New cable to become lifeline for miners

Updated: 2015-12-18 10:40


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SHIJIAZHUANG - A novel cable designed by a Chinese company could help protect the lives of the country's millions of miners by providing life necessities in times of crisis.

The multifunctional cable uses a stainless-steel tube inside a traditional cable, allowing a way to transfer life necessities such as air, water and milk through the tube during cave-ins or other accidents, giving rescuers more time.

The cable can also help monitor gas density in mine shafts, with an emergency alert activated once any air abnormalities are detected.

The cable, which received a national patent in September last year, was designed by Shenxing Cable Group Co. Ltd., a private enterprise in north China's Jinzhou City, Hebei Province.

"A mature product now has been made and we are going to put it on the market soon," said Liu Zhongjie, board chairman of Shenxing.

China is the world's largest coal producing and consuming nation. Yet its coal mine safety has long been criticized, with many calling them the most dangerous mines in the world.

According to statistics released by the State Administration of Work Safety in March, China has about 10,000 coal mines and more than 5.8 million coal miners. On average, there are millions of workers working underground every day.

The central authorities' newly announced proposal for the country's 13th Five-year Plan (2016-2020) has once again placed people's interests and rights as top priority in China's comprehensive development project.

Work safety in China's coal mines is one of the most urgent problems to be tackled, said a spokesman for the State Administration of Work Safety.

Song Jianchang, an engineer of Shenxing Cable Group, said the cable was created based on the growing need from those who work in mines.

"We got technological inspiration from submarine cables," Song said.

The cable can extend 2,000 meters and is not limited to mining application. Construction of high-speed rail tunnels is another practical area where it could be used, he said.

"As long as there's a tunnel to dig, the cable can help provide a life channel," Song said. "The market will be promising."

Established in 1996, Shenxing began its technological transformation in 2014 as one of the first in Jinzhou City to focus on new technology. It has obtained five national patents so far.

The company has also established a research base at a railway college in northeast China's Liaoning Province and is in talks with more universities and institutions for further technological cooperation.

"The profit I earn from a traditional 100-meter cable is three yuan (less than 0.5 U.S. dollars), and the profit from the patent 100-meter line is 15 yuan," Liu said. "Innovation is the life channel for our enterprise."