The test, completed at Shendong Coal Group’s Da Liu Ta mine in Shenmu County, Shaanxi Province, was the largest underground manned test performed to date in the world. It was conducted in an active coal mine using a fully-occupied 16-man chamber over 96 hours. All life support systems were used as intended and each system performed exactly as designed to meet the stringent requirements of the new Chinese standards.

“The information and knowledge we obtained from this manned test cannot be learned through calculations and laboratory testing,” said John Reinmann, vice president of engineering, Strata Worldwide. “Participants provided invaluable feedback that will help us improve our designs and enable us to develop better chambers in the future.”

Pre- and post-test medical exams were performed on the mine personnel participating in the test, and individuals were monitored around the clock both underground and at the surface. The entire mine management team was also on hand to support the miners and offered congratulations to the testers at the test’s conclusion.

“We are very pleased with the success of this project, and are happy to note that all participants were in perfect health following the test,” said Zhang Richen, chief engineer of safety, Shendong Group. “Safety has always been of highest priority to the Shendong Group, and working with reputable products and skilled personnel from Strata Products Worldwide was a great opportunity.”

The Strata Fresh Air Bay is intended to be deployed in emergency situations to provide breathable air, food and water to sustain the lives of trapped miners for a minimum of 96 hours. The popularity of the Fresh Air Bay is credited to its proven ease of handling, maneuverability and positioning in mines as well as a variety of large capacity offerings (16 up to 36 miners).