RSL Fiber Systems, an East Hartford, Connecticut-based developer of advanced lighting solutions and integrated illumination systems, and new member of the NMA, has been cited as one of the state’s fastest growing technology companies. “Since our inception in 2001, RSL Fiber Systems has strived to be an innovative solutions provider for some of the most challenging lighting applications in the world,” said RSL CEO and Chief Technology Officer Giovanni Tomasi. RSL recently noted that in mine rescue, “reaching those trapped is one challenge; another is deploying safe, portable, high-intensity light through those small openings to speed the recovery effort. The answer: A portable, easily deployable remote source fibre optic lighting system, custom-designed for just such an emergency,” so states the company’s Peter P. Gladis. He detailed his company’s technology and its potential to introduce a new paradigm for mine safety and operations today before a large and receptive audience of mining industry leaders at the West Virginia Mine Safety Technology Consortium’s (MSTC) 2010 Miner’s Celebration Conference at The Resort at Glade Springs last year.To date, fibre optic lighting has not been used in the US mining industry, but the technology is mature and currently playing a vital role aboard US Navy warships, said Gladis. The potential is unlimited: he explained that RSL’s remote source fibre optic lighting technology offers a variety benefits and characteristics that can solve a multitude of challenges, both for day-to-day mine operations and for search and rescue operations.“The beauty of this technology is the combination of customisable, high-performance light delivered over long distances and utilized in the harshest environments, along with the inherent safety of di-electric, or non-electricity conducting, fibre optic cable,” said Gladis. “Simply stated, the transport of reliable, high-performance light for critical, high-demand applications represents the second revolution in fibre optics.”The mine collapse scenario that Gladis detailed highlighted one benefit of the technology – its ability to carry high-intensity light through thin, flexible fibre optic cable, and emit that light through tiny ‘luminaires’ that can fit through even the smallest of openings. Gladis also talked about other potential scenarios in which remotely generated, fibre optic light could play a critical role, including when explosive gases, liquids or fumes are present; when highly sensitive electronic equipment or radio systems are deployed; when emergency helicopters need to make night-time landings on makeshift landing pads; and when the risk of high vibration or shock is present.Remote source lighting carries no electricity, eliminating the risk of an electrical spark – there is no EMI (electro-magnetic interference) or RFI (radio frequency interference). Fibre optic cable can be laid in water, mud, or flammable liquids – with no risk of explosion. Systems can be stored in small, portable cases for easy deployment in the most difficult-to-reach locations, and multiple, cool luminaires can be driven from a single light engine, or illuminator.RSL systems are rugged and shock-tested to the highest military requirements and are therefore ideal for harsh or unstable environments where reliable performance is critical. Solid state luminaires and cables can withstand high amounts of abuse for extended periods.“Our experience, expertise, great people, and unique technology and illumination systems capabilities are rapidly establishing RSL as the go-to lighting solutions provider across a wide array of markets and applications. We are pleased and gratified to be recognized for this significant growth,” said Tomasi.