Shannon Katary, Maestro Digital Mine, considers the best methods of air ventilation in underground mines
The air quality stations need to be cost effective and used with the existing mine infrastructure. As a result, Maestro developed the Vigilante AQSTM air quality station to measure environmental conditions in real-time for worker health and safety and to reduce the total installed infrastructure costs.
The station is a multi-variable air quality station designed to monitor and control air quality in underground mines that accurately measures airflow rate, direction, wet and dry bulb temperature, gas concentration and dust particulates, enabling miners to return to the face sooner and safer. This Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) device connects directly to any network without the requirement of adding an expensive and complex programmable logic controller (PLC). This solution is compact, easy to install and train people to use. Best of all, the system is 50 – 70% less expensive than conventional options.
To ensure worker safety, fixed environmental sensors transmit real-time data from the underground workings to the surface command centre. The real-time data from the sensors allows miners to return safely to their working areas more quickly, allowing significant productivity increases along with monitoring critical areas for potential fires. All critical sensors require frequent maintenance and calibration to maintain accurate and reliable measurements. The previously used technology required underground calibrations at each individual location using test gases and calibration equipment. However, several physical and environmental challenges prevented accurate and repeatable calibrations. Calibrating gas sensors underground is very difficult, time consuming and fraught with calibration errors thereby limiting the confidence of the legacy monitors.
Working in partnership with the mines to meet their requirements, the company aids in installing the Vigilante AQS Air Quality Stations that feature digital gas sensors that can be calibrated on surface in a stable controlled environment. The digital sensors then can be ‘hot swapped’ by a ventilation technician without the requirement of any sort of underground calibration. Built upon the IIoT, the digital sensors compensate for barometric pressure and temperature and have a complete suite of real-time diagnostics to help determine the health of the complete system and provide maximum system uptime.