Essential Tips for Enhancing Safety in Mines

If you are working in a mining environment it is absolutely crucial that you are working in safe conditions. Using any type of electrical equipment will put you at risk for injury or potential fatalities. Situations can quickly escalate in a mine and making sure that you can manage these situations will ensure that you can prevent risks and enjoy uninterrupted operations. Here are some of the top tips for handling construction and any electrical materials in a mining environment!

Proper Installation Techniques

Proper grounding of any system in a mining environment is essential. Using proper cabling and ensuring that any type of heavy-duty electrical wires and cables are able to be installed can be a crucial step. Power distribution systems, construction electrical materials which are approved for use in mining and other safety considerations all need to be met. In order to avoid parking, sparking, electrical shock or overheating it is also important to ensure that any conduit fitting or conductor is well insulated. With this improved insulation it is possible to avoid high resistances and problems within any of the systems.

Proper Equipment

The compatibility of equipment is crucial and this means having proper labeling to ensure clear use, proper padlocks and more for protecting staff. Low-voltage equipment is often the best type of equipment for mining; having workers using DC handheld equipment in highly conductive areas is crucial to preventing accidents. Restrained or bolted plugs and sockets can prevent system changes and lock out unauthorized workers from operating sensitive equipment.

Emergency Plans

Enhancing safety in the mine also means having a proper emergency plan. Make sure that all applicable emergency equipment can be found at regular intervals throughout the mine and make sure that your workers are trained in the event of an emergency. Having a backup electrical power source and critical support systems can ensure that there can always be a supply to crucial items like ventilators and lighting.

Consider some of these top tips so that you can remain safer in your mining environment!

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker/SMC! For nearly a half a century, Becker Mining has been at the forefront of industry safety. Becker/SMC is the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical control systems. Most of the major innovations, design features and specialized electrical components have been developed by Becker/SMC.

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How Do You Build Carbon Fiber Wings That Don’t Flutter?

Carbon fiber has proved itself a valuable material for manufacturing aircraft. It is exponentially stronger and lighter than both steel and aluminum, making it a perfect replacement material in the quest to build ever larger planes with increased capacity. But wait, not all is sunshine and roses.

Using lighter materials comes at a trade-off. For example, carbon fiber wings are more prone to a phenomenon known as flutter thanks to their light weight. This phenomenon is nothing to scoff at and has been known to down a plane.

So how do you build carbon fiber wings that do not flutter? By embedding prototypes with sensors, putting those prototypes through extensive testing, and analyzing the signal data. Then you take all that knowledge and apply it to designing new wings and on-board monitoring and adjustment systems.

Building Wings in Europe

Building a better carbon fiber aircraft wing is the goal of a project known as Flutter free FLight Envelope eXpansion for ecOnomical Performance Improvement (FLEXOP). The European project is a partnership between multiple educational institutions and private sector aerospace organizations. They embarked on the project after realizing that European aviation was falling behind the U.S.

FLEXOP started out with the focus being primarily on active flutter control. It wasn’t long before directors expanded the mission to include passive load alleviation. In other words, they combined sensor-based mitigation technologies with a carbon fiber design to come up with a better wing that not only resists flutter but also better manages it when it occurs.

The Problem with Flutter

In aerospace, flutter is the undesirable oscillation of any part of an aircraft. It is especially problematic for wings. When a wing begins to oscillate, or vibrate if you will, it creates a couple of problems. First, a fluttering wing makes an aircraft harder to control. Significant flutter can cause pilots to lose control completely.

The other problem is that excessive flutter can actually cause an aircraft to break apart. If you have ever seen those old films of bridges swaying and breaking apart in the wind, you understand the problem. Flutter can distort aircraft wings to such a degree that they simply break up.

Figuring Out a Solution

Engineers working on the FLEXOP project have designed a carbon fiber wing with built-in passive load alleviation. They did so by aligning the fibers in their carbon fire material in different ways before testing each configuration for load alleviation. Meanwhile, another team was developing an array of sensors.

FLEXOP’s carbon fiber wing was eventually fitted with hundreds of electronic sensors along with traditional gyroscopes and accelerometers. The wing was then tested under a variety of different conditions so that data could be collected and analyzed. This allowed engineers to do two things.

First, the data helped them see what they were dealing with in terms of passive load evaluation. They have since used that data to design a wing that can actually twist and turn as needed to alleviate flutter. Second, they used the data to build new avionics that assist on-board computers in maintaining control when flutter does occur.

According to California’s Rock West Solutions, a big part of the project’s success lies in signal detection and analysis. Signal analysis is more or less the science of taking all of the data produced by an array of sensors, filtering out the noise, and providing actionable data that engineers can use to further their efforts.

So, how do you build a carbon fiber wing that does not flutter? By utilizing aerospace sensors and signal analysis to tell you exactly what is going on.…

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Preparing the Industry to Deliver Trains for the future:

The rail network across the UK is looking towards cleaner modes of transportation for the year 2020. Making efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and create net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is going to take a number of substitutions. A new focus has turned to transportation and this is one of the largest carbon-emitting sectors in the UK.

Around 27% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the UK were caused by the transportation network and finding a way to store with rail is an excellent way to reduce this carbon output. Delivering transfer the future starts by changing over a rail network to an electrified process.

There is still a number of concerns when it comes to pollution from the transportation sector. Many people in the UK are still continuing to buy new cars. With over 7200 vehicles on order at any time in the UK, this represents a large number of potential pollutants in the transportation market.

It will take a change in mindset to ensure that the public in the UK is utilizing the electric train system. Keeping new trains in the system and ensuring that older vehicles can be replaced will help to improve carbon emissions over time. Utilizing our current resources can be important but carbon icing is the only way that it will be possible to reach the goal by 2050. Shifting towards a cleaner mode of transportation will take a change in mindset as well as a change in building innovation.

A new and efficient rail network for the future can deliver green transportation for everyone in the UK. As we work towards this goal, numbers of the public will have to continue to adopt this mode of transportation in order to see funding for these future electric projects.

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Swartz Engineering. For nearly a half a century, Swartz Engineering has been at the forefront of industry safety. They are a family-owned company specializing in power distribution for the electrical industry. They are the leading manufacturer of E house substations. Our design ensures maximum flexibility for excellent reliability and a high return on investment.

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Hydraulic Control Valve – All You Need To Know About It

The basic function of a hydraulic control valve is to direct or regulate the flow of any liquid medium properly. The liquid is usually oil that runs through the hydraulic system. The position of the spool in the hydraulic system happens to determine the direction of the flow of oil and the system will only function according to the use of valves. Thus, valves are essential for any hydraulic system and you should choose the right type to make the system work as per requirement. The size of the hydraulic valve depends on the maximum pressure and flow of the system.

A basic description of the hydraulic valve:

A hydraulic valve is a basic mechanical device that opens up and closes in order to control the flow of the liquid. Valves are used in almost every industry and thus the variety is enormous. From high-end engineering and automobile industries to the basic foundries use valves. Funnily enough, you will find valves on a machine that produces valves. A hydraulic control valve is quite unique as it can withstand 3000 PSI and even more liquid pressure. Thus, these valves have to be made from strong and heavy iron or steel as per the requirement. Durability is one of the most important qualities that should be checked for while procuring these valves.

The construction should be such that the valve can contain the hydraulic pressure and also function smoothly and with perfection. The valves should not be affected by the high force exerted because of the pressurized liquid. The hydraulic control valve is a mechanical device that moves loads and actuators. While it might sound quite simple, it actually involves complex processes in order to make them work as per requirement. Some valves are operated mechanically using knobs, handles or cam, but there are pilot operated and solenoid operated valves as well. Some valves utilize the circuit pressure to function, such as a relief valve. The hydraulic control valve can also be operated using levers, cables, torque, plungers, motors, etc.

Different types of hydraulic valves:

Now that we have a fair idea about what is a hydraulic valve and how it works, let us take a quick look at the usual types of valves that are commonly used in industries. The three main categories of the hydraulic control valves are:

  • directional control valves
  • flow control valves
  • pressure control valves

Apart from that valves can also be categorised according to their functions or requirements, such as:

  • Hydraulic valve by function: Sequence valve, directional valve, Pressure reducing valve, relief valve, and flow valve
  • Hydraulic valve by working type: Continuous regulating valve and on/off valve
  • Hydraulic valve by control: Hydraulic transmission, manual operation, Pneumatic transmission, mechanical drive, Solenoid proportion drive, Solenoid drive, electric hydraulic drive
  • Hydraulic valve by inner sealing: Ball valve, Spool valve, Spool poppet valve, poppet valve

Every type of valve function differently and has a certain unique function. Choosing the right type of valve will help you have a smooth and uninterrupted process in your factory.

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Yes – Floating Restrooms Are a Real Thing

Go boating on California waterways and you may run into something very few people outside of California are familiar with: floating restrooms. Yes, floating restrooms are a real thing. They are so real that California’s Division of Boating and Waterways is currently accepting grant applications meant to encourage the purchase and deployment of new units.

The floating restroom program is nothing new, and California has been doing it for years. Every year the state offers grants provided by a partnership between state and federal agencies. This year’s total grant amount is $840,000. Government agencies hoping to purchase their own floating restrooms can apply for grant money.

Keeping Sewage out of the Water

Floating restrooms are deployed for the express purpose of keeping sewage out of waterways. They are typically deployed in areas with heavy boating traffic but limited land access. Using one is as simple as pulling up, tying off, and boarding the vessel.

The Division of Boating and Waterways says that its floating restrooms have a 500-gallon capacity. That is quite impressive. The restrooms have recently been redesigned to comply with ADA guidelines as well. Now it is up to the Division to see to it that agencies have the necessary resources to deploy the floating toilets.

If you have never seen a floating restroom, it looks a lot like a larger version of the portable toilets seen at public festivals. Take one of those portable toilets, mount it on a floating platform, and equip it with a solar electric system and you have a floating restroom. The platforms are towed to their sites and anchored in place.

Keeping the Restrooms Clean

Perhaps the biggest challenge of deploying floating restrooms is keeping them clean. Alsco, a Utah company that specializes in washroom supplies, explains that restroom cleaning is an important part of encouraging people to use public restrooms. Simply put, people do not like using dirty restrooms.

If California hopes to maximize the use of their floating restrooms, they will make regular cleaning a priority. Whether that means sending cleaners to the sites or bringing the floating restrooms in for service,  establishing a routine cleaning schedule is key.

Routine cleaning would obviously start with emptying storage tanks. Then the units would likely be hosed down and disinfected. Finally, fixtures would probably be replaced along with air fresheners. A thorough cleaning and sanitizing would prepare a unit for redeployment.

A Good Idea in Principle

At first glance, it might seem as though deploying floating restrooms is a waste of taxpayer money. But it is actually a good idea in principle. Floating restrooms help keep raw sewage out of waterways by giving boaters another option. So far, more than 260 units have been deployed on California waterways since the early 1970s.

Like so many things government attempts, the actual effectiveness of the floating restroom principle relies on placement, cleanliness, and a willingness among boaters to use them. The Division of Boating and Waterways claims that their floating restrooms keeps in excess of 1 million gallons of sewage out of California waterways annually. That is a lot of sewage.

Hopefully, state agencies will avail themselves of both the grants and the floating restrooms themselves. If the restrooms do indeed keep that much sewage out of public waterways, they are well worth the investment.

What do you think? Are there floating restrooms in your state? And if so, would you be willing to use one while on the water? The floating restroom concept is certainly an interesting one. It makes for a viable restroom facility even away from land.…

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5 Creative Ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle your Plastic Crates

A plastic storage crate can be used for various purposes with the main intention to store and protect items. However, certain storage or protection can be temporary and the need for plastic crate may become redundant. Instead of keeping it to attract dust, it can be used in other ways you would not have thought of. Here are five ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle your plastic storage crates.

1. Set of Drawers:

With the aid of wallpapers, glue, and creativity, you can transform your storage box in a set of drawers which can be used as a table and a piece of furniture. Crates can be stacked on top of each other for space efficiency and you can beautify your drawer by painting over them or sticking wallpapers.

2. Cat Litter Boxes:

While it is still a box for storing, you definitely will not be keeping the contents for long. These recyclable litter boxes are cost-efficient and simple to make. Cut a hole on the lid and deposit sand into the crate. The crate structure is most efficient for this as you can simply toss out the contents and refill the sand conveniently. Optional steps include decorating or sticking cloths on the lids for additional aesthetics and comfort. There you have it, a simple cat litter box.

3. Jewellery Storage Organiser and Transportation

Metal rods can be inserted through the top sides of a plastic crate with a drill. Jewellery such as necklaces, chains, and earrings can be hung for storage or transportation. This use of a plastic crate is great when it comes to preventing entangling of the chains.

4. Mini Pond

By capitalising on the waterproof aspect of plastic, you can dig a hole in your backyard and fit the plastic storage unit in. You can fill it up with water, insert an air pump and put some aquatic plants in. The result is a mini DIY pond that does not cost a lot and you can recycle some plastic.

5. Pet Home

Depending on the size and sturdiness of the plastic crate, it can be transformed into a home for pets. You can drill, stack and connect boxes to create an intricate layout for small pets like rabbits or hamsters. Certain plastic crate is transparent so you can enjoy the labour of your works while your pet enjoys their new home.

These are some of the ideas that we generate for the use of plastic storage crates. Plastic crates are durable and have many uses, hence throwing them away would be a waste. It is important to understand the impact of making plastic and how it harms the environment. Therefore, it is important to reuse, reduce and recycle your plastic storage crate wherever possible.

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