Mining Contract: Smart Escape SCBA
This contract will result in a “smart” self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that protects against threat gasses and provides an extended duration of life-sustaining O2 inhale stream by monitoring the surrounding atmosphere. A smart SCBA that only adds O2 to the filtered air supply when deficiencies are detected, could greatly increase the life of the SCBA with the same oxygen bottle or reduce its size and weight for a unit lasting one hour.
Contract Status & Impact
The contract consists of five main tasks:
- Defining Requirements—The performance and system requirements for the Smart Escape SCBA will be defined. The SCBA must keep environmental stressors within acceptable ranges and provide at least one hour of breathable oxygen supply, assuming there is no oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere.
- Designing the Prototype—AVON will develop a prototype design that will allow the SCBA prototype to be built and tested.
- Building, Demonstrating, and Evaluating the Prototype—AVON will build several prototype Smart Escape SCBA systems to support extensive bench top testing at both AVON and the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) to demonstrate the device’s capabilities. This testing will validate the design against the system specifications and will be used as the basis for the limited production effort.
- Building Deliverable Units—AVON will make any necessary modifications identified in Task 3 and then build 30 intrinsically safe (MSHA) Smart Escape SCBAs to that updated design.
- CDC Testing and Evaluation—AVON will offer on-site support and training to ensure that the CDC/NIOSH test staff have complete familiarity with all operational and maintenance aspects of the Smart Escape SCBA system. NPPTL will conduct the performance testing of the Smart Escape SCBA.
The Smart Escape SCSR (self-contained self-rescuer) is a system that uses a filter self-rescuer (FSR) to provide filtered breathing air and only adds O2 to make up for deficiencies detected in the breathing loop; it could offer a significant increase in SCSR “life” in a smaller package size and weight than a similar duration conventional SCBA. The SCSR would have four major components: the O2 supply, O2 sensing and dosing electronics, a CO FSR, and a carbon bed broad spectrum filter.
The SCSR components have tested well, and the intrinsically safe prototype design has been reviewed by MSHA Approval & Testing and they are waiting for a prototype to test. The 1st prototype is complete and lab testing in atmospheres with variable oxygen and carbon monoxide content has begun.