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Underground coal mine tracking and communication system reliability and availability methodology

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2014, Vol. 336, No. 1, pp. 426-434

Wisniewski, R.; Schafrik, S.


Every underground coal mine in the United States must deploy and operate a wireless communication and electronic tracking system. This paper addresses the reliability and availability of an installed tracking system and the communications infrastructure that supports it. This paper assumes that the tracking system uses the communication system to perform its operation. A particular interest is the requirements for the systems to operate continuously without failure after a mine disaster for 24 hours, and the requirements in the MINER Act for the tracking systems to be “functional, reliable and calculated to be serviceable” and the communications systems “redundancy.” These requirements imply a certain reliability and availability. This paper describes a quantitative way to assess these systems requirements, using tools that are available to and commonly used by the reliability, maintainability and availability community.