At the recent MINExpo  trade show in Las Vegas, Matrix unveiled its SharpZone technology, an enhanced proximity detection system for scoops and other types of mobile haulage. The system also received a 2021 Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovation Award from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Matrix worked with mine personnel at three different underground coal mines in the Illinois Basin to adapt the IntelliZone proximity detection system to their battery scoops. Using a combination of additional lighting controls, advanced audible alarms and lighting, the company integrated the IntelliZone system and its enhanced SharpZone technology into the machines.

The SharpZone technology allows users to create customized Caution, Shutdown and Operator zones, and this precise programming reduces nuisance alerts. It also creates equipment-specific straight line and angled safety areas for the most effective Caution and Shutdown zones. For example, mobile haulage zones automatically adjust to elongate or shrink based on speed and direction of travel. For continuous miners, zones around the tail automatically shrink in cutting mode and expand while tramming.

In this case, custom proximity zones for each mode of use were configured in IntelliZone software to match battery scoop operation, both in forward and reverse and for angle of articulation since the scoop is a middle-pivot vehicle. The slowdown and optional stop functions were also integrated into the scoop control systems.

Dual-function UVision lights with white headlights in the direction of travel and red taillights in the opposite direction of travel were also integrated into the scoop control system via a custom-developed Input/Output (I/O) IntelliZone computer module. Matrix’s UVision lights include a proprietary combination of UV and LED lights designed to increase the visibility of the reflective material required for miners’ clothing. Additional joystick controller buttons that facilitate audio and visual alarms as well as an enhanced status screen were also included on the scoops.

The new system will be available in 2022 for mines wanting to increase their safety factor on mobile haulage equipment.