Mining Contract: Passive Fiber Optic System for Locating, Tracking, and Communicating with Personnel in Coal Mines
This contract will develop and demonstrate a modified, fiber optic-based perimeter security system to track personnel in an underground coal mine. The system will use a fiber optic cable strung or buried throughout the mine workings that detects acoustic signals from transmitting beacons worn by miners. A second fiber optic line in the same cable will provide two-way communications using optically powered earplugs at designated breakouts. The tracking sensors and communications equipment will not require electrical power underground. Signal analysis equipment at the surface will allow tracking data to be displayed on a central computer and allow emergency communications between miners and personnel on the surface.
Contract Status & Impact
This contract is complete. To receive a copy of the final report, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contractor successfully designed, developed and tested a passive fiber optic system for mining safety. The system was designed to track miners at all times and provide (non-electrical) bi-directional communications in the case of an emergency. With NIOSH personnel, USSI validated the operation of the system at the Pittsburgh Safety Research Coal Mine and the anechoic lab within the Pittsburgh Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA. During this testing, USSI demonstrated the capability of the system to detect miners wearing a USSI beacon under normal mining acoustic conditions. The system distinguished and tracked miners over multiple zones and displayed their locations in a remote building (located up to 1 kilometer away) in real-time. High-fidelity, bi-directional communications were demonstrated between the remote building and a location along the cable 1,200 feet from the surface without the use of electrical power in the mine. Easy installation and retrieval of the system into/from the mine was also demonstrated.
- Detection of Trapped Miner Electromagnetic Signals Above Coal Mines
- Emergency Communications and Tracking
- A Spatial/Spectral Domain Microwave Coal Seam Imaging Sensor-Progress in Signal Processing
- Survey of Electromagnetic and Seismic Noise Related to Mine Rescue Communications: Volume I - Emergency and Operational Mine Communications
- Survey of Electromagnetic and Seismic Noise Related To Mine Rescue Communications: Volume II - Seismic Detection and Location of Isolated Miners
- System Reliability and Environmental Survivability
- Technology News 543 - Reverse Implementation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology for Personnel Tracking in Underground Mines
- Technology News 546 - Medium Frequency Mine Emergency Communications—An Emerging Technology
- Theory on the Propagation of UHF Radio Waves in Coal Mine Tunnels
- Wireless Mesh Mine Communication System
- Page last reviewed: 7/18/2016
- Page last updated: 9/17/2012
- Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Mining Program