Tag Archives: BOOYCO ELECTRONICS (PTY) LTD

BOOYCO EXPANDS ITS COAL FOOTPRINT AS LEVEL 9 LOOMS

Coal mines were among the first customers of proximity detection system (PDS) specialist Booyco Electronics, and the company continues to grow its footprint in this sector as mines work towards Level 9 compliance.

According to Booyco Electronics CEO Anton Lourens, the scale of recent orders from underground collieries and opencast operations are testament to the company’s leadership in the sector. 

“We support an extensive population of our proximity detection equipment on trackless mining machines (TMMs) in coal mines, and expect to see enthusiastic take-up of our new-generation Booyco CXS product,” says Lourens. He highlights that the customer base includes not only the Mpumalanga coalfields, but also those in KwaZulu-Natal province – supported by the company’s network of branches including Witbank and Richards Bay. 

Regulations currently demand that any electrically powered TMM in an underground mine must be equipped with a PDS, but many coal operations have a combination of diesel and electric units. He emphasises that the regulatory framework will soon enforce Level 9 requirements – with more advanced collision avoidance capability – for both diesel and electric TMMs.

“We are working closely with many OEMs and mining customers on aligning and testing our respective equipment for Level 9 compliance,” he says. “It should be remembered, however, that the industry still has considerable work to do on the application of PDS technology to surface diesel TMMs, which pose a range of technical challenges.”

An active participant in the mining industry’s Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT), Booyco Electronics collaborates extensively with stakeholders to support mines’ safety and compliance efforts. 

“Coal mines have a key role to play in the testing and application of collision avoidance systems, as the industry upgrades to ever-more effective safety protocols,” says Lourens. “The Booyco CXS consolidates all we have learnt in our 15 years in business, taking that vital step from a warning system to a fully-fledged collision avoidance system.”

He highlights that the Booyco CXS retains the intrinsically safe technology of previous generations, making it more cost effective and generally easier to manage. “The common alternative to intrinsically safe equipment is for suppliers to add a flameproof enclosure to house the PDS, which tends to be heavy and impractical,” he says.

Another contribution to safety and productivity is the Booyco Electronics Asset Management System (BEAMS) – a central information hub for a mine’s PDS assets. Centralising information from PDS hardware and monitoring devices, BEAMS enhances operations by identifying patterns of unsafe behaviour that can be promptly addressed.

BOOYCO READY FOR GLOBAL LEAP IN MINING VEHICLE SAFETY

Responsible mining companies the world over are moving steadily towards safety Level 9, and Booyco Electronics is at the forefront of fit-for-purpose proximity detection and collision avoidance technologies that comply.

Driven by leading global mining houses, the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT) has been engaging with key original equipment manufacturers to improve the safety of equipment in mining operations. According to Bennie Smith, general manager engineering at Booyco Electronics, the company has developed technology that meets Levels 7, 8 and 9 of EMESRT’s safety best practice guidelines.

While Level 7 alerts a mobile machine operator and a pedestrian when they are close, Level 8 goes beyond this to an advisory function, showing the direction in which the vehicle or pedestrians are moving and advising the operator to slow down or stop. 

“Level 9 – currently the highest level of safety – takes it a step further by introducing an intervention engineering control measure,” says Smith. “This automatically instructs the machine – or the vehicle’s onboard control system – to slow down, or to perform a safe or emergency stop.”

He highlights that all mines globally are expected to meet Level 9 safety measures by the end of 2025. However, South Africa is moving faster, and has led the world by adopting the EMESRT guidelines in its latest mine safety regulations. These were expected to become law by the end of 2020, requiring local mines to be compliant. 

“Having been developing and adapting proximity detection systems (PDS) for South African conditions since 2006, Booyco Electronics is now a world leader in PDS technology certified to Level 9 safety,” he says. “We have successfully tested all our equipment with the Vehicle Dynamics Group at Gerotek, which is globally recognised for third party testing, verification and certification.”

Boasting the largest footprint of installed PDS systems and technicians in South Africa, Booyco Electronics has seen its equipment applied in surface and underground mines, and in both hard rock and coal applications.

“This has positioned us well to respond to the EMESRT safety best practices for mines to implement by 2025,” says Smith, “As a result, we have been receiving a growing volume of enquiries from across Africa, North and South America, Europe and Australia. 

BOOYCO EXPANDS PDS FOOTPRINT TO NAMIBIAN MINE

Proximity detection leader Booyco Electronics is equipping 19 mechanised mining machines with its latest Booyco CXS proximity detection solution to enhance safety during the development phase of underground operations at Namibia’s largest gold mine.

According to Anton Lourens, Booyco Electronics CEO, the order was placed by long-time customer Murray & Roberts Cementation, who will be establishing the underground stoping horizon for the Wolfshag zone of B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine.

The contract also includes sensing devices for 120 underground personnel on the operation, which will be located in the employee’s cap lamp to provide an alarm.

“Our equipment will help achieve the highest level of safety by mitigating the risk of collisions between pedestrians and vehicles, and between vehicles, on this project,” says Lourens. “The installation of our CXS units is in line with the commitment by the mine and the contractor to zero harm in the workplace.”

The Cementation Lewcor JV contract will take 28 months. Lewcor Mining is a Namibian company with extensive mining experience in that country. The contract includes a decline of 5.0 m wide by 5.5 m high being driven to the orebody from a portal in one of Otjikoto’s depleted open pits. The operation will be highly mechanised, with equipment including drill rigs, dump trucks, load-haul dumpers and utility vehicles, as well as shotcreting and ancillary equipment.

Lourens highlights that Booyco Electronics’ latest generation CXS system being used on the project is a comprehensive and integrated proximity detection solution. The technology takes a step beyond being just a warning system to becoming a true collision avoidance system.

“The CXS system on this project will deliver Level 7 and Level 8 capability in terms of the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Roundtable (EMESRT), and can also accommodate Level 9,” he says. “Although there is not yet a legal requirement for collision avoidance systems in Namibia, our customer and the mine adopt a global best practice approach to all aspects of safety in mining operations.”

With the mine’s location more than 300 km north of Windhoek, it was important that the equipment is robust and reliable to ensure maximum uptime, he says.

“To ensure that the equipment performs optimally, we have trained the customers’ artisans on how to look after it,” Lourens says. “A qualified serviceman from Booyco Electronics will also visit the site regularly to audit performance, assess the equipment and conduct any necessary maintenance.”

A pioneer of proximity detection systems in South Africa, Booyco Electronics’ home-grown technology has seen wide take-up in underground operations – both hard rock and coal – as well as in the opencast environment, plants and warehouses.

“Since our inception in 2006, safety regulations have changed significantly,” he says. “An important strength of our technology is that it has constantly evolved to meet the needs of the industry.”

The company now has a footprint of over 100 mining customers in South Africa, and this Namibian project is part of its gradual expansion into other countries in Southern Africa. He highlights that collision avoidance systems are likely to become increasingly mandatory in neighbouring states as these countries usually follow South African regulations. Major miners are also driving change through the globally recognised EMESRT guidelines.

“The International Council on Mining and Metals is also an important stakeholder in this process,” Lourens says. “The ICMM highlights that transport and mobile equipment accidents were highest cause of fatalities at their members’ operations in 2018, accounting for 30% of fatalities.”

BENCHMARK IN COLLISION AVOIDANCE WITH CXS

Supporting mines in their quest for zero-harm, Booyco Electronics’ CXS solution has leveraged technology to achieve new levels of safety in underground and surface mining environments.

“The Booyco CXS solution is engineered to mitigate the risk of collisions between pedestrians and vehicles, or between vehicles, in operational environments,” says Booyco Electronics CEO Anton Lourens. “This system takes the vital step from being just a warning system to becoming a collision avoidance system.”

Lourens highlights that the Booyco CXS is a best-of-breed system that consolidates everything the company has learnt in its 15 years of serving the sector. By upgrading to a new hardware platform, the system’s software updates can be conducted remotely and more frequently – providing increased functionality. It also allows users to comply with the latest and ever more stringent safety regulations.

“Our Booyco CXS is a comprehensive and integrated response to Level 7, Level 8 and Level 9 safety levels – as defined by the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT),” he says.

The new hardware platform is based on principles proven by Booyco Electronics over many years. Technology includes the reliable and accurate Very Low Frequency (VLF) technology for pedestrian detection, and GPS and radio frequency technology for vehicle detection in surface applications.

“At the heart of the system is the Booyco Host Unit (BHU),” Lourens says. “This receives information from the pedestrian sensors, the trackless mining machine (TMM) sensors and the wheeled mobile equipment sensors. It then conducts the necessary proximity calculations and algorithms to alert users to any impending risk scenarios.”

Lourens also emphasises that this BHU integrates seamlessly with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) systems, either directly or through a third-party interface in accordance with ISO 21815.

“This allows the Booyco CXS to apply Level 9 intervention instructions to the machine, as required to for example automatically slowing it down or bringing it to a complete stop,” he says. “Our flexible, comprehensive approach with the Booyco CXS solution has been developed to ensure that all customers can achieve Level 9 compliance, irrespective of the age of their machines.”

DATA TRACKING SHOWS MINES WHERE TO IMPROVE

Centralising information from its proximity detection system (PDS) hardware and monitoring devices, Booyco Electronics offers mines a rare opportunity to become both safer and more productive.

According to Anton Lourens, CEO of proximity detection solutions leader Booyco Electronics, a single source of information on the mine’s assets is the key to enhancing operations by identifying patterns of unsafe behaviour.

“Our Booyco Electronics Asset Management System (BEAMS) is essentially a central information hub for the mine’s PDS assets,” says Lourens. “The software suite is a web-based application used on a robust database, linking the PDS hardware products and the monitoring devices.”

This provides a single source of data that can be leveraged for greater insight into relevant aspects of the mining operation – raising the level of safety and productivity in the workplace.

“The real achievement of BEAMS is that it allows the data from our Booyco CWS, Booyco PDS or Booyco CXS to be analysed for patterns which indicate unsafe behaviour,” he says. “Customers can then design an appropriate intervention to prevent any further occurrences.”

He emphasises that this allows a mine to paint a picture of the complete working environment, shedding new light on operational issues which were previously not visible. Measuring the working environment and interactions in this way then means that risks and bottlenecks can be actively reduced and managed – boosting productivity as a result. This helps to give mines an in-depth view of the operation and the performance of their related assets.

“We have engineered BEAMS for easy implementation,” Lourens says. “It can be used on web browser platforms, and is designed to be adaptable to the information and infrastructure environment.”

BEAMS can also integrate with the lamp room management systems in underground mines, ensuring legal compliance with lamp room requirements. It helps mines locate its safety equipment such as lamps, self-contained self-rescuers and gas instrumentation.

“BEAMS can be set up to suit the needs of each user,” says Lourens. “It can generate a standard set of reports, or be customised to specific requirements.”

BOOYCO CONTINUES TECHNOLOGY DRIVE DESPITE COVID-19

While the Covid-19 lockdown has forced many companies serving the mining sector to downscale, Booyco Electronics is continuing to apply and develop its technologies for safer, more productive mining operations.

With its nationwide team of some 180 field technicians serving opencast and underground mines – by far the largest footprint among players in this field – the proximity detection specialist has remained hard at work. While supporting those coal mines that worked through Level 5 and Level 4, the company has also been assisting customers to ramp up to full production after the initial stoppage.

According to Booyco Electronics chief executive officer Anton Lourens, the lockdown has even given his engineering team some welcome breathing space for their technology development. With collision avoidance standards in mines becoming stricter, technology is responding rapidly.

“Our plans to grow our engineering team from 18 to over 30 experts this year remains on track, giving us added capacity to meet industry needs,” says Lourens. “Even under lockdown restrictions, this expanding team has continued its work on new features and functionality for our products.”

The move to the Level 4 lockdown allowed opencast operations to resume and underground mines to move to 50% production. Booyco Electronics was on hand to assist with the required pre-start inspections and equipment checks, which then accelerated with the relaxation to Level 3.

“While the lockdown restrictions were disruptive to everyone, we have learnt valuable lessons and increased our efficiencies over recent weeks,” he says. “This has left us stronger and better prepared to support customers in the field.”

Lourens says the company has not rushed to bring employees back to its offices in Level 3, taking the safer route of allowing only one third back in June. Where employees were not required to physically touch a product, they continued to be deployed at home.

“To date, we have used the lockdown as a valuable opportunity for training and refresher courses,” he says. “It has also been vital to communicate constantly with staff and entrench our safety procedures for future continuity.”

Lourens warns that the lost production on mines will mean heightened pressure on the correct implementation of collision avoidance strategies. The anticipation of tighter safety regulations had led many mining companies to target the end of 2020 for proximity detection upgrades.

“In these tough economic times – and with time lost due to Covid-19 – mines cannot afford to get it wrong when executing projects to apply these technologies,” he says. “Detailed planning will be vital in defining and implementing each mine’s specific collision avoidance solutions. The 2020 deadline may now in fact be very difficult for many mines to meet.”

BOOYCO BOOSTS IN-HOUSE ENGINEERING TEAM

At the forefront of technological innovation in collision avoidance systems (CAS), Booyco Electronics is investing heavily in its expertise by actively growing its engineering department in the coming months.

“Engineering the solutions that will ensure safer working places is at the heart of our business,” says Pieter Wolfaardt, chief operations officer at Booyco Electronics. “Collision avoidance is a field that demands highly technical electronic devices as safety deterrents, and we are continually strengthening our capacity to develop and deliver these solutions.”

As the standards governing collision avoidance in the mining industry become more stringent, the technologies serving this need are evolving rapidly as well, says Wolfaardt.

Booyco Electronics has a large market share in South Africa, and its learnings from implementation across many mine sites are incorporated in its solutions offerings further underpinning the company’s commitment to industry best practice principles.

While engineering designs around Booyco products are often customised to meet specific customer and site applications, these are fully aligned with all legislative requirements for the South African mining industry including SANS Codes. The Booyco product range also conforms to the guidelines laid down by the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT).

“It is our engineering team that develops the product offerings for our customers’ requirements, and the development process never ends,” he says. “They are involved in research and development, extensive testing, and ongoing upgrades.”

Wolfaardt highlights that the company is looking ahead to the kinds of technologies that will be required by 2025, and is aligning itself with that vision. All three of the company’s main product lines – CWS, CXS and PDS – are receiving constant attention and improvement.

Among the most important recent technical achievements has been a ‘scalable’ design that suits a wide range of customer requirements without them having to change hardware on the equipment. Rather, the firmware or the software can be updated on a continuous basis.

“Our increased engineering capacity will support customers who are still getting to grips with changing CAS requirements, especially those mines who are new to CAS,” he says. “Customers often request that our systems to be tested on their trackless mining machinery as they seek the optimal solution. With our increased capacity in the engineering department we can offer a highly systematic and professional service in terms of technology integration and on-site testing.”

The substantial current team of 18 engineers, artisans and technicians will grow to over 30 in the near future. Key qualifications in the department include electronics engineers as well as BTech degrees and National Diplomas, with qualified technicians undertaking most of the testing functions.

“Mining experience is also important in our team, as this improves the way we design and integrate systems for the real working environment in mines,” Wolfaardt concludes.

QUICK INSTALLATION BRINGS MINE UP TO SPEED WITH PDS REGS

Taking advantage of the mining industry slowdown over the Christmas period, Booyco Electronics equipped another South African platinum mine with its latest Level-9 Ready PDS system.

According to Pieter Wolfaardt, chief operating officer at Booyco Electronics, this rapid installation and commissioning was an important compliance step for the mine, and was achieved with minimal impact on its productivity.

“The industry is hard at work to meet Level 9 compliance by the end of 2020,” Wolfaardt says. “By working through the annual slowdown, we were able to avoid disrupting the production cycle while further enhancing the mine’s safety levels.”

Booyco Electronics has been a leader in developing and testing proximity detection systems that incorporate collision avoidance technology and comply with the required Level 9 standard. At this level, electronic systems are required to take mechanical control of trackless mining machinery (TMM) and automatically slow it down or bring these to a stop when detecting a dangerous and significant risk situation.

The recent contract involved equipping 35 underground vehicles with Booyco CXS PDS systems, the third and latest generation of Booyco Electronics’ offering. It included the fitment of 595 Exsence cap lamps, complete with intelligent buzzers and CXS tags, for pedestrians. Testing facilities for all equipment were also installed – in the form of test stations for lamps and vehicles – to ensure every item is fully functional before going underground.

“Great teamwork from our Rustenburg branch – led by our area manager Carel Snyman – in collaboration with the mine’s staff allowed us to respond immediately to the mine’s order and collectively complete the installation and commissioning in just 19 days,” Wolfaardt says.

Among the vehicles on which the Booyco CXS equipment was installed were load-haul-dumpers (LHDs), utility vehicles and personnel carriers, as well as a rock breaker, an ambulance and a road grader.

Wolfaardt highlights that training is a vital element in ensuring that PDS equipment is used effectively. Skilled training personnel from Booyco Electronics were able to train 50 TMM operators and 407 pedestrians before the mine resumed full operations in January 2020.

“Our local manufacturing capacity means that we can control and reduce lead times, giving customers unmatched availability,” he says. “Our quick delivery and installation times are matched by high levels of local support through our footprint of qualified technicians and offices throughout South Africa.”

The mine has also engaged Booyco Electronics through a service level agreement which will include regular preventive maintenance and condition auditing. The software in the equipment provided will also be updated whenever updates are developed, ensuring that safety performance remains at the leading edge of industry standards.

BOOYCO ON TRACK WITH DEADLINE FOR PROVING LEVEL 9 SAFETY

In the light of impending safety regulations governing South African mines, South African-based Booyco Electronics is well advanced in testing its proximity detection systems (PDS) to comply with Level 9 safety standards.

The importance of this testing arises from recent changes in Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, which require mines to take ‘reasonably practicable measures’ to prevent collisions between trackless mobile machines (TMMs) – as well as between pedestrians and TMMs.

Past measures implemented by mines have included systems that warn pedestrians of their proximity to TMMs (Level 7) and systems that deliver an advisory instruction to TMM operators (Level 8).

“The Level 9 standard raises the bar significantly, requiring electronic PDS systems to take mechanical control of the TMM and automatically bring it to a stop when a dangerous situation is detected,” says Booyco Electronics CEO Anton Lourens. “This elevates what is traditionally called a PDS into what is really a collision avoidance – or collision management – system.”

Significantly, Booyco Electronics was the first to begin Level 9 testing in South Africa, which is conducted by the University of Pretoria’s Vehicle Dynamics Group. The tests are aligned with the international standard ISO21815. It is expected that regulations regarding Level 9 compliance will be finalised by the end of 2020.

Lourens says the company’s strong relationships with TMM OEMs has allowed it to make good progress in testing its equipment on their machines in terms of Level 9 standards.

“This ensures that our technology can assist to safely and effectively bring a vehicle to a standstill when required,” he says.

He highlights that the parameters of Level 9 control have evolved over the past year or two. Beyond just stopping a vehicle, the Booyco Electronics PDS can also instruct the vehicle to reduce its speed to a specific level under given conditions.

SOUTH AFRICA TECH TIE-UP TAKES PROXIMITY DETECTION TO NEW HEIGHTS

Proximity detection systems (PDS) specialist Booyco Electronics is once again raising the bar for safety, quality and local content in the mining sector, through a technology collaboration with fellow South African supplier Mernok Elektronik and Selectronic.

Anton Lourens, managing director of Booyco Electronics, says the companies are cooperating to bring the substantial advantages of new generation technology to the PDS market. Significantly, Booyco Electronics pioneered the use of PDS in South Africa and today has around 5,000 of its PDS units in the field, which have delivered over a million hours of service to date.

“The experience we have gathered in the field with our existing technology has informed the direction of more recent technology, and this collaboration agreement allows quicker development and rollout of technology,” says Lourens.

According to Mernok Elektronik founder and managing director Schalk Janse van Rensburg, his company’s strength lies in its in-house design and engineering capability. “This expertise, which we have been developing for over ten years, drives our research and development efforts,” says Janse van Rensburg. “The result is a world class product range developed for the specific needs of the South African mining sector.”

With its extensive branch footprint developed over the past 13 years, Booyco Electronics will ensure that the new generation technology is within reach of customers and is constantly supported. The company’s strategically located service facilities are manned by trained field technicians, capable of both installing and supporting hi-tech equipment.

“Our proven levels of field support will ensure that the technology benefits of the latest PDS design are translated into bottom-line and safety benefits for our mining customers,” says Lourens.

The collaboration also recognises the value of greater localisation in the mining supply chain, in line with the requirements of the Mining Charter. Together, these two South African companies are able to further enhance their respective contributions to local economic development by promoting the country’s technology advancement and skills growth.

Lourens highlights that regulatory compliance has been an important factor in driving the application of PDS in mining. All products are therefore certified in terms of Department of Mineral Resources requirements.