Driven by stringent mine safety requirements underpinned by legislation, South Africa is a global front-runner in proximity detection systems (PDS) with Booyco Electronics as a recognised local trailblazer with growing production and engineering capability.
The company’s Jet Park facilities have for years been a hive of activity, increasing output even through the Covid-19 pandemic. Quentin Kruger, chief financial officer at Booyco Electronics, highlights the company’s constant investment in its technology and its people.
“One indication of our commitment to serving our markets sustainably is the steady growth in our staff complement, which increased by about 30% in the past financial year,” says Kruger. “This has gone hand-in-hand with strengthening our engineering team and our capacity to produce quality equipment.”
With a home-grown suite of technology solutions for PDS and collision prevention systems (CPS), Booyco Electronics’ local production facility is rooted in its engineering competence. The facility’s engineering team has recently expanded to over 30 skilled engineers, artisans and technicians. These experts design and develop the necessary products in line with industry and client requirements.
“No two mines, whether underground or surface operations, have exactly the same needs in terms of PDS and traffic management systems,” he says. “Sales engineers work with the customer to generate specifications, or a scope of work, and the engineering team then designs a fit-for-purpose solution based on our technology.”
Applying stringent quality standards and detailed works instructions, the production team takes the process through manufacture and assembly to generate the finished product. Extensive testing is conducted in the facility to ensure all products are fully functional before dispatch to customers.
“Quality checks begin with incoming items from suppliers, and specialised personnel keep a close eye on the process in the production area,” he says. “This ensures that any issues can be identified even before the product is completed.”
Final quality checks are also conducted, both on the hardware and software aspects of the finished product. Kruger notes the highly specialised nature of the technical tasks at Booyco Electronics, requiring ongoing investment in local skills development.
“Being a local, home-grown company which is constantly developing and upgrading innovative technology, we need to always be nurturing expertise,” he says. “For instance, our registered in-house trainers take our production staff through technical courses accredited by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta).”
Working to ensure that even new entrants are upskilled, the company also puts its technicians through selected third-party courses which are relevant to the needs of the operation. A separate mentoring programme focuses on career development, supporting people as they earn promotion through the company’s levels of management.
Creating opportunities for South Africa’s youth, Booyco Electronics takes on learnerships through the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme. With over 20 learners currently employed, it is hoped that many of these young people stay on after their learnerships – and grow with the company.
“We also provide bursaries for school leavers and even for our people who want to study in fields that would add value to the business,” he says. “While we target technology-related fields, this tertiary education may relate to skills as varied as supply chain management.”
He highlights that the company’s investment and training efforts align well with the Mining Charter’s emphasis on local procurement and skills development in South Africa. As a key local player in PDS and CPS – with a growing global market – Booyco Electronics is fully committed to these imperatives, says Kruger.