Electromagnetic coal face environmental observation and recognition for feats in process optimisation and occupational health and safety

According to Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in the United States approximately 22% of all mining-related fatalities occurred due to visibility issues of machinery in coal mines. Moreover, as the attention of mining machine operators and supporting personnel is divided among a variety of tasks, they need to be actively warned if they put themselves or someone else in a potentially dangerous situation (see figure below). Therefore, a universal system to prevent accidents and collisions is highly required.

Latest developments in the field of Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS) developed in the USA and Australia have been introduced especially in Room and Pillar Coal Mines around the world. The available technology however is not mature. False alarms are triggered on a high level with the result: operators either ignoring the collision alerts systematically or disabling the system out of sheer irritation. In addition, the compliance with the requirements for functional safety is not taken into consideration.

The aim of FEATureFACE is to combine the strong points of multiple technologies and to compensate the weaknesses of each single technology, resulting in a breakthrough multi-technology-product. It depicts the world´s first fail safe mining machinery solution that is capable of increasing safety and productivity. The picture below shows the principal concept of the 360° 3D FEATureFACE approach, which is a combination of different sensor technologies: For contour observation and recognition the beams of passive 2D radar sensors are shown in two alternating reddish colors. The long-range RFID/RTOF system is pictured by orange, transmitted circular waves, while the short-range electromagnetic field of the signal-strength-measurement system is colored in blue. Together with several partners, the IMR will develop this ground breaking technology.





This project “FEATureFACE” has received funding from the European Community's Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) under grant agreement no. RFCR-CT-2012-00001.

Project Duration:

Till October 2015