Kathrin Geisler discusses Ex-protected mobile thermal imaging in the mining industry
The issue of competitiveness is increasingly important in modern mining operations. To produce cost-efficiently at the highest level and to constantly maintain the equipment, mining operations depend on effective and reliable machinery, infrastructure and mainly, on a higher level, an outstanding networked system. In addition to the most important issue of all, employee safety, the topic of predictive maintenance is high on the agenda. A plant failure not only entails high costs but, in the worst case, can also have catastrophic consequences for the safety of the staff.
The Importance Of Thermal Imaging
Fortunately, nowadays, fires and explosions in mining have been greatly reduced by the highest safety standards. Today, the number of incidents caused by electrical ignition sources is low, and they mainly occur in coal mines with heavy coal dust exposure. Mining companies rely on thermal camera technology in a wide range of maintenance areas to detect any potential heat generation and, therefore, potential explosion hazards in most environmental conditions.
Application Range Of Imaging Technology
As the conditions in mining are generally dusty, all special equipment must not only be ATEX/IECEx explosion-proof but also certified for mining use. Thermal imaging technology is used in the mining sector both with fixed cameras and with mobile cameras to detect any heat energy. The areas of application range from monitoring and inspection of shafts, conveyor systems, engines of machines but also of trucks used for the transport of metals or minerals, compressors to deposits and for industrial cables. On the forefront, the drill heads are therefore protected from overheating. In coal mining, in particular, the stored coal must also be constantly thermally monitored so that spontaneous combustion cannot occur.
An expert in intrinsically safe mobile devices and solutions, i.safe Mobile, recently introduced an attachable thermal imaging camera with ATEX/IECEx approval for mobile use in the mining sector. In combination with the industrial smartphone IS530.M1 (via the Seek Thermal app), the thermal imaging camera module IS-TC1A.M1 records temperatures in the Ex-range from -40°C to 330°C in a matter of seconds. The thermal images and videos are processed and documented directly via the ISM interface of the IS530.M1 smartphone. Through the flexible use of mobile thermal imaging technology in combination with a wide range of digital partner solutions, alarming results can be forwarded immediately, and problems can be resolved before a serious crisis situation arises.
The devices in the M1 product line are popular in the mining sector due to their very high level of safety. The product suite is complemented by the IS930.M1 tablet and a high-performance scanner, IS-TH1xx.M1.
Kathrin Geisler si with i.safe Mobile