The Altair 4X multi-gas detector from MSA Africa is the only instrument of its kind with ATEX certification. This means the device has an IP67 ingress rating, which certifies it for water immersion.
Visitors to MineSafe and Electra Mining Africa 2016 were treated to a special demonstration by MSA Africa, which saw its Altair 4X multi-gas detector submerged in a tank of water for two hours, after which it was shown to still be in perfect working order.
While ATEX certification requires water immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 m, this demonstration clearly shows that the Altair 4X performs well beyond this minimum requirement, according to MSA Africa.
Water damage is a common cause of failure on most multi-gas detectors, especially in harsh underground mining environments. The exceptional robustness and durability of the Altair 4X is testament to the emphasis that MSA Africa places on the safety of workers.
The Altair 4X has been put through its paces at Harmony’s Bambanani Mine near Welkom in the Free State. One device was dropped accidentally, and run over by a piece of heavy machinery used to convey blast material from the rock face.
Another was caught up in a mud rush, and recovered nearly a month later after a clean-up operation. After a good clean and a replacement screen for the former, MSA Africa Instrument Technician Riaan Swanepoel confirmed that both devices were still fully functional.
Harmony attributes the Altair 4X’s ruggedness to it being water- and dustproof, which makes it perfect for conditions underground. In addition, the mining company states that its Altair 4Xs have not needed a battery change in three years, showcasing the cost-effectiveness of this portable multi-gas detection solution.
The Altair 4X’s rugged polycarbonate housing has allowed it to pass a 7 m drop test onto concrete with flying colours. In addition, a rubberised instrument over-moulding acts as extra armour. The instrument is also available with an optional glow-in-the-dark housing for optimum visibility. A patented catalytic bead support wire protects the methane sensor from shock.
Adding to its impressive credentials is the fact that the Altair 4X is the only multi-gas detector in South Africa to carry the SABS Mark for Flammable Gas Detectors, which means it is fully compliant with the regulations of SANS 1515-1.
The key to the Altair 4X’s effectiveness is the patented XCell sensor, which has a ‘clear time’ response of under 15 seconds. The sensor has a lifespan of four years, which is double the industry average. MSA manufactures its own sensors in-house, with full quality control procedures as per SANS 1515-1.
MSA Africa is a leading innovator in safety technology, as demonstrated by its water-resistant Altair 4X. This instrument is testament to the company’s ongoing commitment to improve safety in all sectors of the South African mining industry.