One of the very first articles I completed for this website was based on the wide variety of cap lamps that are available on the market. Corded, cordless and even asset tracking devices are all now being used Underground.
As part of this early article, I reached out to Shane at MineARC, who I had the pleasure of meeting back in 2018 at a corporate box invite to a West Coast Eagles game! Rest assured this isn’t a regular thing for me (I have not stepped foot in a box since!!) but it was good to reconnect with Shane and the team at MineARC at the start of this project and find out what cap lamps they had in their range.
Fast forward six months and the MineARC team have recently launched their new top of the line, SiriUS-LUX LED cap lamp. This corded cap lamp comes with features that clearly show that significant R&D has been carried out ahead of this launch.
If we look at the SiriUS-LUX, it appears like something from the future. With its low-profile interchangeable battery unit, to its twin beam helmet mounted torch, it has clearly been designed with the underground miner in mind. The hardware is connected via an ingenious spiralled cord, which allows the miner some play if their cord gets wrapped around a piece of mesh or car part whilst down the hole!
I was fortunate enough to be gifted a unit for trial whilst away on site near Leonora and I took the lamp down for four shifts of work. The battery was a nice fit on my belt and its slim design meant it took up minimal real estate. The interchangeability of this battery is clever, as it allows for upgrading or replacing of batteries without disposing of the whole cap lamp unit. This is particularly important as the ever-growing number of sensors and chips for tracking people underground, can easily be implemented at a later date if required.
The light that the four-stage dual beam the unit emits underground is very bright and white. The different settings are interesting, but a luxury rather than a necessity in my mind. The settings trigger different combinations of LEDs from the head mounted lamp – my two favourites were setting 2 and 4. Setting 2 delivered a genuine background light style that was perfect for reading plans and emulated daylight at close range, a full backdrop of light in the surround. Setting 4 distributes a long range and full drive illuminating display. It was significantly more powerful than my daily corded cap lamp and my co-workers were also impressed with its illumination whilst on our shift.
Further to these settings it is also worth noting that there is a turbo boost mode! As surveyors we can often work close to a stopes brow and need to try and assess the shape of the underground void before us. This feature worked really well at fully illuminating voids to the same intensity as using a separate torch! It is worth noting that this level of lighting, although available in short bursts, would drain the battery if fully engaged in circa 6 hours. So, it is great for certain tasks but not a full shift!
The cap lamp also has an automatic light adjustment function, that is controlled by movement when engaged by the onboard buttons. This allows a handsfree approach to changing the cap lamp brightness for those with either full or very dirty hands (think charge-up and service crew). This functionality I trialled for one shift, but it wasn’t really that applicable to my job role.
In summary the MineARC SiriUS-LUX cap lamp is a well-designed system that allows businesses and individuals to customise their cap lamps into the future. This is especially relevant as the industry moves toward more integrated tracking systems for underground workers. This system is the range topping device, so it has significantly more bells and whistles than most of its competition, with not all features a certain requirement in my opinion. That said, the clever and functional design additions to this corded system make this a solid purchase proposition for the modern underground miner!