Saft Technology Selected To Power Miner Tracking System

February 21, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

Saft announced that it has been selected to power MineTracer™, a wireless miner tracking and communication system developed by Venture Design Services, Inc. (VDSI). Utilizing Saft’s MP 174865 IS battery, MineTracer has become the first underground miner tracking system approved by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), a division of the U.S. federal government.

During an emergency, power to coal mines is typically shut off to reduce the risk of methane gas ignition and the obvious danger to the miners underground. In this situation, MineTracer is completely reliant on power from Saft’s single cell MP 174865 IS batteries, installed in the system’s Wireless Access Point. The extended-life lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries were designed to operate under extreme conditions and are capable of transmitting information on the location of trapped miners for at least 48 hours after an accident.

Fatalities have occurred when first responders were unable to quickly locate trapped miners. The MineTracer system uses a wireless mesh network to provide real-time tracking of a mine worker’s location to within 75 feet. Each miner is issued a personal ID badge or a 2-way text messaging locator device that communicates with the Wireless Access Point to continually relay location-tracking data and text between the miner and the system operator above ground.

"Saft is honored to be an integral player in this system which brings higher safety standards to the mining industry," said Thomas Alcide, President of Saft America & General Manager for Saft’s Specialty Battery Group. "Our goal is to provide reliable, high-performance products and we look forward to partnering with VDSI to accomplish this goal by providing a safer working environment for miners."