Maximizing Electrical Safety in Mining
Electrical hazards are one of the top five major causes of fatality in surface and underground mining. (1) This can occur from exposed wiring and cables in wet / damp climates, dust and gases generating fires or explosions, inadequate lockout / tagout, system failure components, arc flash, etc. (2)
While there isn’t one perfect solution to minimize these fatal risks, there are tools to help keep efficiency high while minimizing electrical hazards and prioritizing the safety of miners. For example, MELTRIC, a company that designs durable plugs and receptacles for the safety of its end users is a beneficial tool to help minimize risks like an electrical shock in a mining environment.
High Ampacity Plugs for a Safer Environment
MELTRIC manufactures a range of durable plugs and receptacles, including Single Pole (SP) high amperage plugs and receptacles and CS1000 high amperage plugs and receptacles. These plugs maximize safety, convenience, and performance for miners.
The CS1000 and SP Series single pole devices are designed to maximize safety, performance, and durability. Both product lines feature IP2X finger protection that protects users from live parts, and mechanical keying systems to prevent the insertion of wrong phases. The CS1000 features a locking pin that prevents accidental connection or disconnection under load while SP devices are equipped with pilot contacts for the same purpose.
SP plugs and connectors are designed for safety and durability. Each device is mechanically interlocked with an integral pilot circuit switch to control the power circuit in order to prevent connection and disconnection under load. For instance, if someone were to come along and try to disconnect one of the plugs, they’d have to turn the collar and that would open the safety pilot contacts which would break the circuit, then the motor control circuit (MCC) would turn around and shut the whole system down so when the plug is ultimately disconnected there would be no arc hazard.
The pilot contacts within this device are strictly for safety purposes. This stops anybody from being able to unplug the device while it is live. Mechanical coding prevents intermating of phases and the horsepower ratings for these plugs are only valid if they are wired in a specific way, as shown below.
Other features of SP plugs & receptacles:
- CSA listed
- 600A, 600 VAC, 500 hp
- IP66/IP67 environmental ratings
- Mechanically interlocked pilot circuit
- Poly casings
- CE configurations up to 700A, 1000 VAC/1500 VDC
- Silver, butt-style contact technology maximizes durability
CS1000 High Amperage Plugs and Receptacles
MELTRIC CS1000 plugs and receptacles vary slightly from the SP plugs and receptacles. Like the SP Series, CS1000 plugs are finger-safe and have mechanical keying positions so you can’t intermate the wrong phases, but they do not have pilot contacts. Instead, these devices require a locking tool so that only authorized personnel with this key can unlock the plug from the receptacle.
In many mining applications, the plug and receptacle will be locked together to avoid the power being shut off unexpectedly or locked while not in use and for lockout tagout purposes so it cannot be plugged in while someone is doing maintenance.
Other features of CS1000 plugs and receptacles:
- UL/CSA listed
- 400A, 600 VAC
- IP66/IP67 environmental ratings
- Poly casings
- CE configurations up to 400A, 1000 VAC/1500 VDC
- Silver-nickel butt contacts for superior performance and corrosion resistance
Plugs with Benefits
In addition to all of the safety benefits, these high ampacity plugs help in the effort of electrification. Moving away from diesel-operated power and replacing them with electric motors. Benefits of electrification include operation efficiency, sustainability, reduced costs, and waste, and more specifically for underground mining electrification allows for improved air quality and a reduction in air exchanges.
To learn more about high ampacity plug offerings visit https://meltric.com/products/high-amp
MELTRIC is and has been a safety leader in the electrical products manufacturing industry for more than 40 years. MELTRIC designs and builds quality electrical connectors with the primary focus of ensuring electrical and user safety. Since 1982, MELTRIC has manufactured hundreds of thousands of electrical plugs and receptacles for North America that are used safely and without incident in diverse applications in almost every industry.
MELTRIC manufactures a full line of industrial plugs and receptacles, including signature brand of UL listed Switch-Rated devices with DECONTACTOR™ technology and push-button circuit disconnection. Other safe and reliable industrial plugs and receptacles manufactured by MELTRIC include multipin, high amperage, single pole, and hazardous location devices. Additionally, MELTRIC uses their devices combined with third-party components to produce custom power distribution units, including portable rubber boxes, mobile or stationary multigang steel enclosures, dual voltage wall boxes, circuit protected receptacles, and more.
Visit www.meltric.com to learn more about their safe, innovative plugs and receptacles.
- (2012, November 8) “Mining Program: Occupational Safety and Health Risks” Center for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/mining/risks.html#:~:text=On%20the%20basis%20of%20the,slips%20and%20falls%2C%20and%20electrocutions Accessed 28 Sept. 2022
- Schiltz, Nick. (2022, August 31) “Why Mining is One of the Most Dangerous Industries for Electrical Safety” Automation dot Com https://www.automation.com/en-us/articles/august-2022/why-mining-dangerous-industries-electrical-safety Accessed 29 Sept. 2022