HomeFeatures & AnalysisMineARC system delivers the next level in refuge chamber technology

MineARC system delivers the next level in refuge chamber technology

A new MineARC system delivers the latest “ground breaking” innovation in refuge chamber technology – the Compressed Air Management System (CAMS).

After more than a year of research, development and testing, MineARC’s engineering team have developed a breathable air system that is unique to the market; offering a range of new features aimed at reducing running costs and improving operational safety during an emergency.

“We are excited to roll out this unique piece of equipment across all MineARC Refuge Chambers in the coming months,” says Paul Ness, MD. “It marks the beginning of a new era of refuge chamber technology in the industry, with MineARC continuing to remain at the forefront of innovation.”

One of the major benefits of the CAMS is its optimisation of mine air services and guarantee against over pressurisation of the refuge chamber. “The unit features an air pressure sensor and shut off valve, allowing it to regulate air flow into the chamber by automatically emitting periodic ‘bursts’ when internal pressure drops below 200Pa,” says Daragh Quinn, lead engineer in charge of the CAMS Project.

CAMS on chamber minearc
MineARC’s Compressed Air Management System (CAMS)

“This maintains a positive pressure ‘seal’; ensuring contaminants cannot enter the refuge chamber from the outside”. MineARC’s studies have shown that over a 12 month period, CAMS can equate to significant financial savings of around 80% in mine air usage.

In addition to providing clean, breathable air through a four-phase filtration system, the MineARC CAMS features some unique functions that protect occupants against carbon monoxide (CO) and water ingress in the air supply.  “In the case of a mine fire, there is always a risk that CO can be drawn through the compressed airline,” says Quinn. “The CAMS gas toxicity monitor automatically diverts mine air away from the chamber if Oxygen levels in the airline fall below an indicated level”.

The systems’ flood protection valve automatically shuts down mine air in the event of water infiltration to the air supply. The valve seals shut until the water source is removed, avoiding catastrophic and costly damage to the refuge chamber.

The MineARC CAMS features a precision engineering quick release clipping system for easy filter change-out. The clip-in/clip-out design, unique to MineARC, means no more screwing in filter elements and housings, and no damaged parts due to wear and tear. Compared to the current standard, service time will be reduced by approximately 80%; allowing personnel to service five chambers in the same time it would usually take to service one.

Since July 2015, all MineARC Refuge Chambers feature the CAMS, replacing MineARC’s current three-phase mine air filtration system. Currently owned chambers can also be retro-fitted with the CAMS upon request.

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