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IntelliZone Proximity Detection Brings Patented Ultra-Precision Tracking to the World

The #1 proximity detection system in the U.S. and South Africa is now available worldwide


As seen in Coal International Magazine

In the past few years, laws requiring coal mines to have proximity detection on mobile machinery have been instituted in the U.S. and South Africa. These new mandates are putting a global spotlight on the need for worker safety solutions. The product selected most often to meet these deadlines, Matrix’s IntelliZone, received IECEx approval in 2018. Today, this system is now available in the Australian market and expanding to other countries worldwide.

IntelliZone warns personnel if they are in close proximity to mobile machinery or entering an unsafe working area. Its control system interfaces with machinery, providing the ability to slow down or stop a machine should personnel move into Warning or Shutdown Zones designated around it. Unlike bubble-zone systems, IntelliZone’s proprietary shaped-zone technology allows mines to set custom perimeters around the machines, minimizing nuisance alerts and allowing increased productivity for mines. The system also enables zones to expand and contract based on a vehicle’s speed and direction and only into the path of travel, instead of overlapping into crosscuts or cutouts.

“Precise worker location teaches support personnel where to position themselves to be clear of danger and allow the equipment to do its job,” said David Clardy, president of Matrix. “IntelliZone operating data from more than a decade indicates little-to-no drop in production while providing outstanding worker benefits.”

Celebrating 12 Years of Innovation
Originally introduced to the American market in 2009, IntelliZone was the culmination of a three-year effort to create a next-level proximity detection system for underground mines. When the patent was approved for IntelliZone’s proprietary technology, for the first time, ultra-precise tracking and the ability to define customized shaped zones around each machine was available. This X,Y tracking was revolutionary in the mining market, particularly for MSHA-approved systems.

Before IntelliZone was introduced, only “bubble” zone technology was available. These football-like shapes expand wider as the machine’s zones extend forward, detecting workers on the sides or in crosscuts who are actually in a safe location. In contrast, IntelliZone’s SharpZone technology enables precise worker location around a piece of equipment.

In 2013, Matrix introduced IntelliZone Gen 2, which delivered increased range allowing for use on faster moving vehicles, provided a reduction of electrical noise interference and included a number of features to minimize nuisance trips. An in-cab display for visual indication of zone breaches was also added as well as visual and audible zone alerts on the wearable locator. To ensure system reliability on equipment, components are integrated into the machine and kept inside the machine frame, which means that cables are protected and not exposed.

Because Matrix is focused on continuous innovation, it has recently introduced a number of new features allowing for additional signal diagnostics, machine angle detection and reduced EMI interference as well as a Status Screen that provides detailed on-board diagnostics (critical for quick troubleshooting and maintenance) and a new longer-range driver for higher speed applications.

Today, IntelliZone can be found on continuous miners as well as many other mobile machines in underground mining environments, including shuttle cars, roof bolters, LHDs (load haul dumps), battery-powered scoops and battery haulers. The system has also been successfully installed on articulating haulage. In addition to coal mines, IntelliZone is being used in a variety of soft rock mines and tunneling operations.

“Shaped zones are data-proven to provide a safer work environment underground without a lot of nuisance trips or slow-downs,” said Brian Jones, director of Business Development. “And IntelliZone’s robust component construction provides greater uptime in the toughest environments.”

Safe Practices
IntelliZone not only provides proximity warning and equipment shutdown when necessary, the system is primarily intended to enhance miners’ awareness of potentially dangerous areas around working machinery and instill safe operating practices. Ultimately, IntelliZone’s components, durability and reliability provide the lowest cost of ownership in coal mine proximity detection. Its suite of exclusive features balances safety and production, its precision raises a mine’s safety factor, and it is now IECEx-approved.

IECEx Approval
IntelliZone’s IECEx approval was acquired from the Department of Industry’s Mine Safety Technology Centre in Thornton, NSW, Australia. This certification allows Matrix to enter the Australian marketplace and sell worldwide in other countries that follow IECEx standards. IECEx is the IEC system for certification to standards relating to equipment for use in explosive (“Ex”) atmospheres.

Matrix Design Group
Matrix is a safety and productivity technology leader for underground mining and industrial applications. Its innovative product line includes systems for proximity detection, communications and tracking, atmospheric monitoring, lighting and cameras.

Since 2006, Matrix’s core business has been mining safety. The company designs, manufactures, sells and supports a range of cost-effective new-tech products. While best known for its IntelliZone proximity detection system, Matrix has expanded beyond the underground coal mining industry and now sells into industrial markets globally. Today, the company has introduced – and continues to launch – suites of leading-edge products that help its customers operate more safely and productively.

Headquartered in Newburgh, Indiana, Matrix has offices in Lexington, KY, Johannesburg, South Africa and service locations throughout its mining regions, as well as distribution partners around the globe.