Bronze Medal at IWIS 2019

IWIS – the International Warsaw Invention Show – is the largest international event related to innovation and inventiveness in Poland and one of the biggest in Europe. In recent years, IWIS has attracted representatives from many counties in Asia, Africa, America and Europe, with delegates attending from Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Egypt, Iran, Canada, Malaysia, Korea and the United Kingdom, in addition to more local countries.

Recently, Polish and international inventors have presented more than 400 inventions at each year’s event. We are pleased to announce that, at IWIS 2019, which was held in October 2019, INDIRES project partner GIG received a bronze medal for the composite prop that they’ve developed in the project. The prop is much lighter than conventional roof supports, and will be used by rescue teams to secure the roof during rescue operations, or to stabilise emergency tunnels that have to be bored to provide access to areas of the mine cut off by falls of rock.

Fifth Partners’ Meeting

A couple of weeks ago, the INDIRES consortium met in Essen, Germany, for our fifth official partners’ meeting. Hosted by project partner DMT GmbH & Co. KG, the formal part of the meeting, held on Tuesday 8th October, involved a representative of each organisation delivering a report on their progress and achievements. In particular, each partner outlined the progress they’ve made since we last got together in April, presented their major achievements, and discussed the planned work for the next six months of the project. In addition, the University of Exeter, as project coordinator, hosted a discussion of various organisational issue concerned with the timely and successful completion of the project. Particular attention was given to the important issue of field trials, which will take place in the closing stages of the project, and which will involve testing equipment developed in the project in real coal mines in Poland and Slovenia.

The second day of the meeting involved a visit to the training mine at Recklinghausen. This facility has galleries that are typical in size to those in working mines and is fitted with real mine machinery, but there is no possibility of explosive methane being present, which means that there are no restrictions on equipment that can be used in the mine. Because some of the equipment being developed in INDIRES will not progress, during the project, to being certified for use in explosive atmospheres, this is of potential use for testing equipment developed in INDIRES. With this in mind, therefore, following the visit, a short follow-up meeting was held to discuss testing opportunities.

International Mining Fair

One of the first developments in INDIRES to be finalised, went on display to the public this week. Project partner GIG was one of 350 organisations from 12 countries to exhibit at the International Mining Fair in Katowice, Poland. Prominent on GIG’s exhibition stand was a prototype of their novel prop, made of composite materials for reduced weight, which is intended to support the roof of temporary tunnels that are excavated to provide access to trapped miners, following a serious incident in a mine that had cut off the normal routes to the area.

Second INDIRES Newsletter

The full results of the project will be publicised in the official Final Report after the completion of the project but, so you can follow progress throughout the course of the project, we will publish project newsletters at the end of the first and second years of the project.

Published in September 2019, the second project newsletter provides an update on the progress we’ve made during the project’s second year. You can view or download it from the Public Documents section of this website.

Fourth Partners’ Meeting

Organisations involved in the INDIRES project got together in Spain last week, hosted by project partner University Carlos III Madrid, for our fourth six-monthly progress meeting. We are now just over half way through the project and have recently submitted our first official report. Although that report documents the very significant amount of work that has been carried out to date, there is still a lot more to do as we approach the final year of the project during which several of the developments will be tested in working coal mines. Each project partner described the work they’ve been involved in since we last met six months ago, and also said something of their plans for the immediate future. Following the main meeting, and emphasising the collaborative nature of much of the work, several partners had a separate technical meeting.

After the formal part of the meeting on the Tuesday, we were given a tour of the Robotic Lab at the University Carlos III Madrid on the Wednesday. First of all, we saw one of the robots that’s being developed in INDIRES, for investigating parts of a mine affected by an accident, to help rescue controllers to decide whether it’s safe to send human rescue personnel into the area. We were then shown a wide range of robots being developed for other projects. Included here were industrial robots, a robot that is able to bore through the ground, and several robots that have been developed for medical therapeutic purposes.  We were quite amused by a small, fury, talking robot which is able to engage with children, with an initial application in the paediatric department of an oncological hospital.

Third Partners’ Meeting

The INDIRES consortium met together in Slovenia last week, hosted by project partner Premogovnik Velenje, for our latest twice-yearly progress meeting. It seems hard to believe that we have now met together on three separate occasions and that we are approaching the half-way point of the INDIRES project. However, the presentations given by each partner, detailing the work they have carried out in the five months since the previous partners’ meeting, served to illustrate the large amount of work that has been carried out since we first met together, almost exactly a year ago.

One of the strengths of the INDIRES consortium is its interdisciplinary nature. Indeed we have partners who are involved in coal production and researching new mining technology through to partners who are contributing their specialist skills such as radio communication and robotics. The underground trip into the Velenje Coal Mine was, therefore, a valuable experience for those people who have valuable technical skills but do not have a mining background. These people reported that the trip was invaluable in providing a better insight into the environment and the harsh conditions in which the equipment being developed in INDIRES has to operate and survive.

First INDIRES Newsletter

The full results of the project will be publicised in the official Final Report after the completion of the project but, so you can follow progress throughout the course of the project, we will publish project newsletters at the end of the first and second years of the project.

Published in September 2018, the first project newsletter provides some background information on INDIRES and describes some of our achievements during the project’s first year. You can view or download it from the Public Documents section of this website.

2nd Partners’ Meeting

KOMAG hosted our second Partners’ Meeting in Gliwice, Poland, on 18th and 19th April 2018. On the first day, each partner organisation gave a presentation on the research they’d conducted during the first 9 months of the INDIRES project. It was encouraging to see the significant amount of progress that has been made so far and the collaboration between partners, both of which give us confidence that a very successful outcome will be achieved. The first day concluded with a discussion of organisational issues.

The second day started with a presentation on their organisation by project partner the Silesian University of Technology. This was followed by a tour of the University’s laboratory and workshop facilities. In the afternoon, partners were taken to a nearby museum based around a former mine. In a change from coal mining, however, the mine at Tarnowskie Góry had been a major producer of silver, lead and zinc. A closing ceremony was held at KOMAG’s offices.

Kick-off Meeting

INDIRES partners got together for the first time for the project kick-off meeting which was held in the former coal mining area of the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, UK. On Tuesday 19th September 2017, representatives of the consortium each gave presentations, introducing their organisation and outlining the research work they will carry out during the three years of the project.

On 20th September we had a visit to the Mines Rescue Station at Dinas, which is operated by MRS Training & Rescue. Operations Manager Mark Tibbott gave a presentation covering the history of mines rescue in the UK generally, and South Wales in particular. Following this, Mark led a tour of the rescue station’s facilities, that are used both for operational purposes and for rescue-related training. We are grateful to Mark and MRS Training & Rescue for providing this valuable insight into an area that is central to the INDIRES project.

Finally, we had a fascinating visit to the Rhondda Heritage Park which is a coal mining museum based around the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery which operated from 1850 to 1983. Our guide, Graham, described the dreadful working condition in the mine’s early days and spelled out the scale of mining disasters in South Wales.

The explosion at the Senghenydd Colliery in which 439 miners were killed is well known. Perhaps a more chilling statistic is that, in the late 19th century, a miner was killed every six hours. While the mining industry can take comfort from the fact that such disasters are a thing of the past, there is no place for complacency and we hope and expect that the INDIRES project will further reduce the adverse impact of mining on the lives of those who work underground.

INDIRES Starts

The INDIRES project started on 1st July 2017 and will run for a period of three years.