Collins Report - Volume 2 - Research And Development Contract For Coal Mine Communication System - Section 1 - Analysis Of Mine Communications
Description:A working understanding of present coal mine communications equipment and its usage is an essential prerequisite to the determination of future communications systems needs. As a means of gaining this understanding, a field survey program was planned and implemented. The plan formulated called for obtaining both qualitative and quantitative data from three main areas of interest: the types, physical condition, and performance characteristics of equipment presently used in the sample of mines to be visited; the relationship present communications has to safety and productivity; and the practical, future communications needs as de- rived through interviews with present mine management. In compliance with the original plan, the type and physical condition of equipment in use was found through at-mine interviews of personnel responsible for installation and maintenance. Further evaluation was made through the review of equipment instruction books and maintenance manuals and through in-mine inspection of communications equipment and signal distribution networks. The performance characteristics were determined through listening to conversations and noise levels and by talk-testing from randomly selected stations throughout each mine. System operation was evaluated by asking communication system users their opinions and by noting any difficulties personnel had using the systems. Plans in the second area of interest--that of relating communications to mining operations-- were to observe mining operations and usage of communications; to gain insight through interviews with mine management, from mine superintendents to section foreman; and to look for correlation between communications, production, and safety. Lastly the communication systems needs and requirements were determined from first hand interviews of mine personnel, from the analysis that lead to the individual reports on the eight mines, and from an overview of all of the mines studied. The latter was done to find commonality between the needs of the individual mines such that system requirements having the greatest universal value could be derived, thus lowering per-mine cost of equipment through economics of scale. Armed with tape recorders, backgrounds in communications technology, and with an interview questionnaire that was improved as experience was gained, engineers visited the eight mines to obtain the raw data from which the needs and requirements could be developed through analysis. During the first part of the program two days were spent at each mine so that interviews and tours could be completed, and so that full eight hour shift phone usage recordings could be obtained for statistical analysis. One day visits were sufficient for those trips where tape recordings were not made. During the later trips less attention was given to the statistical nature of communications, and more to how communications relates to the total mining operation.
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