AfroxPac 35i self-contained self-rescuers are collectively carried by underground miners in Africa for more than 1.5 million hours each day, delivering life-saving oxygen when hazardous atmospheric conditions develop.
At the heart of the modernised plant is a high-tech, climate-controlled dry room, essential for handling moisture-sensitive chemicals, which has advanced instrument control and improved ergonomics, allowing for improved material flow and regulation and better production and quality of the self-rescuer.
Peter Rowlands, Business Manager Afrox Self-Rescue Division, says that the Self-Rescue Division is ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO18001 compliant and has an ethos of “A life depends on it” which dominates every aspect of manufacture from production right through to post-production support.
“The AfroxPac 35i is ideal for tough African mining conditions in that it complies with the demanding SANS1737:2008 standard for self-rescuers having the added dimension of accelerated durability testing which does not feature in other international standards. This makes the compliance testing process one of the toughest in the world for self-contained self-rescuer (SCSR) standards,” says Rowlands.
He adds that following the durability testing sequence, the breathing duration results for the AfroxPac 35i show no difference between new and post-durability testing which is a remarkable achievement.
Rowlands notes that a focused research and development team is dedicated to constantly improving the long-term performance of the units and that Afrox prides itself in operating one of the few privately owned breathing simulators in the world.
The AfroxPac 35i was first launched in 2012 and replaced the original AfroxPac 35, with significant advances including improved long-term breathing performance and heat-resistance, increased protection of high-wearing points on the external protective casing, and the inclusion of an internal seal adding an extra barrier to moisture ingress while providing for improved chemical containment.
The AfroxPac 35i is a closed-circuit, chemical oxygen generating, body-worn emergency breathing device primarily used for escaping toxic atmosphere in mines. It has a rated breathing duration of 30 minutes at a test ventilation rate of 35 litres per minute and operates by chemically converting moisture and carbon dioxide in the breath of the escapee to oxygen, while simultaneously sealing the mouth and nose to prevent inhalation of toxic gases. Initiation is immediate, with oxygen generation beginning with the first breath, thus ensuring simplicity and eliminating the need for more complex primary oxygen starters.
The flexible, silicone-based breathing components are hardy and heat-resistant while the 1,2 kg mass of the breathing apparatus is lightweight and the mechanical stabilising of the chemical bed ensures low breathing resistance and long-term performance. The stainless steel, double skin protective casing has excellent leak tightness, essential in humid mining environments, and the shape of the case is ergonomically designed to fit the wearer compactly.
Afrox has successfully designed, manufactured and marketed AfroxPac SCSRs since 1996 and many underground mining workers escape hazardous mining conditions safely each year using the units. AfroxPac 35i meets strict quality and environmental standards and has been proven in independent monitoring of thousands of units selected from the toughest of underground conditions to continue to deliver life-saving oxygen, on average at better than the rated duration of a new unit – even after years of exposure to harsh conditions.
Each of the AfroxPacs are individually serialised and a comprehensive database tracks all information. Product servicing, leak testing and condition monitoring are also provided by Afrox as well as training and repairs where feasible.
Afrox’s self-rescuer was developed in close association with the African mining industry and is 100% locally manufactured and supported, having been tested under some of the toughest mining conditions in the world. Currently AfroxPacs comprise more than 70% of the South African self-rescuer market and are represented in significant quantities across virtually all the hard-rock and many coal underground mining operations.
Afrox is sub-Saharan Africa’s market leader in gas and welding products and constantly strives to meet the needs of their customers and develop solutions that add value to customers’ applications.