system provides effective and secure communication for underground and above ground operations, incorporating a cable that is stretched throughout the mine, and acts as an antenna for a number of devices to receive a signal. As Carroll Engineering president Allen Haywood explained: “if you have line of sight with that antenna, or are in reasonable distance, you can talk to that cable rather than talking to another radio.”
This effectively extends the range of communication devices, as the antenna serves as a connecting point between two devices that are trying to communicate; a worker ten miles underground could speak to a colleague ten miles above ground, using the antenna between them to connect the signal.
This system replaces the older ‘pager’ model of underground communication, where mines would have to go to pagers, functionally telephones hard-wired to the surface, to speak to their colleagues, either above or below ground. Not only did this system require considerably more extensive construction work and logistical detail than the leaky feeder system, as new pagers would have to be individually installed as mines grew, but was an inherently inefficient system, as all lines of communication would have to go through a single point above ground, regardless of the location of the workers attempting to communicate.
The PBE 112 mine phone, for instance, is a two-way radio that can work with traditional pager-type systems, or be integrated into leaky feeder systems to improve productivity, and serve as emergency lines of communication in the wake of accidents. The phones, distributed by Carroll, are also part of PBE’s fourth generation of leaky feeder technology, which incorporates systems such as proximity alerts, gas monitoring and both text and voice communication.
Atmospheric monitoring tools
This communication system can then form the basis for a number of other tracking and monitoring systems, creating a holistic service that can enable communication for a range of functions across a mine. Haywood has previously used the example of a medically-trained worker who is needed to respond to an injury; they can be contacted through the leaky feeder system, and then directed to the accident by a colleague above ground who can see both their position, and that of the injured worker, on a screen as both are wearing tracking tags.
Similarly, the system can be integrated with atmospheric monitoring tools, enabling workers to locate hazardous gases, and quickly inform workers to leave dangerous areas, all using the same system. Carroll sells and services more than 20,000 products from over 70 distributors, many of which can be integrated with the leaky feeder system, enabling this base communication network to be customized and adapted for individual operations, and tailored to the needs of specific miners.
Furthermore, data recording systems can be integrated with the leaker feeder system, enabling companies to analyse the events leading up to and during accidents, to ensure similar incident don’t happen in the future.
“One of the things they use that data for, that they want to look at and serve operations, is air flow,” said Haywood. “And that’s recorded, in case they want to go back and look and see what that air flow is, they can go back and look at the history of that.”
The MSA 5x gas detector is a particularly powerful piece of air monitoring equipment, able to measure carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and nitrous dioxide in a single device. It comes with five sensors, each of which can be customized to detect specific gases, and alarm when particular concentrations of the gases are detected, making the device highly versatile.