Applying decades of experience with today’s advancements in technology, underground mine safety practices have been able to evolve over the years.
Operations have discovered it is imperative to have a contingency plan in place for the possibility of an event that could leave miners unable to evacuate. The necessity to supply a source of breathable air, isolated from the surrounding atmosphere, has led to the development of emergency refuge solutions for countless underground facilities around the world.
Strata Worldwide is a global leader in emergency refuge and first launched its line of solutions in 2007. It was the first company to introduce a completely powerless unit for use in underground coal mines. Since that time, Strata has continued to improve and enhance the product-line and has recently adopted a new manufacturing process that has transformed this offering and enabled Strata to supply a truly universal design.
The Strata ERCX is a steel-sided, walk-in refuge chamber intended to remain operationally ready at all times. It is designed to provide immediate shelter and breathable air when the air in the working section has become compromised. The ERCX can be effectively integrated into all types of underground mines, tunneling construction, chemical plants and at drill sites. Coal mining units are powerless and self-contained, with all necessary supplies on board.
Sizes of the standard ERCX range from 4 to 30-person capacity and have select base features and configurations. The standard supply duration is 36 hours, with 12 to 96 hours being available options. The Strata ERCX includes a comprehensive list of customer-preferred options, and chambers can be built to meet the individual needs of each industry and operation.
LIVE MONITORING & COMMUNICATIONS
Connecting the underground ERCX to the operation’s main communication networks for live connectivity is a capability every chamber is designed to include. With the use of StrataConnect DigitalBRIDGE or DigitalBRIDGE Plus+, operations can connect their fibre or leaky feeder networks to the chamber and establish communications and remote monitoring.
DigitalBRIDGE utilises industrial grade coaxial cable to extend the operations existing fibre network. DC power is then inserted into the coax cable and powers end-point devices inside the chamber.
DigitalBRIDGE Plus+ digitizes leaky feeder networks, enabling the interfacing of fibre optics with leaky feeder to insert high-speed Ethernet data without interfering with the VHF radio communications. DC power is then also inserted into the leaky feeder to power end-point devices.