Booyco Electronics is at the forefront of collision avoidance technology in South African mining

Booyco Electronics’ development of collision-warning systems dovetails with the general trend in the South African mining industry to opt for increased mechanisation and automation and control. “Our approach with collision-warning systems has always been to be able to adapt the same equipment for multiple functions, such as for fully-fledged access control,” Anton Lourens, managing director, says.

“Obviously cost is a major driver, as mining houses do not want to double up on unnecessary technology. Ultimately we are seeing a trend for single, multi-function solutions from a dedicated technology and service provider such as ourselves. We are really committed to offering such comprehensive one-stop solutions.”

Lourens comments that the work being done by Booyco Electronics in this regard “is fairly ground-breaking,” and has made the South African mining industry sit up and take notice. “The local mining industry does not necessarily want to trial new technology due to the cost and production implications; it prefers instead to appoint a solutions provider.” This is where Booyco Electronics comes into its own, as it forms a vital link between OEM equipment and total systems.

Booyco Electronics also plays an important role in promoting best practice in terms of health and safety in the South African mining industry. With new legislation imminent in respect of collision-warning systems, Lourens notes that more and more vendors have entered the market in the hope of being able to supply products. “South Africa is definitely leading the way globally in terms of intervention in a possible incident between pedestrian and machine,” he adds.

The client list of Booyco Electronics includes the top mining houses in South Africa, from Anglo American to Rio Tinto. It is these major players who are highly receptive to innovation and technology. The company was established originally in 2006 to supply collision warning equipment for Anglo American’s thermal coal division. “The particular product we support has actually been designed and manufactured in collaboration between South Africa and Germany. Currently we are on our fourth generation of equipment. It has been implemented quite successfully.”

Lourens says that Booyco Electronics remains a proudly South African company, and has subsequently designed a range of local products, focusing on telemetry, gas detection and environmental monitoring, which the company believes are quite critical in the South African mining industry. It employs 150 staff at present and is ISO 9001 accredited.

“Our biggest customer contact base on a person-to-person level is the engineering staff, as they are often the first to come into contact with problems on the ground in need of specific solutions. Our approach is that if one customer experiences a particular problem, then the probability is quite high that the next customer will encounter a similar problem. We are really committed to innovation in this regard. We spend quite a big portion of our annual turnover and profit on research and development and continuous product improvement,” Lourens says.

“Our core focus is electronic safety equipment. We do not supply run-of-the-mill products such as personal protection equipment. What we often find is that our customers drive us into specific product areas, such as our current innovation of biometric key control. A concern for the mining industry at present is unlicensed people operating machinery, due to the health and safety implications,” Lourens says.

A critical element in the design of the Booyco Electronics CWS is its ability to transmit signals through rock in the underground mining environment.

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