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Global contact Jörg Springer Vice President Global Marketing & Communications +49 511 676 2516
Area Contact Paula Mennone-Preisner Marketing and Communication Specialist +1 203 630-3311-1809
24-Jun-2007 Print page

RADIAFLEX approved for coalface wireless communications

Recent significant changes to US mine safety legislation have thrown down a challenge to a wide range of technology providers--and none more so than the wireless communications sector. Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) has been one of the earliest responders to this challenge. The company’s foam-dielectric coaxial radiating cable, RADIAFLEX, is one of the first radiating cable products to meet the new 2006-requirements and obtain US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) certification.

According to RFS US Business Development Manager, Suzanne Kasai, new mining communications systems and their components must be certified ‘MSHA approved’, to comply with the latest US mine safety requirements. The RADIAFLEX RCF12-50JFN half-inch diameter radiating cable achieved this approval. “The cable was subjected to a month-long qualification process to certify that it possesses advanced fire-retardant characteristics, crucial for mining applications,” said Kasai. “It passed with flying colors.”

One company that has incorporated RADIAFLEX into its innovative mining solutions is leading US mining solutions group, Pillar Innovations. A subsidiary of Beitzel Corporation, Pillar Innovations, recently paired with leading mining automation and communication system provider, Becker Electronics, to develop turnkey wireless communications systems for some of the largest coal mines in the US, including one of the country’s largest longwall coal mines, located in Pennsylvania. The Pillar Innovations/Becker Electronics-designed system is based on a combination of passive and active RF technology and is founded on RFS’s RADIAFLEX cable.

In addition to obtaining MSHA approval, the RFS radiating cable was the focus of a number of end-user practical tests. In conjunction with Becker Electronics, Pillar Innovations deployed the RFS cable in numerous ‘room and pillar’ coal mines with differing geometries, and assessed its lateral coverage, and signal attenuation and propagation performance.

“We were extremely impressed with the performance of RADIAFLEX,” said Pillar Innovations Project Manager, Adam Brenneman. “Unlike legacy ‘yellow-stranded’ VHF cable, the RADIAFLEX cable boasts high signal propagation. It retains signal strength in cable runs of up to 400 meters (1,300 feet), allowing us to minimize the number of in-line amplifiers. With installations incorporating up to 32 kilometers (20 miles) of RADIAFLEX cable, this provides a real cost saving to the end-user.”

Additionally, RADIAFLEX has the advantage of supporting UHF. “The broadband nature of UHF communications enables the transmission of voice, data and video,” said Brenneman. “UHF systems also allow users to seamlessly upgrade to wireless LAN (WLAN) services, which will become increasingly prevalent in mining applications. Wireless networks that employ RADIAFLEX are future-proofed to some degree. RADIAFLEX allows for sufficient expansion up to 6GHz.”

The future of coal mining in America looks bright. “Underground communications systems are likely to become increasingly implemented in new and upgraded coal mines throughout the US in the coming years,” said Kasai. “RFS is mining-ready, with approved technology and the know-how to strongly support the US’s mining communications development.”


Trademarks: RADIAFLEX®, Radio Frequency Systems® and RFS® are all trademarks, service marks or registered trademarks of Radio Frequency Systems.

Company background
Radio Frequency Systems is a global designer and manufacturer of cable, antenna and tower systems plus active and passive RF conditioning modules, providing total-package solutions for wireless infrastructure.

RFS serves OEMs, distributors, system integrators, operators and installers in the broadcast, wireless communications, land-mobile and microwave market sectors. As an ISO compliant organization with manufacturing and customer service facilities that span the globe, RFS offers cutting-edge engineering capabilities, superior field support and innovative product design. RFS is a leader in wireless infrastructure.

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