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Advanced DrägerSensors detect lower gas concentrations with a faster recovery rate

Mar 5, 2021

Advanced DrägerSensors detected lower gas concentrations with a faster recovery rate, improving safety and productivity. Dräger has provided safety and rescue equipment for generations of miners,  developing a reputation for its breathing apparatuses and cementing the ‘Drägerman’ as an iconic symbol for mine rescuers around the world.

Dräger also offers products that provide exceptional operational advantages, bolstering safety and efficiency to create a safer environment and prevent incidents from occurring at all.
Dräger fixed gas detectors and sensors provide fast and  accurate detection of poisonous gases in harsh conditions,  creating a safer environment for miners and reducing  maintenance and downtime.

Matthew Curtis, Underground Mining Operational Technology & Business Improvement Advisor for Newmont Corporation, put Dräger’s fixed gas detectors to the test – and was impressed with the results.
We spoke to Curtis about his experience with the detectors and how they’ve made a difference in the mine.
Curtis agreed to share his experience, and also provided the measurement data he collected while assessing the equipment.

“The safety of our workers underground is the first and most important thing, and the fixed gas detectors are the first line of defense in detecting poisonous gases underground.”

According to Curtis, there are two major advantages he  observed in his trial for the Dräger fixed gas detectors.
“The safety of our workers underground is the first and most  important thing, and the fixed gas detectors are the first line of defense in detecting poisonous gases underground,” says Matthew Curtis, Underground Mining Operational Technology & Business Improvement Advisor for Newmont Corporation.
“The second advantage is the increase in production. Having a fixed detection system that responds and clears very quickly allows our workers to go underground faster.”
From toxic nitrous oxides to ammonia or carbon monoxide, there’s no shortage of dangerous gases present in the mine. Fixed gas detectors continually monitor these gas levels to  ensure the environment is safe to work in.
Along with naturally occurring gases, exhaust from equipment and vehicles, gases given off from blasts, oxygen and airflow must all be considered and monitored.
After a blast policies and laws usually won’t allow for mines to send workers into an environment until the gas dissipates.  Unfortunately, many older sensors can remain saturated with the gases for some time even after the gas has dissipated from the area, adding to costly downtime.

“The current sensors would hold onto the gas levels, even though the gas would be gone,” explains Curtis. “What we found with Dräger’s was there would be no saturation. They would detect the gas, but they would dissipate immediately after the blast was done. That showed me that they would actually do truedetection, but they wouldn’t be saturated with the NO2 and CO like the competitor sensors.”
The benefit here is clear: less saturation means faster  recovery rates and less downtime, so more time can be spent  underground. This may save hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, depending on the size of the mine.

Drager 2

“Having a fixed detection system that is capable of responding very quickly and able to clear once the gas leaves the area, allows workers to go underground faster,” explains Curtis. “That means increased production of the mines themselves.”

For the trial, Curtis purchased four new units of the Dräger  Polytron® 5100. Cost effective and extremely durable, the  Polytron 5100 boasts a long-life sensor with fast response rates and high sensitivity. The units were tested against four new units of a competitor’s model for one-month. www.draeger.com/en-us_us/Mining/Products/Fixed-Gas-De-tection/Toxic-Gases-and-Oxygen-Detectors/Electrochemical-Sensor-Principle/Polytron-5100

“The Dräger gas monitors outlasted the competitor’s model in the exact same application,” says Curtis. “The Dräger sensors had a 0% replacement rate vs. a 100% replacement rate for the competitor’s sensors. This means we’re more likely to catch  unsafe conditions between preventive maintenance cycles.”
The Dräger sensors also required less maintenance and  replacements, saving time and money on costly underground preventive maintenance trips.
“With the Dräger sensors, every time I sent my instrumentation crews underground, they’re not replacing the entire sensors, all they’re doing is doing bump tests with gases,” says Curtis. “The maintenance was very low and that’s exactly what you want, you don’t want to be replacing entire units and sensors all the time.” Curtis also felt like the granularity in the data provide by the Dräger sensors displayed their accuracy and ability to pick up lower concentrations.

Drager 3

“You can see the nice granular bell curve to show the gas is  dissipating,” explains Curtis. “When you have smooth graph granularity it shows the quality of the sensor itself, and it gives you confidence in the data.”
The performance and accuracy of the Dräger sensors  provided confidence for workers underground who depend on sensor technology to keep operations running safely and smoothly.

Dräger’s extensive experience in gas detection and safety  equipment and focus on quality provides a competitive  advantage in the manufacturing of its sensors and safety  products. “Dräger manufactures all the components that go into the product,” says Kent Armstrong, Global Business  Development Manager at Dräger. “We have complete control over our quality and engineering. We make our own sensors, so we have excellent quality control, and we design each individual sensor and product that we manufacture.”
Since entering the mine safety field in 1907, Dräger has built a reputation for safety and rescue services that safety  professionals and miners have come to trust. Along with fixed gas detection systems, Dräger’s portfolio includes portable gas detection and rescue and safety equipment, including the  popular BG4 respirator.
“The biggest thing with Dräger is they have a reputation for  safety services,” says Curtis. “If we can trust them with our lives, and we can trust them with the lives of our mine rescue  personnel, why shouldn’t we also trust them with our operational technologies with these sensors?”
Interested in a reliable fixed-gas detection system for your mine? Contact us, and we’ll work with you to find the right system for your mine. www.draeger.com/en-us_ca/Applications/Contact-Us




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