Communication is crucial in the underground mining industry to provide a safe, productive and profitable operation. The smartcom® Leaky Feeder System gained Becker Varis an international reputation. Becker Varis is also a leader in underground blasting systems as a result of the smartblast® product line. Smartblast is a safe, reliable and cost-effective blasting system which uses the Leaky Feeder as the communications backbone. There are over 500 smartcom systems around the world. Becker Varis’s most recent introduction is the new smartsense® gas monitor.The smartsense fixed monitor SSFM-100 is a configurable multi-gas, four channel high accuracy gas monitor with full range temperature compensation. The smartsense product line has been designed to strict international standard and manufactured to local and international regulations to insure a high-quality and reliable product for the harshest of environments. Its all-in-one package eliminates the need for complex cable connections and troublesome programming. Becker Varis says “out of the box the SSFM-100 is the most versatile and hassle free Atmospheric and Environmental System on the market with multiple international certification approvals.”With its unique 360° Alarm® function the SSFM-100 is capable of monitoring any combination of gases. It allows for customer expansion with a wide range of external inputs. With its integrated controller, smartsense functions as a black box storing critical information such as calibration records, alarm history and data logging for post-accident investigation. Three fully programmable alarm set points for Alarm and Output controls along with Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) and Time Weighted Average (TWA) limits displayed on the extra larger LCD display makes it possible to view the reading from up to 5 m away. An auto-adjustable backlight and a wide range of mounting and connectivity accessories make it suitable for both underground and surface applications.The maintenance of the SSFM-100 system is minimal outside the normal practice of calibration and preventative maintenance. Depending on the client’s needs these can range from monthly or quarterly inspections. The SSFM-100 has an exceptionally long sensor life and can be extended by doing preventative maintenance and insuring the SSFM-100 sensor intake areas are cleaned and not obstructed. Calibration for the system is straightforward, with no need for complicated cables and connections. Only a basic understanding of calibration practices, calibration gases and our custom accessories are needed. Simply put in the password and follow the screen prompts. The watchdog feature will alert the user/maintenance staff of any system errors including when the system has detected inaccurate measurements or calibration errors both locally thru the maintenance LED and remotely on the Supervisory Platform.A mine in the Greater Sudbury area of Canada came to Becker Varis looking for a solution. It was familiar with the smartsense product and considered it could help in reducing the amount of time needed to wait before re-entering areas after blasting. Standard procedure at the mine had workers waiting a minimum of 45 minutes to re-enter although most calculations showed that it should only take 10 to 15 minutes for the gases to clear. There was obvious potential for reduced downtime and improved productivity but without the proper information available nothing could be done but wait. That is where smartsense came in! Becker Varis also reports that another point that arose during discussions with the mine “was the fact that the traditional wired gas monitoring systems currently available are not always practical. The combination of our smartcom leaky feeder communication product and the smartsense monitors provides a unique advantage for our customers as we can use this backbone to transfer all the gas monitor data.”After determining the requirements and details, Becker Varis set out to design a portable gas monitor solution with wireless remote data retrieval. Using the existing smartsense SSFM-100 housed in a rugged enclosure Becker Varis was able to develop a light-weight, battery powered, portable remote gas monitor that sends its data real-time over the mine’s existing smartcom leaky feeder system. The portable gas monitor boasts a minimum battery life of seven days and all the standard features of the SSFM-100 fixed gas monitor such as the unique 360° Alarm, auto adjustable backlight LCD screen and up to four different gases to monitor. The data is collected by the Master unit which includes an external user display screen, strobe light alarm and PLC. The external screen displays the level of each gas that is being monitored and confirms proper communications with the remote unit. The Master is constantly polling the remote gas monitor for its data and if any of the gases exceed the preconfigured alarm set points, the Master’s external screen will show an alarm state and the alarm strobe light will also be activated. If for whatever reason communications are cutoff between the remote gas monitor and the Master it will display a communications failure alarm on its external screen which is important user information. All this data including alarm history and calibration records can be retrieved by the mine’s existing SCADA system from the onboard PLC making this solution easy to implement and monitor.