Emergency Mining Communication System Approved
System uses magnetic waves to allow trapped miners to communicate with the surface
Following the 2006 Sago mine accident in West Virginia, Gary Smith, a retired Lockheed Martin engineer, wrote a letter to his former boss to see if a technology existed that could improve coal miner safety. Today, a revolutionary system to do just that is now a reality with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration’s approval of Lockheed Martin’s MagneLink™ Magnetic Communication System.
“Now that the government has deemed MagneLink MCS safe to use in mines, we can make the system available to the mining industry,” said Warren Gross, Lockheed Martin MagneLink MCS program manager. “Our expertise in sonar and radar signal processing laid the groundwork to develop this potentially life-saving mining technology.”
Smith’s letter spurred Lockheed Martin to develop a technology using magnetic waves that allows trapped miners to communicate with the surface via text and voice. The through-the-earth, two-way voice and text capable wireless communication system is the only MSHA safety-approved system of its kind.
The system can operate at ranges sufficient to communicate from above ground into deep underground mines. During in-mine demonstrations, MagneLink MCS has successfully conducted two-way voice communications to a depth of 1,550 feet and two-way text communications at depths greater than 1,550 feet.
The rigorous MSHA process included a review of the system’s design specifications and hardware, followed by a series of tests to ensure that the system design and construction complied with MSHA safety mandates.
In June, Lockheed Martin and Carroll Technologies Group signed a reseller agreement through which Carroll Technologies Group will act as the distributor, sales and service supplier of the system. Lockheed Martin will supply the technology and produce the MagneLink MCS systems.
- Feds OK new wireless mine tech to aid mine safety (Associated Press, July 20, 2011)