Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 45 of 75

HEALTH & SAFETY 44 E&MJ • JULY 2018 quality, air flow and energy expenditure automatically and can significantly re- duce energy consumption and ventilation costs, according to the company. Diana Baldeon, global product manag- er for Serpent Ventilation at Epiroc, said, "With the launch of Serpent Automatic, we are taking a giant leap into the future to- ward a more modern, reliable and cost-ef- ficient automatic operation." The Serpent Automatic module minimizes energy con- sumption while ensuring compliance with environmental requirements and regula- tions. Sensors regularly measure carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels to determine air quality, then automatically adjust fan speed to continuously ensure adequate air flow and a well-regulated un- derground work environment. Existing Serpent fan stations, as well as other VOD systems, can be conve- niently upgraded to include automatic functions, according to Epiroc. Serpent Automatic is delivered as a central mod - ule that is mounted onto the base station, while the sensors are placed in the tun- nel or mine. "Easy installation saves both time and money," said Baldeon. "It has been very important for us to create a tru- ly installation-friendly solution. The only thing you need is a wireless network." In a project directly linked to worker safety from a different angle, Nick Chris- sos, director of innovation–Europe for networking specialist Cisco, recently de- scribed a partnership between Cisco and AI startup company Cortexica that will fo- cus on an autonomous monitoring system that assures safe working environments. Chrissos said it will be called AI-SAFE (Automated Intelligent System for Assur- ing Safe Working Environment) and will combine real-time video analysis with ad- vanced algorithms and machine learning to ensure that employees are correctly kit- ted out with the safety gear they require. AI-SAFE will be able to match what an employee is wearing — including head- gear, eyewear, footwear and other Person- al Protection Equipment (PPE) — against preset rules of entering a work area. Non-compliant or missing equipment will trigger an alert, and access to the work environment will be restricted until the person in question is properly equipped. As Chrissos pointed out, equipment checks are nothing new, but typically they're conducted by a person and, there- fore, prone to human error. AI-SAFE aims to eliminate that issue. Mounted above entry and exit points of working environ- ments, the technology replaces the man- ual spot-check system, and is suitable for any number of different applications and environments. The collaboration is being funded by Innovate U.K. What's considered critical safety gear for workers also may change, as wearables designed to handle communications, loca- tion, physical status monitoring and other tasks continue to evolve. Looking beyond the current crop of devices designed to monitor and report, some organizations are looking at a more robust types of wear- ables, such as those that physically aug- ment a worker's capabilities. For example, Turin, Italy-based Co- mau, a developer of industrial automation solutions, recently unveiled MATE, an innovative wearable exoskeleton. MATE, according to the company, is designed to improve work quality by providing consis- tent and advanced movement assistance during repetitive tasks. The MATE exoskeleton, employing an advanced spring-based passive struc- ture, delivers lightweight, breathable,

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