Strata Safety Products is pleased to introduce a completely wireless, intrinsically safe digital communication and tracking system for underground mining, StrataCommTrac.

StrataCommTrac is a self-forming, self healing, node-based system that communicates on a mesh architecture. It is a simple ‘pick and place’, node-to-node system that does not require a hard-wire backbone or the implementation of a pre-existing communication system.

The system incorporates a network of fixed nodes and personal interfaces which wirelessly transmit data to a surface monitoring station. Each component is individually battery operated; utilizing AAA and D size alkaline cells. Fixed node battery life will exceed one year, with no recharging necessary, and no external power source required.

StrataCommTrac is designed to comply with MSHA’s PPL #P09-V-01 by providing post-accident two-way communication between miners underground and surface operators, as well as real-time electronic tracking. With the use of small mobile communication devices which are carried by the miners at all times, communication with the surface can be achieved through canned and freeform messages or pager functions. These compact, lightweight units are designed to attach unobtrusively to a miner’s belt or vest.

Additionally, for miner tracking, the mobile communication device automatically transmits identification data every 30s and is received by all fixed nodes within signal range. This capability enables the tracking of a miner within 200ft throughout the entire mine. The tracking information is mapped and logged on the user-friendly graphical user interface located on the surface.

“We are very excited about our new wireless communication and tracking system,” company president, Rory Paton-Ash said of the system. “Both underground and above-ground testing have yielded very successful results. We expect MSHA approval shortly and are able to provide system proposals immediately; including in-mine evaluations.”

A significant advantage of the StrataCommTrac communication and tracking system is the simplicity and low cost of the components and the ease of their installation. Rugged 12.5in x 4in x 3in nodes, which include internal antennas, are secured in strategic locations around the mine where they are immediately operational, and simple battery or node replacement eliminates the need for costly repairs.