Mining Publication: Evaluating Performance Characteristics of Machine-Mounted Methane Monitors by Measuring Response Time
Methane monitoring at the mine face is essential to assure a safe work environment in underground coal mines. Machine-mounted methane monitors must be used to continuously monitor methane levels during mining. Monitors used on mining machines must be approved by MSHA and properly maintained to provide protection for workers (30 CFR 75.342). To provide protection the instrument must give accurate readings of current methane levels. Accuracy is maintained by calibrating the instrument with a standard gas at least once every 31 days. Instrument "response time" determines how quickly measurements will change to reflect current concentrations. At present there are no criteria for measuring the response time for a machine mounted methane monitor while underground. This study examined a procedure for measuring the response time of a machine-mounted methane monitor. Response times were measured using methanometers obtained from three different manufacturers. The effects of the measurement technique and methanometer sensor head design on response time measurements are investigated. Techniques for reducing variation in response time measurements are discussed.