With mine safety legislation getting progressively tighter, Booyco Electronics continues to ensure compliance with its proudly South African proximity detection system (PDS).
According to Pieter Janse van Rensburg, Booyco Electronics area manager for Mpumalanga, legislation coming into force in 2020 will mean the extended application of Level 9 safety standards. This level requires ‘full intervention’ from a PDS on trackless mining machines (TMMs) to avoid man and machine related incidents.
Booyco Electronics’ PDS can facilitate such collision avoidance, with automatic slow-down and even safe-stop of mining machines.
The system uses VLF antennae on a vehicle to create fields within a danger zone around the vehicle. The size of each field can be determined by the customer, to suit their specific operating environment and addressing identified risk.
An RFID tag installed on the pedestrian’s cap lamp alerts them – through a light and sound alarm – when they enter this zone. The light changes colour from green to orange and then red, the closer the pedestrian is to the vehicle.
The vehicle itself also receives a warning from the PDS, with the operator being alerted that a pedestrian is in the proximity. If equipped and configured appropriately, the vehicle can also be automatically slowed down at a certain distance from the pedestrian, and similarly brought to a safe stop.
One of the most significant advantages of the Booyco Electronics PDS is that it can effectively detect as many as seven TMMs and 20 pedestrians within one field, in the underground environment.
“Our technology prioritises the safety of the pedestrian in mines, whether underground or opencast,” says Janse van Rensburg. “Our mission is to save lives, and to ensure that every worker returns home safely every day.”
The company’s market leading systems are intrinsically safe, working on a clean 12 Volt power supply that will not ignite methane gas or coal dust. Customers value the complete turnkey solution that Booyco Electronics can provide, says Janse van Rensburg.
“Our combined technology includes a very low frequency (VLF) signal that penetrates rock walls underground,” he says. “This ensures that the pedestrian will still be warned of an approaching vehicle even if it is out of sight around a corner.”
The PDS can be applied to older ‘non-intelligent’ machines on a mine as well as the newer, controller area network (CAN) bus enabled models.
“Our data logging capacity is able to capture all information relating to the interactions between the pedestrians and the vehicles, and also between vehicles themselves,” he says. “This provides the mine with a ‘road map’ to track how any incident occurs, making it easier to report and to improve practices.”
The Booyco Electronics Asset Management System (BEAMS) gives mines the ability to extract useful data on risk areas. This can feed into focused training of staff for more effective safety behaviour.
With 13 years of experience in PDS, Booyco Electronics has supplied in excess of 5 000 sets of mining vehicle equipment around southern Africa, as well as 50 000 pedestrian sets of equipment.