Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace in modern day life and are starting to become implemented in the underground space. However, for the foreseeable future we will still utilise diesel equipment to mine, load and haul material. Refuelling both on the surface or at underground fuel bays can be hazardous for heavy equipment due to a variety of different reasons.
One incident that I have experienced during my time within the mining industry, is a piece of mobile equipment leaving the fuel bay whilst still refuelling at the “fuel farm”. Whilst this may sound an unlikely circumstance, loss of focus or change of conditions can easily distract a miner from the task at hand. The resulting change of events can cause significant damage to fuelling infrastructure, creating a spillage of diesel and potentially a fire event.
RCT have developed a simple to install protective solution for this problem, which acts as a deadlock for heavy haulage refuelling. The “Muirhead Fuel Cap Isolation System” is designed to prevent the miner from accidentally driving away during the refuelling process. It does this through a two-part design and associated telemetry.
This system works by isolating the ignition system when the miner removes the fuel cap from the mobile plant. This then signals, via a small control panel, that start is inhibited to the operator if they do jump into the cab and try to drive off. Once the cap is placed back correctly on the fuel insertion point, the isolation will be disabled allowing the machine to continue with its days’ work.
A simple addition like this to mobile plant can assist with reducing refuelling hazards and safeguarding those completing the task. It would be an easy and cost-effective solution for those both above and below ground who want to safeguard their operators, mobile plant and infrastructure.
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