Intrinsically safe extra long distance pullkey in underground mines

At long last – an extra-long distance, intrinsically safe pullkey system for the mining industry

Guduza System Technologies (GST) has answered the call in the mining industry for an ultra- long distance, intrinsically safe pullkey for conveyor belts in underground coal mines. With the launch of the IPS3030 Pullkey system for conveyor belts, Guduza has unlocked a solution to hedge the safety risk in underground coal mines in South Africa. The Pullkey System is for extra-long distance in unsafe areas, which will help mine operators comply with the Mine Health and Safety Act.

Intrinsically safe pullkeys prescribed by law

MHSA obligates mines to use equipment that is intrinsically safe within a 180 metre region from the coal face, where explosive gases are present. And pullkeys are no exception. In accordance with this legislation, pullkeys for conveyor belts in this area must have an intrinsically safe (IS) or flame proof certification.

Common constraints in long distances (malfunctioning sounder)

Guduza states that there are huge implications of malfunctioning pullkeys in underground mining operations. “Pullkey systems are an integral part of the underground production infrastructure providing the prestart alarm, as well as a lockout mechanism along the length of the conveyor belt. These systems are installed for the safety of mine personnel as well as for operational reasons.”
Guduza cites the pullkey sounder for PSA that is not proven as one of the unsafe problems with regards to conventional type of pullkey. The standard approach to overcoming this problem is by monitoring the current flowing through the sounder, thereby indicating that the sounder is working.
However, this method of detecting a defective sounder is still not foolproof as the sounder could be blocked with mud stopping the sound, giving an unsafe situation.

The IPS3030 pullkey fills the gap

Instead, the most effective approach is to monitor the actual sound coming out of the sounder, which is achieved by placing a pickup (microphone)
outside of the enclosure, thus physically listening to the sound. Filling the gap, GST Guduza’s new IPS 3030 caters for this situation.

Designed keeping downtime in mind

Ken Swanlund, MD of Guduza says that the IPS3030 Guduza developed pullkey systems was designed with understanding of the huge impact of downtime on production in mining. “While, ideally, electronic systems are designed to minimise down time, sometimes they can fail themselves, resulting in downtime of conveyor belts. The design of Guduza electronic systems takes this into account by producing pullkeys known for high reliability and quick maintenance.

The production process in the factory also has an important part to play in maintaining a high quality level, with Guduza’s established quality policy catering for in-process check points in addition to the standard end-of-line quality inspection, reducing the latent faults that cause problems for the mine down the line.”

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