Light under the ground
In places where there is absolutely no natural sunlight the issues of illumination are especially important. Not only productivity but the safety of underground workers relies on proper lighting.
Safety is all but the main characteristic of lighting systems designed for underground operations. If there is no seepage of combustible gas and dust in a mine the use of lighting fixtures of standard mine designs is possible. Wherever there are gas and dust in the air, enhanced safety systems are needed. Mining facilities classified for extreme gas or dust content require special explosion-proof equipment.
This means that devices need to be designed so that not a single electrical arc or spark “leaks” out. In coal mines with large quantities of methane gas (CH4) and airborne dust any such “leak” could result in a fire or an explosion.
Explosion-proof lamps are designed so that none of the possible “micro-explosions” triggered by electrical currents get out of the device. For this purpose their casings are made of impact-proof materials resistant to aggressive chemical environments. They are completely airtight and protected against overheating. A special heat removal system makes such lighting systems usable at temperatures of -60 to +60 ̊С. In excessive concentrations of combustible substances in the air a special relay shuts the power off.
Fixed sources of underground illumination are installed at pit bottoms, at underground workshops and garages, in depots, warehouses, medical facilities, at main gangways and airways, cross-drifts and in workers pathways. Such devices are powered by the normal electrical grid.
Portable lighting – handheld and helmet lamps – are mainly battery-powered. According to safety regulations they shall “labour” continuously for at least ten hours without charging.
Nowadays in pits and mines tungsten filament and fluorescent lamps are used. They are, however, pressed hard by LEDs, mainly of explosion-proof designs.
LED explosion-proof lighting systems “overtake” their colleagues in a number of characteristics. They have no stroboscope effect: luminous intensity does not vary throughout the voltage range. Continuous operation period of such modules is about fifty thousand hours. Furthermore they are cost-effective, have no special disposal requirements and do not harm the environment.
In the Russian Federation LED explosion-proof lighting systems are produced today by Veland, AtomSvet, Cortem Goreltex, Gagarinsky Plant of Lighting Equipment, and Prokopyevsk Svetotechnika Plant. According to experts’ opinions domestic LED equipment is equal in quality to similar imported products, for instance to lighting fixtures manufactured by the Czech Vyrtych Company or by the global CORTEM GROUP.
Today explosion-proof LEDs are internationally considered the future of underground lighting.
I would like to start the review of this model by reminding you that lighting fixtures of this type are designed for general illumination of rooms with extreme operating conditions and of facilities requiring maximum protection against dust and humidity. These are, as a rule, production plants, oil and gas extraction facilities, chemical and energy generating enterprises including atomic power plants. Such lighting systems are also perfectly suited for illumination of warehouses, tunnels of various types, hangars, storage facilities, etc.
It should be specifically noted that these lighting systems use LEDs manufactured by the Japanese Nichia Corporation. These LEDs have built-in shunting systems with luminous efficiency of no less than 130 Lm/Wt. The lighting systems can also be equipped with LEDs produced by Cree, one of the world’s leaders in the production of these innovative light sources.
This example has a modular design and is made of pressure cast aluminum. The body has a metal powder coating and provides reliable protection of the lighting system. I would like to point out the built-in easy-to-replace driver that enables control of the lighting system’s main operational characteristics, and Revolt has Class II electric shock protection. A version with a built-in dimming system (a light intensity controlling device) is also offered, which is equipped with a built-in power equalizer (cos ϕ no less than 0.98). According to the manufacturer this version has an overheating protection system. Its operation is based on measurement of temperature of the lighting system’s body with built-in sensors and automatic control of the driver mode of operation. The lens system of the lighting system is integrated into a protective cover and is made of a special-purpose polycarbonate made by the German Bayer — Makrolon® chemical corporation and has an optical transmission coefficient of no less than 87%.
This model’s special features are the absence of flicker and a high colour rendering index, which reduce visual fatigue of workers and consequently reduce workplace accident rate.
AtomSvet’s lighting systems are used quite effectively at the facilities of such companies as "MMC "NORILSK NICKEL" OJSC, “Uralkali” JSC, Metrostroy, Federal Highway Administration Agency “South Baikal”, “YUNG-SERVIS” LLC — “NK Rosneft” OJSC, “Philip Morris Kuban” OJSC, “Kovdorsky GOK” OJSC, AvtoVAZ and many others.
Vadim Dadyka, General Director of AtomSvet OJSC (Moscow):
Today LED lighting systems are recognized as the lighting systems with the most effective light sources. Economic experts confirm a high demand for energy efficient lighting in the Russian Federation, especially in the industrial sector since our country has a vast field of application for these technologies. According to forecasts the market for LED lighting will grow at a very fast pace, and even now it offers a wide selection of explosion-proof lighting systems.
After you have picked a specific lighting system we advise you to examine its design, the quality of its components, assembly and output control. A responsible producer should have strict requirements to both the lighting system’s design and to its manufacturing technology for a commercially manufactured product. When choosing a lighting equipment supplier for an industrial enterprise one needs to pay attention to the following issues: firstly the explosion-proof lighting system must have a Conformity Certificate with the TR TS 012/2011 Standard. The Certificate should be issued by a well-known and reputable certification authority. Secondly, the producer should be well known, have an impressive reference list and a project portfolio.
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