Updated: Mar 21
Methane gas and coal dust explosions are a constant safety risk during coal mining. Various mitigation controls are used today. The primary differentiation will be controls to either prevent an explosion or to stop an explosion once it has ignited. Common explosion controls will be active or passive explosion barriers. These barriers will be incorporated either in legislation or a mine’s Code of Practice. Both types of barriers have been tested according to accepted protocols. These protocols would meet the requirement of a barrier to stop and suppress explosion.
Recent developments in South Africa
In April 2020 the South African Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) published an update on the Prevention Of Flammable Gas And Coal Dust Explosions In Collieries. Annexure 4 of the guideline refers to the "Design, installation, maintenance and monitoring of barriers to prevent the propagation of coal dust explosions". The MHSC states that this annexure must be complied with and incorporated in the mines Code of Practice (COP). As per paragraph 4, Active Roadway Barriers can be used to enhance the safety of roadways in the mines.
What are Active Roadway Barriers?
Active Roadway Barriers are automatic explosion suppression systems design specifically to stop and suppress methane gas and coal dust explosions at the point of implementation. Machine Mounted Barriers will be integrated in continuous miners such as "Explospot Ready" Komatsu HM31, Sandvik MC470 or Eickhoff CM2H continuous miners, stopping a methane gas explosion at the ignition source (coal face). Active Roadway Barriers will be installed on e.g. FLSmidth, Komatsu Feeder Breakers and stop a methane gas and coal dust explosion prior entering the conveyor roadway. Standalone systems can be installed in other entry and return airways.
Why use Active Roadway Barriers?
Explospot Systems' Active Roadway Barriers push the suppression material into the explosion and create a barrier at the location of the nozzles. This mechanism increases the effective area of the barrier and thereby allows transparent risk management for that area.
The space claim of active barriers is far less than the passive barriers. Due to the dynamic design possibilities of these type of barriers, the space claim can be located outside the working (moving machinery) area.
Practical implementation shows that the total lifecycle cost within a 2000 m roadway will be less when using an Active Roadway Barrier compared to a passive bagged barrier.
Active Roadway Barriers are extremely mobile. Considering a barrier being installed into a feeder breaker will enable the barrier to always move along as the roadway advances.
No working at heights.
Clear and transparent operator interface using real time monitoring and indication.
The design of a active barrier is easy to implement, along with its adaptation to a new environment.
Secondary safety enhancements through digitalization integration. All Explospot Systems' Active Barriers are IoT ready. Thereby monitoring from a control room can be implemented and push notifications can be sent to the service and maintenance teams.
It is proven that Explospot Systems' Active Roadway Barriers outperform the specifications defined for explosion barriers in underground coal mines.
How can I get more details?
Explospot Systems is the only OEM of proven Active Roadway Barriers. With more than 25 years of experience and research, we are eager to assist you to solve the safety challenges.
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