Tag Archives: Strata Worldwide

Strata Worldwide acquires AI-backed camera tech company, Bright Path AI

Strata Worldwide says it has acquired the assets and intellectual property rights to Bright Path AI (BPAI) and its artificial intelligence-backed camera solution, developed by Boral Limited and Firetail Pty Ltd.

The acquisition of the BPAI technology and software platform will enable Strata to provide customers with powerful systems that allow operators from several industries – including mining – to improve workplace safety and reporting.

At the core of the BPAI system are two camera technologies: a fixed vision camera system that monitors people on foot in restricted zones, and a mobile digital vision sector – currently in development – which is mounted on equipment to alert operators to pending collisions with personnel or other objects. The technology is designed to provide an extra set of eyes to avoid mistakes while at the same time allowing organisations to monitor, benchmark and report overall performance to achieve data-driven improvements, Strata explained.

“BPAI was initially developed for the construction industry in Australia, but when we reviewed it, we realised that this was easily adaptable to any industrial setting,” Mike Berube, President and CEO of Strata Worldwide, said. “We’re excited to announce this because we see the potential for these technologies to improve safety and operational efficiency in many industrial workplaces across the globe. These state-of-the-art technologies are ideal additions to our product portfolio.”

As one of the largest integrated construction materials companies in Australia, Boral and its portfolio companies tested the technologies across a range of conditions.

Martin Guenzl, BPAI Manager at Boral, said: “Our innovative team and tech partners have worked hard to make this technology a reality as part of our broader commitment to zero harm. We’re proud of what we have developed and will remain a customer of BPAI. We believe Strata is best placed to take this innovative technology into its next phase and beyond.”

While Strata will continue supporting and developing the technology for the construction industry, Berube said the company’s vision is to develop the technology and expand it globally, diversifying into Strata’s primary mining, tunnelling and maritime industries.

Strata Worldwide sets down Canada roots in NORCAT Underground Centre

Strata Worldwide is expanding into the Canadian market with a new partnership and office at the NORCAT Underground Centre in Onaping, Ontario, Canada.

The company officially launched its Canadian regional division, headed up by Ian Cadieux, in September 2020, and this new partnership with NORCAT will, NORCAT says, provide an unparalleled resource in supporting the company’s growth into the Canadian market.

The NORCAT Underground Centre is an operating underground mine developed to provide both practical, hands-on training for new miners in the industry and an authentic environment for innovative partner companies to develop, test, and demonstrate their technologies.

Ian Cadieux, Business Development Manager, Canada, Strata Worldwide, said: “Strata is very proud to be partnering with NORCAT at their Underground Centre. Since the purpose of this operation is to support the mining industry and enhance worker safety, Strata’s differentiated, safety-related product offerings are ideal additions to the facility.”

To date, Strata has installed its Level 9-compliant hard rock proximity detection and collision avoidance system onto an LHD machine and a light-duty personnel carrier at the facility. These installations will demonstrate the accident prevention safety features of the system and be used in training future miners on working alongside proximity detection solutions technology. In addition, Strata has CSE’s long-duration Self-Contained-Self-Rescuer (SCSR) units available on-site. These are the smallest belt-worn, one-hour SCSR units available on the market, according to the company.

Carole Charron, Assistant Manager, Operations and Technology Testing at the NORCAT Underground Centre, said: “We are proud to welcome Strata Worldwide to Canada and be home to their first Canadian office. They have an impressive product line, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the Canadian mining industry. Technology is changing the way we mine, and for the best. Strata’s products, like their hard rock proximity detection and collision avoidance systems, significantly increase the safety of mining operations. It is a valued addition to our mine.”

Strata Worldwide takes advantage of Geoverse ‘5G-ready’ solution

Geoverse, a leading provider of private LTE/5G solutions and the largest neutral host carrier in the US, has announced support for licensed wireless spectrum on its existing GeoCore™ network service platform.

This solution combines low-band licensed spectrum with Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) to form a high performance and reliable private LTE/5G network that enables the adoption of Industry 4.0 for mining, oil and gas exploration, utilities, and other industries, it said.

“It merges the power of CBRS with the performance of licensed 600 MHz and 700 MHz spectrum to guarantee a reliable network where it is needed, supporting voice calling, high-speed broadband and critical low-latency IoT,” the company added.

One company taking advantage of GeoCore and the combined spectrum offering is mining-focused Strata Worldwide.

Tom Michaud, CTO of Strata Worldwide, said: “In such extreme environments, the performance and reach of the low-band spectrum can make it a preferred option for select applications. And, it complements CBRS quite well so collectively they can serve a variety of use cases found across our remote locations, providing a high-performance service connecting users, devices and even delivering highly reliable service for our automated equipment.”

Geoverse offers an option to use its unique GeoCore service platform to deploy the licensed 600 MHz and 700 MHz spectrum from their solutions across 14 western states in the US. “The best part is that since the network uses licensed spectrum it belongs exclusively to the enterprise it serves,” the company explained.

It added: “Industries such as mining, oil and gas exploration, energy, and more have turned to a variety of wireless solutions to try to keep their daily operations flowing smoothly. However, this patchwork of networks can be costly and difficult to manage, while still falling short of the various connectivity requirements. In the era of automation and the digital workplace, inadequate coverage and inconsistent performance can disrupt operations to reduce productivity and impact the bottom line.”

Rod Nelson, CEO and Co-Founder of Geoverse, said private LTE networks meet the design, operational, and performance requirements that heavy industry needs, while giving them authority over coverage, capacity and function.

“By combining the coverage and exclusive use of licensed spectrum with the capacity depth provided by CBRS, we create one private LTE/5G networking solution to satisfy many needs,” he said.

CBRS enables enterprises to deploy and maintain their own networks. Now, with the addition of licensed spectrum, these same networks can do even more, all from a single, scalable, and secure network, the company said.

“The Geoverse 5G-ready solution provides a unique opportunity for enterprises to digitally transform their business,” it added.

Strata Worldwide expands mine safety offering with CSE Corp partnership

Strata Worldwide has signed a new distribution agreement with Pennsylvania-based CSE Corp for the promotion and distribution of CSE’s line of mine safety products.

“This partnership between two well-known safety corporations will further strengthen each company’s support of the mining and tunnelling industries,” Strata said.

The CSE products immediately available through Strata include the company’s range of self-contained self-rescuers, including Biomarine’s BioPak 240R; CSE’s machine-mounted methane detector; the handheld G4 multi-gas gas detector; and the Flame-XM-1 MSHA approved cordless cap lamp.

“We are very excited about this new partnership with CSE Corporation,” Mike Berube, Strata Worldwide President and CEO, said. “Like Strata, CSE is a well-established name in the mining industry and makes best-of-breed products. We look forward to adding CSE’s products into our safety product offerings, while expanding their reach and increasing market share.”

Scott Shearer Sr, Chairman and CEO of CSE Corp, added: “We are excited to partner with Strata Worldwide. With technology playing an increasingly critical role in every aspect of mining, our joint solutions ensure miners remain safe.”

Strata Worldwide will represent CSE in both mining and tunnelling industries of Canada and Latin America, and in tunnelling and select mining areas in the US.

Strata Worldwide provides new safe haven for underground miners

Strata Worldwide says its next generation emergency refuge chamber, the Strata ERCX, is intended to provide greater flexibility for custom configurations, and to implement “many time-learned improvements for occupant safety and comfort”.

The global launch will see the steel-sided, walk-in refuge chamber become available to the underground mining, tunnelling, chemical and other industries where emergency isolation for workers may be required.

David Maust, General Manager of Emergency Refuge Chambers – Americas, said: “We have been engineering and constructing refuge chambers for the global mining and tunnelling markets for over 13 years.

“We have learned valuable lessons from our experiences and through customer input. It was our primary goal to develop a product that would meet the preferences of our customers, and at the same time be easily tailored to meet local and industry-based regulations.”

The ERCX, an update on the company’s ERC chamber, is available in four standard sizes – 8-, 12-, 20- and 26-person – and has select base configurations. It also boasts a comprehensive list of customer preferred options, according to Strata.

“These options range from structural modifications, such as wheel and hitch packages and airlock entrance compartments, to highly sophisticated communications and remote monitoring systems that include several options for establishing a live connection to the surface,” the company said.

Time duration selections include 24, 36, 48 and 96 hours of breathable air and battery back-up on-board supplies.

Strata CEO, Mike Berube, said the company is optimistic about this new product launch.

“As a company, Strata Worldwide is always looking to enhance and expand its safety product lines, and this new design of one of our core products is another step forward on our mission. We wanted to create a globally recognisable product that brings to our customers the latest technologies available.”

The ERCX has earned mining industry certifications from MSHA and ATEX, as well as ITA & BS EN tunnelling certifications, the company said.

The new units are ready to order, with Strata already making its first deliveries this month, it said.

Strata Worldwide’s MC2 certified for underground coal mine use

Strata Worldwide says its StrataConnect second-edition Miner Communicator (MC2) has won IECEx Intrinsically Safe approval, paving the way for it to be used in underground coal mines.

The StrataConnect MC2 (Part No SCT-MC2-03) is an underground personnel communication and location tracking device that operates on the StrataConnect™ wireless mesh network – formally known as Strata CommTrac. Released last year, the unit is designed specifically for harsh underground environments and provides personnel with two-way text communications, real-time location tracking, and both critical alert and response functions, the company says.

Communication messages include peer-to-peer or group texting and can be sent between units underground or to the user interface at the surface. Users have access to a full employee contact list and the ability to create personalised groups, while a full, hard-button QWERTY keyboard and large display screen facilitate fast and easy message reading and response, the company says.

“Miner location tracking is continuously active,” Strata said. “The units ping nearby communication nodes every 60 seconds for monitoring both location and direction of travel. Personnel can utilise the MC2 to locate fellow workers underground.”

The MC2, which is automatically functional on all StrataConnect wireless networks, is worn in a pouch on the user’s belt. Green LEDs on all four corners indicate the receipt of incoming messages, while red LEDs indicate an emergency notification. The device can also be used to send emergency alerts to dispatch if immediate assistance is needed.

Strata says battery life ranges between 24 and 48 hours, depending on use. Recharging takes around four hours, including the automatic update of contact lists which are done at this time.

Strata Worldwide enhances personnel tracking in underground mines

Strata Worldwide has released the StrataConnect™ second-generation miner communicator (MC2) as it looks to improve communication with and tracking of personnel in underground mines and tunnelling sites.

The MC2 device operates on the underground StrataConnect wireless mesh network, formally known as Strata CommTrac.

Strata said: “Designed specifically for the harsh environments in the mining and tunnelling industries, the Strata MC2 provides two-way text communications, real-time personnel location tracking and both critical alerts and response functions for workers.

“Its comprehensive physical redesign and enhancements were geared towards simplifying usability and expanding device functionality.”

Modeled after today’s smartphones, the MC2 has a full, hard-button QWERTY keyboard, a large display screen with multiple character sizes, and an easy-to-navigate operating system, according to Strata.

Its features include one-on-one or group text messaging, the ability to access a full, automatically updating contact list, data storage for up to 500 messages and a rechargeable battery that lasts through multiple shifts. MC2 also provides critical alerts and response capabilities for workers in the event of an emergency, has an audible alarm that ensures miners know when a message has been received and comes equipped with clearly distinguishable emergency messages that allows miners to easily respond with their condition, the company said.

Strata Worldwide ready for another HazardAvert first

Strata Worldwide is building on its Australia-first application of proximity detection on underground shuttle cars in a Queensland coal mine and expects to see the same mine install and commission a vehicle-to-vehicle interaction component within the next 12-18 months.

Strata said earlier this month that, as a proactive safety measure, one of the world’s leading mining companies had been undergoing extensive research on Strata’s HazardAvert® proximity detection technology. The mining client and Strata Worldwide worked together to test and trial the technology in underground coal mining environments, with the miner’s primary goal being to reduce the potential risks to people working in close proximity to mobile equipment.

HazardAvert proximity detection field generators, installed on equipment, form electromagnetic warning and danger zones around the machinery, according to Strata Worldwide. These zones are detected by the HazardAvert Personal Alarm Devices installed on miner cap lamps or worn on the miners’ belt. When the zones are breached, either by a miner entering the zone or by the shuttle car approaching a miner, the system alarms and alerts both parties. To overcome situations where reaction time is limited, the system can be interfaced into the controls of the equipment to automatically slow or stop the machinery, the company added.

Proximity detection has been used on shuttle cars in the US and South Africa for a good few years as regulators in those regions mandated the use of the technology. This Queensland installation is the first approved system to be introduced in an Australia coal production scenario, however.

At the AIMEX 2019 event, Paul Mullins, Global Product Manager for Strata, provided IM with some more detail on this recent project win, which was the culmination of two years of due diligence work at the mine. Over this period, underground shuttle cars were fitted with the proximity detection technology required as they were brought in for overhaul, allowing the mine to keep up with its coal production targets.

The physical installation of the proximity detection system was undertaken at Komatsu’s Rockhampton facility, in Queensland. Komatsu worked with both Strata and representatives from the mine operation to re-design the control system of the shuttle cars to ensure the system effectively integrated with the machine, according to Komatsu.

“In doing so, Komatsu were able to ensure the shuttle car automatically functioned in the manner requested by the mine operation, in the event the proximity detection system alerted the presence of mine personnel,” Komatsu said.

The machine was designed to slow down when miner personnel entered a ‘warning zone’ and stop in the event mine personnel became too close to the shuttle car and entered the ‘stop’ zone.

Komatsu and Strata both worked with the mining operation over the two year period to ensure the relevant hazards were understood and controlled, which has led to incremental improvements being made to the integrated system throughout the trial period.

Strata’s Mullins said the system had been running in sections at the mine since the start of this year, with 40-50 people now equipped with HazardAvert Caplamps. The mine in operation has four production crews, with two of these crews currently using the vehicle-to-personnel proximity system, he said.

By the end of the year, Mullins is expecting all shuttle cars, personnel and continuous miners at the operation to be equipped with the technology. He then expects the mine to move towards vehicle-to-vehicle interaction, which involves adding proximity detection to LHDs at the mine, within the next 12-18 months.

Vehicle-to-vehicle interaction would be a global first in underground coal mining environments.

This is not all for Strata Worldwide, with Mullins saying the company is currently working with other coal mining companies in Queensland on similar proximity detection projects.

Strata Worldwide also used the AIMEX 2019 event to unveil its DigitalBRIDGE Plus+ solution to improve existing leaky feeder systems by “digitising the network and expanding connectivity capacity in the mining and tunnelling industries”.

The solution, produced through an established partnership with Australia-based RFI Technology Solutions, enables mines to upgrade their existing leaky feeder systems to achieve digital high-speed Ethernet capabilities without losing VHF (Very High Frequency) voice communications, according to Strata.

Strata Worldwide achieves HazardAvert proximity detection first in Australia

Strata Worldwide says it has accomplished the first ever application of proximity detection on underground shuttle cars in an Australia coal mine.

As a proactive safety measure, one of the world’s leading mining companies has been undergoing extensive research on Strata’s HazardAvert® proximity detection technology. The mining client and Strata Worldwide have been working together to test and trial the technology in both surface and underground coal mining environments, with the company’s primary goal being to reduce the potential risks to people working in close proximity to mobile equipment.

HazardAvert proximity detection system generators, installed on equipment, form electromagnetic warning and danger zones around the machinery, Strata Worldwide explains. These zones are detected by the HazardAvert Personal Alarm Devices installed into the miner cap lamps or worn on the miners’ belt. When the zones are breached, either by a miner entering the zone, or by the shuttle car approaching a miner, the system alarms and alerts both parties. To overcome situations where reaction time is limited, the system can be interfaced into the controls of the equipment to automatically slow or stop the machinery, the company added.

Following a year of successful surface trials, the mine in question elected to take the technology underground at one of its coal mining operations in central Queensland. Over a six-month trial period, HazardAvert was fitted on two shuttle cars and incorporated into 30 miner cap lamps and used in production on selected development shifts, Strata Worldwide said.

“The mine reported encouraging results and the technology was well received by mining operators,” the company said. “The operation is now eager to expand the trial of the technology into further production panels and outfit the mine’s entire fleet of shuttle cars. This success marks the first Australian underground coal mine to utilise proximity detection technology on shuttle cars in production.”

The company is also considering a test of the systems on other mobile equipment, including personnel transporters, LHDs, shield haulers and a selection of surface equipment.

The head of project execution at the mine site commented that keeping its people safe is always its highest priority, so implementing this technology is a huge step forward in the future of underground mine safety. He continued by saying that the solution opens up the opportunity to use the technology across multiple pieces of mobile equipment and, if implemented correctly, can impact human behaviours in a positive way.

In a separate blog post back in May, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance said it had achieved an “Australia coal first” with a shuttle car proximity detection trial at its Broadmeadow coal mine, in Queensland.

Strata enhances North America roof support, ventilation offering with Burrell Mining pact

Strata Worldwide says it has signed a distribution agreement with Burrell Mining International for the promotion and distribution of the Burrell CAN® and Burrell Omega Block coal mining products to the North America mining market.

These products will be added to Strata’s line of secondary roof supports and ventilation product offerings, available immediately, the company said.

The CAN is a “yieldable secondary roof support” made from a confined core of cementitious composite encased in a cylindrical steel canister, Strata said. “When installed correctly, the CAN has never failed. Its flexible design can be engineered to meet mine-specific load conditions regardless of adverse roof or floor conditions, while the smooth steel skin of the CAN also improves ventilation by reducing air resistance in the mine entry,” the company added.

Omega Blocks for ventilation are specifically formulated building block, three times the size of regular concrete blocks, but significantly lighter in weight to help reduce labour and the installation process, according to Strata. The Omega Blocks are composed of non-toxic, incombustible materials that are fire resistant and impermeable to air. The blocks are fully MSHA approved and ideal for quick construction of underground ventilation stoppings, Strata said.

Bob Weil, President & CEO of Burrell Mining International, said: “Burrell’s reputation as an industry innovator with a history of quality products and excellent customer service makes our partnership with Strata Worldwide a great strategic fit. Working together, we can provide customers throughout North America with efficient and safer secondary roof support products for the mining industry.”

Mike Berube, President and CEO at Strata Worldwide, said: “We are very excited to enter this agreement with Burrell Mining. They are a premier supplier of secondary roof support for coal mining and have an excellent reputation in the industry. The CAN will be a strong addition to Strata’s line of roof support systems and with this agreement we will offer the most complete portfolio of roof support products on the market.”

Strata Worldwide has grown from a company focused on roof supports in underground coal operations, to service mines of all types, all sizes, all commodities and all locations. It says it develops advanced safety solutions for mines all over the world.

Burrell Mining International, meanwhile, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Burrell Group Inc, a family-owned company with business interests in mining products, insurance, real estate and technology. Burrell Mining International operates three plants in the US and two in Australia.