BOOYCO ELECTRONICS EXTENDS FOOTPRINT WITH STRATEGIC COLLABORATIONS

South Africa-based proximity detection specialist Booyco Electronics is broadening its global reach through collaboration agreements with selected technology integrators.

Solutions from Booyco Electronics, a pioneering force in proximity detection systems (PDS) and collision avoidance, have been attracting increasing international interest, says CEO Anton Lourens. The company has been applying and improving its technology mainly in the mining sector for the past 15 years.

“With South Africa’s mining industry in many respects leading the way in deploying collision avoidance systems, Booyco Electronics has developed world class solutions that can add value to global markets,” says Lourens. “Having explored the best ways of servicing our international customers, we have chosen a number of strategic collaborations with technology integrators across the world.”

The company now has collaborations with several technology specialists worldwide including Insucam, Ramjack, RCT and Tecwise. These partners understand the safety and other benefits of Booyco Electronics’ PDS solutions, and bring their insights into the local conditions in which this equipment can be applied.

“We believe that these technology partners – who understand our products and solutions – create the optimal channel to customers in regions where Booyco Electronics does not have its own infrastructure,” Lourens says. “These companies understand their customers’ specific needs, and can apply our solutions in the most effective manner.”

He highlights that collaborative partners are expected to have high levels of expertise in related fields, a solid technical capacity to support customers, and the necessary insight and experience to implement value-adding solutions.

“Their role in applying our PDS solutions would include the full scoping of customer needs, close engagement to clarify options, training of customers’ operators, installation of equipment and general project execution,” said Lourens. “This gives the customer confidence that our solutions will be properly leveraged to satisfy requirements.”

“We appreciate the fact that new technologies like ours are easier to introduce through an existing relationship – for instance, where a mine has already been working successfully with a trusted technology integrator,” he says. 

“Our approach is therefore to build on those links where confidence has already been built, based particularly on the delivery of innovative solutions.”

The company’s partners are therefore best placed to facilitate Booyco Electronics’ access into markets not yet familiar with PDS.

WHY DUST CONTROL IS VITAL TO MINERS’ HEALTH

Dust has long been a health hazard in mines where metals and metalloids are carried in atmospheric dust exposing workers to toxic contaminants.

In particular, the smaller particles of around 0,3 micron in size have the most serious impact on human health, says Izak Potgieter of Weba Chute Systems. Dust from minerals such as coal, silica and other finely powdered materials can damage the lungs and air passages.

“The Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Act therefore specifies certain dust exposure limits, so that mines can measure and control dust, to ensure that levels are managed,” says Potgieter. “Health and safety officers monitor this on a regular basis as part of their compliance standards.”

He notes that dust is often generated during the transportation of minerals on conveyors and through transfer chutes. Measuring dust at these sources can be done using a handheld dust meter, typically gathering data in 30 second intervals with 0,003 split seconds per measurement. The data from this process can then be profiled into a scatter plot, considering factors like lump size, belt speed, relative humidity, wet-bulb temperature, wind conditions and material type.

“The lump size of the material being moved is usually a key factor affecting dust levels,” he says. “To understand the levels of dust being produced, data on the size and material type needs to be collected and analysed.”

The speed of conveyor belts will also affect the dust levels, Potgieter says, depending on the tonnage per hour traveling through the chute. Reducing the dangers of dust in this environment requires better flow control of the moving material, including velocity and impact on conveyors and in chutes. 

MANAGING CONSTRUCTION WASTE IS PART OF GREENER FUTURE

Climate change is now everyone’s concern, and black women-owned construction leader Concor’s efforts to operate more efficiently and sustainably include the way it deals with its construction waste. 

According to Leah Nwedamutswu, quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) officer at Concor, the company’s commitment to Zero Harm embraces staff, the community and the environment. Growing awareness of climate change imperatives has led the company to develop performance strategies to carefully manage water use, energy consumption and process waste. 

“This includes preventing pollution emanating from our industrial processes, which means spreading this message to all staff and subcontractors on our project sites,” says Nwedamutswu. “Our critical environmental standards are in place, and we actively assess and manage our risks and opportunities.”

The environmental management plans (EMPs) and authorisations of Concor’s clients are also embedded in the daily work processes, ensuring that the company can play its role in supporting the client’s compliance responsibilities. 

This commitment has recently been expressed by Concor at its projects in the Oxford Parks mixed-use precinct in Rosebank, Johannesburg, where it is proceeding with its sixth Green Star-rated building. Nwedamutswu highlights the company’s waste hierarchy system, which it has applied over the years to ensure that waste is effectively reduced, reused and recycled. 

“We have a detailed and ongoing focus on the natural resources that we consume in construction, and recognise that these are finite and precious,” she says. “The care with which we manage our waste also enhances health and safety on site.”

The waste management system prioritises separating the waste at source, and dedicates human resources to ensure that building rubble, wood, steel or plastic is properly sorted and placed in the right containers or skips. This prevents contamination of the various waste streams, allowing each stream to be more efficiently and cost effectively recycled.

“Implementing our system requires both discipline and education, especially as we employ many smaller companies as subcontractors, who may not initially give the same priority to environmental protection,” she says. “We therefore actively communicate our policies and requirements, and expect our partners on site to be as serious about waste management as we are.”

Specialised recycling service providers play an important role in Concor’s waste management supply chain, as they help to optimise the levels of waste that can by recycled. 

Dumping in landfill is considered an absolute last resort, and this must be kept to a minimum. Even building rubble can be pulverised and re-used in certain applications, as long as it is not contaminated by other materials. 

“Our strict policies require that we also monitor the integrity of our waste supply chain, to confirm that the various streams of waste actually go where they are supposed to,” says Nwedamutswu. “This is done by double-checking the weighbridge documentation we receive from our waste service providers, and these must match our own records of waste leaving the site.”

HIGH-PRECISION, ACCURATE SAMPLING FOR MINES AND THEIR CUSTOMERS

Innovation in Multotec’s proven hammer samplers allows two consecutive samples to be taken from the product stream in quick succession, ensuring two sets of accurate results – one for the mine and one for the customer.

“A single sample increment cannot simply be divided into roughly two equal parts,” says Refilwe Makgae, senior application engineer at Multotec. “This can result in up to five of the nine sampling errors occurring in a single step.”

She emphasises that each consecutive increment must instead be carefully diverted to its own bin, so that successive increments do not contaminate each other. Multotec has therefore developed a reliable flopper gate that is easy to operate and gives feedback about the flopper positioning.

“This ensures that a good seal is achieved, preventing sample cross-contamination,” says Makgae. “For existing operations where this new requirement is imposed, this innovation can be easily retrofitted.”

She notes that high levels of precision in sampling can only be achieved with fine design tolerances for each application. For this purpose, Multotec has developed software integration models across AutoCAD Inventor and programming code, to automate parts of the design. This process uses pre-programmed design logic and interpolates from the company’s data library which covers a worldwide footprint of over 800 hammer samplers in the field. 

ZEST WEG’S INSTALLATION OF MV SWITCHBOARD MINIMISES DOWNTIME

In a process that minimised disruption to the customer’s plant, Zest WEG has supplied one of its locally manufactured MTW05 Medium Voltage (MV) switchboards to a gold producer in Gauteng.

According to Zest WEG executive Bevan Richards, the choice was based on the panels’ compact dimensions, safety features and internal arc classification. With a 17.5 kV voltage rating, basic insulation level (BIL) of 95 kV and a fault level rating of 31,5 kA, the switchboard also has a high internal arc classification of 31.5 kA BF ALR 1sec

“The changeout was facilitated by an extension of the substation to allow both the existing panel and our new MTW05 MV panel to be accommodated in the same room,” says Richards. “This allowed for our panel to be installed and energised, so that loads could be moved from the existing panel to the new panel at opportune moments.”

The customer was able to complete the termination of cables from the national utility, from the standby generator set and from numerous feeder overhead lines in this phased approach. This avoided hours of downtime, Richards explains, which would have cost the customer dearly in terms of lost production. The job was conducted after detailed engagement with mine management, to arrive at an optimal solution within the operational demands of the plant.

“The project consisted of numerous phases, including the addition of a MV power factor correction (PFC) system,” he says. “With the plant planning a number of upgrades, the new state-of-the-art panel provides a safer solution that will accommodate all the required modifications and extensions going forward.”

The order included the supply of a battery tripping unit (BTU), a cabinet for tools and equipment, and a new distribution board, as well as the completion of internal control cabling. Zest WEG also supplied, installed and commissioned a fire suppression system inside the MV substation and PFC room

“Another element of our solution was to give the customer enhanced monitoring capacity, by fitting the incoming panel with a power quality meter with GPS and GPRS capability,” says Richards. “This allows for the off-site monitoring and recording of power quality and energy consumption, so they can pick up any spikes in the grid supply that might expose the plant to damage in the long term and determine the cause of power outages.”

SANDVIK’S LH115I LOADER ROPS/FOPS CERTIFIED BY ISO

Achieving ISO certification for the roll over protection structure (ROPS) and falling object structure (FOPS) of the Sandvik LH115I low profile loader is another feather in the cap of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ South African operation.

The ROPS and FOPS for the South African-built Sandvik LH115I low profile loader has always been engineered in accordance with ISO standards, says Deon Lambert, business line manager at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. 

“The only difference was that local customers initially requested a total height of 1,6 metres for the unit, which meant it was limited to low height deflection-limiting volume (DLV),” says Lambert. “More recently, we have increased the height of the canopy by 70 mm, giving us the DLV to secure full certification in terms of ISO.”

Following the acceptance of the new canopy design from the factory, the way is now clear for manufacturing to be carried out locally. The new design was successfully tested at the company’s Finland head office facilities. The LH115I loader has been produced in South African since 2017, when Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions established a manufacturing facility in Jet Park. This has allowed about 70% of the machine’s content to be locally sourced.

“The first customer to place an order for a machine with the new canopy height already has five of our locally produced LH115I loaders on its mine, and these will be retrofitted with the new certified canopy,” he says. “All future units of this model produced by our local facility will also have the newly designed canopy and the associated certification.”

In addition to complying with the latest safety requirements of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the local content of the Sandvik LH115L low profile loader will assist mines in meeting their Mining Charter local procurement targets. Designed for harsh underground conditions, the loader boasts high availability and ease of maintenance, together optimising its lifetime operational costs. 

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions provides the full low-profile portfolio offering of underground drills and bolters to ensure matching sets of equipment.

BEAT CONCRETE CRACKING AND CURLING WITH CHRYSO® SERENIS

For concrete applications with an elevated risk of cracking – like floors, screed and precast panels with large surface-to-volume ratios – CHRYSO® Serenis brings peace of mind.

Contractors and manufacturers alike need to be confident that they can prevent their concrete structure from cracking or curling, to ensure the success of their applications. Cracks can weaken concrete, compromise its durability and allow ingress of corrosive elements like water, chlorides and ice. They can also spoil the appearance of concrete. 

These outcomes are the result of shrinkage, which happens at all ages in the life of concrete; a length of concrete cast can shrink by as much as 0,08 %. While concrete has excellent plasticity when fresh and high mechanical strength once set, it can only withstand minor deformation. When shrinkage comes up against a mechanical constraint, the concrete may crack. 

As a ready-to-use shrinkage-reducing admixture for concrete and mortars, CHRYSO® Serenis can reduce shrinkage by up to 80% depending on the conditions and concrete mix design. This makes it ideal for all applications requiring minimal shrinkage, including injection grouting, high and ultra-high performance concrete and special structures.

The phenomenon of curling or bending in fine concrete parts or elements can also be addressed by CHRYSO® Serenis. As evaporation takes place mainly from the surface of concrete, there is always more shrinkage in the surface. As the concrete shrinks, therefore, the edges rise. 

This action is more or less pronounced depending on the surface-to-volume ratio, but even the slightest curling is a risk. It can endanger an element’s integrity, leading to breakage during transport, unloading or even under its own weight. By reducing the amount of shrinkage, CHRYSO® Serenis is able to reduce the possibility of curling.

Another important benefit of CHRYSO® Serenis is that it can allow users to increase the distance between shrinkage joints. Industrial floors made from concrete, for instance, are normally divided into areas of 5 metres by 5 metres, bordered by shrinkage joints sawn into the surface of the concrete. More distance between shrinkage joints means time saved on laying floors, reduced maintenance costs and improved overall appearance.

CHRYSO® Serenis works by reducing the capillary tensions, therefore impacting the most important mechanism at the origin of shrinkage. It does not have a spreading effect, and does not modify the water demand of concrete nor impact the water-to-cement ratio. It is compatible with new generation superplasticisers as well as traditional plasticisers and superplasticisers.

GRUNDFOS RAISES THE BAR FOR WASTEWATER TREATMENT

As conserving water and maintaining high water quality become increasingly critical issues for South Africa, wastewater systems will need to perform more reliably and safely.

According to Bennie Thiart, Grundfos sales director water utility South Africa, the Grundfos SE/SL range of wastewater pumps are now fitted with the Open S-tube® impeller for greater durability and reliable performance. 

“As the level of solids in our wastewater rises, this innovative pump design can make wastewater plants and pump stations much less susceptible to stoppages and overflowing,” says Thiart. “Our design allows even stringy material like rags to be passed quickly through the pump without causing a blockage or shutdown of the motor.”

He highlights that wastewater treatment plants and pump stations operated by municipalities or industry can cause considerable environmental harm when they overflow due to pump stoppages. When there are unexpected disruptions to pumping, waste water can flow into rivers and wetlands – that leads to contamination of groundwater aquifers.

“We can expect stricter enforcement of environmental legislation, as South Africa’s water resources are currently under pressure,” he says. “Wastewater treatment plants, for instance, can no longer afford the risk of spillages.”

The Grundfos SE/SL range with its semi-open hydraulic design will equip these facilities for higher levels of performance and operational security. The first generation of these pumps has been well received in southern Africa since the early 2000s, he says, and the market is ready for these added features. 

“Our development of the latest generation technology first required extensive virtual simulation,” he says. “We then spent the past two years testing actual prototypes in the field and the results have been up to our expectations.”

Hydraulic performance tests on the SE/SL range have followed the ISO 9906 standards, among others, while clogging tests are conducted according to the methodology developed by the Technische Universität Berlin. 

Critical to the design is the quick expulsion of solid material and objects from the pump, to avoid raising the torque to levels that will trip the motor. This functionality can be enhanced by fitting a guide vane to the pump. 

Pump performance can be remotely tracked with a Grundfos monitoring and control system, which can also generate early warning signals for operators in case of any changes in the operation of the pumps. 

“With their improved durability and reliability, these pumps certainly give operators of wastewater treatment plants more peace of mind,” says Thiart. “We also have a depth of in-house expertise – both locally and globally – to assist with pump station design and pump selection to ensure fit-for-purpose solutions.”

HIGH-TECH REVOLUTION OPENS DOORS FOR ON-SITE MINE TRAINING

In a quantum leap for training in the underground mining sector, the Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy (MRTA) is strategically positioning itself to take its world class learning systems to customers on their own sites.

This innovative move, according to Murray & Roberts Cementation education, training and development (ETD) executive Tony Pretorius, incorporates the use of remote e-learning solutions coupled to Dover Assessment for psychomotor skills, VR Simulation, mass assessment tools and classroom response systems – or ‘clickers’. 

“It is an exciting step beyond the MRTA’s industry-leading facilities at Bentley Park near Carletonville, and opens doors for companies to generate and upgrade skills even during the Covid-19 pandemic”, Pretorius says.

“Making use of the latest technologies – such as interactive touchscreens – we can now offer two-dimensional and three-dimensional training interventions,” he says. “This can be deployed with virtual reality (VR) training modules, including the use of VR simulators that we are developing with our strategic technology partner, Simulated Training Solutions (STS).”

Among the high-tech advances being driven by the academy is a portable VR drill rig. The portfolio of ground-breaking training tools will be easily transported in a purpose-designed trailer to sites convenient to the customer – even on mines themselves. 

Applying the tools, he says, will be members of MRTA’s experienced team of trainers, accredited by the Mining Qualifications Authority.

“This gives even remote mining sites the chance to enhance skill levels, productivity and safety,” he says. He points to the ongoing difficulty that companies face in conducting group activities under Covid‑19 protocols, and particularly in moving personnel across borders. 

In addition to these regulatory restraints, this new training infrastructure could also reduce the cost of having staff attend off-site training for extended periods – where costs are raised by travel and accommodation.

“We believe that our state-of-the-art educational innovations can give remote mines unprecedented access to valuable skills transfer with real bottom-line benefits to be gained,” he says. 

Looking beyond mining operations themselves, Pretorius also highlights plans to reach out to communities needing skills development to combat unemployment. This socially responsible approach to training is already embraced at the MRTA facilities, but could in future be more widely available through this injection of technology. 

The academy’s new age of training systems will also be rolled out within the projects of Murray & Roberts Cementation itself, further enhancing the company’s reputation for performance excellence and safety. 

“This new technology definitely raises the level to which we can take industry skills, and we anticipate an enthusiastic response from both internal and external clients,” says Pretorius. “We believe strongly that this is the future of training – where we leverage digital technologies like VR to help take mining expertise into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

WEBA DEVELOPS TOOL TO MODEL RELIABILITY

Based on its experience in manufacturing and maintaining transfer points, Weba Chute Systems has developed a reliability model that allows customers to improve uptime in their plants.

According to Izak Potgieter, ISO systems manager at Weba Chute Systems, the tool is able to capture, store and calculate vital information about wear rates on different components within each chute. 

“The data specifies exactly which chute is being referenced, where it is physically located in the mine or plant, the components it includes and the dimensions of these components,” says Potgieter. “Data is captured over time on the tonnages that pass through the chute, and the wear that occurs on components such as lips, liners and dead boxes.”

When inspections of the chute are conducted, precise measurements are taken of wear levels so that comparisons can be made over time. The tool generates important calculations such as the wear rate per hour or per day, which allows forecasts to be made about key indicators such as mean time between failures (MTBF).

“By applying the concept of exponential distribution to the percentage reliability required by the customer, we can then calculate the number of hours that the chute should be able to operate between maintenance interventions,” he says. 

Average tonnages passing through the transfer point is usually gathered from the mine’s SCADA system. If these tonnages – or the nature of the material – does not change, then the wear life of each chute’s various components can be predicted fairly accurately. 

World-renowned Weba Chute Systems are used for bulk materials transfer in the industrial and mining sectors. As the leading manufacturer of bespoke chutes, the company engineers and produces quality transfer systems – each solution tailored to the specific application requirements aimed at enhancing productivity and reducing unscheduled downtime.

With more than 5000 chute systems operating worldwide, Weba Chute Systems has offices and representation in South Africa, Africa, Australasia, Russia, North America, South America and Europe.