While essential to effective maintenance, the live testing of mining vehicles and equipment can be hazardous and time consuming – but this has all changed with the SafeGauge range of digital testing systems.
Developed in Australia, SafeGauge is now distributed in South Africa by Booyco Electronics, known for its leading role in promoting safety on mines through its Proximity Detection Systems (PDS). According to Graeme Jardine, Booyco Electronics’ Chief Sales Officer, the SafeGauge range aligns closely with the company’s safety focus.
“As the mining industry works towards Zero Harm in the workplace, mines are always on the lookout for technologies that can make their sites safer,” said Jardine. “SafeGauge helps to achieve this strategic goal by addressing an important area of maintenance: live testing.”
This refers to the testing of large equipment like articulated dump truck (ADT), rigid frame dump trucks, load haul dumpers (LHDs) and hydraulic shovels while they are running, to generate vital data on the machines’ condition. He notes that this is traditionally conducted with hoses and handheld gauges, to test variables such as pressure, fan speed and wear on rotating equipment such as slew bearings. The practice often involves maintenance staff being in close proximity to an idling machine, working near high pressures and rotating components.
“By introducing the Safegauge sensors and products which are fitted to large equipment with quick couplers or magnets, the necessary readings and measurements can be taken from a distance of up to 50 metres,” he explains. “This removes the personnel from any hazardous areas where they might, for instance, be positioned in crush zones of unplanned movement.”
This wireless monitoring system not only allows workers to test live machines from a safe distance, but it also does it up to seven times quicker. This translates directly into less downtime, which improves the productivity of mobile plant.
“The innovations by SafeGauge eliminate the need for hoses and gauges when conducting tests on running machines, and this eliminates the risks associated with traditional handheld gauges, such as the dangers of overpressure causing hose or gauge bursts,” he says. “Instead, SafeGauge provides compact and portable kits that can be easily transported to the site or used in a workshop.”
The Workshop Kit, for example, has up to seven connectable transducers for measuring pressure. Jardine notes that the SafeGauge Field Service Kit has been particularly popular as an all-in-one kit for field technicians, and includes a dial indicator for wear measurement and two pressure transducers for pressure measurement.
“In our engagement with markets in South African and north of our borders, customers have been enthusiastic about putting SafeGauge to work,” he says. “They have also been impressed by how easy it is to use the equipment, with just a relatively short induction.”
He highlights that the technological advancement of the SafeGauge range makes it a suitable addition to Booyco Electronics’ offering – as it leverages the Jet Park company’s depth of electronic and digital expertise.
“Our established resources and market footprint equip us well to support SafeGauge in South Africa, and we look forward to the prospect of taking these solutions into other parts of Africa,” he says.