Originally Published by Northern Light Technologies
Who would have thought that the humble cap lamp would become a hub of technological innovation and safety in mining? Today, Smart Cap Lamps are helping enable the digital transformation of underground mines and providing innovative solutions.
Below is a countdown of the Top 5 Reasons progressive mines are adopting Smart Lamps into their operations:
FIRST – WHAT IS A SMART CAP LAMP?
It’s an IoT-enabled underground mining cap lamp that incorporates tracking and/or proximity tags. It is designed in partnership with 3rd-party solution providers (tracking and prox companies) and may also enable evacuation & proximity warnings, lone worker alerts and two-way communication.
Top Reason #5
MORE & BETTER DATA
As data collection and analysis has become more sophisticated, it is being increasingly mined to identify opportunities for increased productivity. For example, tracking enables problems like processing backlogs or poor allocation of staff resources to be quickly identified and remedied.
Financial benefit: Increased productivity means a better bottom line.
Top Reason #4
MINE CAN USE ITS RESOURCES BETTER
A tracking solution is like lifting the lid of a mine and allowing management to see in real time what is going on. With tracking tags in cap lamps, mines can manage resources better, like being able to quickly locate and direct the closest specialists, such as an electrician or a mechanic, to fix a situation in the mine.
Financial benefit: Saved time and efficient resource allocation resulting in fewer – and shorter – shutdowns provide huge financial payback.
Top Reason #3
ONE CHARGER – ONE RECHARGEABLE BATTERY
The mine doesn’t have to worry about non-rechargeable batteries failing, changing batteries or replacing lamps when the batteries die. Miners don’t have to fret about putting multiple devices on charging stations to ensure they work. If the lamp is on, the tag(s) are powered and working. Additionally, by powering off of cap lamps, a mine can increase the beaconing frequency and tracking accuracy without jeopardizing the amount of time the battery will last.
Financial benefit: Depending on the beaconing rate, tag batteries will need to be replaced every 6-9 months, which involves significant out-of-pocket cost and staff time to do the replacement. By using the rechargeable battery, it completely eliminates the need for disposable batteries for the life of the tag.
Top Reason #2
MINERS PINPOINTED IN AN EMERGENCY
Should an event occur in the mine, a tracking solution can help expedite the evacuation of personnel and help prioritize rescue efforts by pinpointing the locations of miners that might require assistance or identifying occupancy and capacity of refuge chambers.
Financial benefit: No price can be put on the value of a human life.
Top Reason #1
TAG IS ALWAYS ON THE MINER
This is the primary reason mines purchase Smart Lamps!
The tracking and proximity solutions are only as good as the tags, so for mines, it’s critical to make sure they are on the miner at all times. Tags can be forgotten, lost, dropped or set aside, and if miners don’t have the tags on them, the systems fail. One of the major causes of death and injury in a mine are miners getting pinched/crushed by equipment in tight spaces. When miners are wearing their tags, proximity awareness solutions greatly reduce this type of injury.
Financial benefits: 1) Replacing lost tags is expensive. Many tracking tags run $100-$300 and proximity tags cost hundreds of dollars. 2) Any incident involving injury or deaths results in huge costs to the mine – a safer mine reduces likelihood of incidents. 3) Mines can be sure miners are where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Smart Cap Lamps
NLT pioneered the concept of the “Smart Cap Lamp” in 2012 with the introduction of Genesis, the world’s first cordless cap lamp to accommodate a built-in tracking tag (Genesis is MSHA-approved with the Extronics AeroScout tag).
In 2018, NLT raised the bar yet again with the introduction of the semi-corded Eagle and corded Falcon lamps, capable of accommodating not only a tracking tag but also a proximity awareness tag.
Today, we have partnerships with most of the world’s major tracking and proximity providers. To learn more about Smart Cap Lamps, read our blog posts: Interested in the Future of Mining? Then You’ll Want to Know About Smart Cap Lamps and Three Factors Driving the Increase in Mine Tracking.
NLT offers the highest-quality, most cost-effective replaceable battery and cap lamp on the market. Each NLT lamp lasts an average of 5 years and has an inexpensive replacement kit available that can renew it for another 5 years. Compare that to the cost of a throw-away lamp that is good for only about 2 years.