As South Africa’s leader in terms of the largest deployment of proximity detection systems (PDS) in the mining sector, Booyco Electronics has celebrated another massive landmark: its 5,000th PDS installation.

Getting to this point has taken years of commitment to customers, and a dedication to developing leading edge products that are reliable and fit-for-purpose, according to managing director Anton Lourens.

“Our stature in this market is well demonstrated by having the most deployments of any original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or supplier, and we are proud to be have delivered and installed this latest unit at a coal mine in the Witbank area,” says Lourens. “Since the company was established in 2006, our focus has been on developing top quality products backed up by skilled technicians who are close to customers for rapid response times.”

Booyco Electronics now boasts a wide service infrastructure, located strategically to cover South Africa’s platinum belt, coalfields and gold mining areas as well as the mining sites in the Northern Cape and in the Richards Bay area.

“This allows us to have well over 100 technicians – well trained, experienced and resourced – to be constantly on the move responding to customer requirements,” he says. “This fully equipped support infrastructure of seven branches, carrying extensive stocks of parts and components, is vital to service our products and customers wherever they are – and now represents a distinct advantage over our competitors who have only recently entered this market.”

He highlighted the importance of Booyco Electronics’ proximity to its customer base, which allows regular and detailed interaction to ensure that the performance of its PDS offerings always meets the customers’ expectations and operational demands.

“We value the in-depth engagement with customers as a key input in our product development and evolution,” he says. “Working closely with customers, we are able to ensure our PDS meets all the requirements across a broad spectrum of commodities and different types of mining operations.”

The Booyco Electronics PDS delivers specific alerts when detecting pedestrians or other vehicles – starting with a warning, then for a controlled slow-down, and finally for stopping when a certain zone around a vehicle is breeched. This makes the offering unique, as it is able to achieve zone shaping and create narrow band zones in close proximity on the side of the vehicles to meet specific operational requirements.

Full self-diagnostics is another integral element of the system, as well as visual and voice display activated in the case of a warning or a system failure.

“Our PDS was developed using the latest electronic technology for effective and reliable communication, and can be used in both underground and surface mines transferring information between users via our Human Machine Interface,” says Lourens.

The use of very low frequency (VLF) technology is another indicator of Booyco Electronics’ depth of innovative capacity and expertise; the PDS incorporates VLF technology for pedestrian detection, either on surface or underground.

The system incorporates various downloading options for recorded data, including wireless when at an access point. It is supplied complete with testing equipment for both the surface and underground areas to ensure maximum functionality. The system is also IS compliant, meeting the safety requirements of fiery mines.

“To identify the optimal solution for the customer’s needs, a detailed risk assessment is first conducted on site as the deployment of PDS technology could vary between different types of vehicles on a single site. Only then can the PDS be deployed, ensuring that it is suited to the required safety integration with trackless mining machinery and other OEM underground and surface vehicles,” Lourens concludes.

The Booyco Electronics Proximity Detection System is manufactured under stringent quality control systems.


There remains an ongoing need to inform and educate the mining industry as a whole in terms of compliance to the legislated requirements as well as the correct application of Proximity Detection System (PDS) technology.

This is according to Graeme Jardine, general manager field services at Booyco Electronics, who says the company was recently afforded the opportunity to do this by the South African Colliery Engineers Association (SACEA).

In presenting Booyco Electronics’ PDS offering to SACEA members, the company’s managing director Anton Lourens discussed the differentiators the Booyco PDS offers users of trackless underground equipment in hazardous and fiery environments.

“The presentation was followed by a practical demonstration and although this could not be conducted underground and was done on surface, the advantages of the Booyco PDS were evident to all that attended,” Jardine says.

Included in the demonstration was the operational functionality of the Booyco PDS as well as its full intervention capability. Jardine explains that notably should the operator fail to stop of his own accord it is possible for the vehicle to be stopped when using the Booyco PDS and interfacing with the OEM.

The practical demonstration was conducted using a Fermel LHD equipped with the Booyco PDS and this highlighted this locally manufactured product’s capability on the newest equipment available. In addition a simulation was done using an older model diesel engine that was trailer mounted and supplied by ECS. This showed that the Booyco PDS works equally as effectively and with the same level of compliance on previous generation equipment.

“Contrary to misinformation that had been circulating in the industry, being able to demonstrate the intervention capability on a much older diesel engine not only proved that this is possible but has rubbished the idea that it is not possible to use the PDS on diesel driven equipment,” Jardine says.

The Booyco PDS transfers information between users via Booyco Electronics’ Human Machine Interface (HMI) and system communication is exchanged with operators using icons, making it easy to understand.

A simulation was done using an older model trailer mounted diesel engine supplied by ECS that was equipped with a Booyco PDS.