Booyco Electronics about to introduce state-of-the-art collision intervention system

Electronic safety equipment specialist, Booyco Electronics is about to introduce a new generation state-of-the-art collision warning system (CWS) that managing director Anton Lourens says will take the technology and application to a whole new level. The new system is currently on trial at a coal mine in Mpumalanga and the roll out is expected by the first quarter of this year.

Lourens says both CWS and collision avoidance systems (CAS) are required in the mining industry, depending on the nature of the application. A CWS consists of a sensing device that detects the presence of an object, an interface that provides an audible and/or visual alarm to the equipment operator and wiring between the two. These systems warn both vehicle operators and pedestrians of potential collisions and danger. Sensor technologies include ultrasonic echo detection, infrared reflection, radar (radio detection and ranging), video cameras and radio frequency identification (RFID) systems and are deployed dependent the specific application. RFID is proven as the only successful technology for underground CWS.

A CAS is a system of sensors that is placed within a vehicle to detect potential collisions with objects or personnel. This technology is able to interact with the mobile equipment or vehicle’s brakes and bring it rapidly to a complete and safe stop.

“From our ongoing dialogue with the Department of Mineral Resources, we gather that some form of legislation focusing on the installation of CWS technology is imminent. Therefore the mining industry is likely to be obliged to introduce this technology at all operations and I would caution these companies to properly evaluate all CWS systems offered to them by verifying customer references to confirm that these systems actually live up to their claims.

“What differentiates our CWS technology in the current marketplace is the fact that it works equally well on electrically-driven and diesel-powered vehicles. We are the first to have achieved this capability and, with more than half of the trackless or mechanised mining equipment presently in use in the industry being diesel powered, this is a critical requirement.

“Having the biggest market share in the CWS arena has allowed us to gather customer input from across the full spectrum of mining operations in and around South Africa and we’ve applied this valuable feedback to the design of the next generation CWS 900 with a very exciting result. It is effectively a CWS that can be applied as a CAS.”

Lourens adds that significant time and energy has been dedicated to ensuring the new system is IS (intrinsically safe) compliant to meet the safety requirements of fiery mines.

“The impact of stopping a vehicle travelling at high speed has further repercussions,” explains Lourens. “A mine might be required to take extra measures to prevent injury to operators during emergency braking, such as introducing additional three-point harnesses. Building on the success of our CWS 800 technology, the latest CWS 900 system will offer a solution that delivers specific warnings, and creep and stopping zones around a vehicle to avoid unnecessary additional safety interventions.

“Its development has been a natural evolution of existing technology — a simple and steady approach that has ensured the new CWS 900 is a mature system that matches the requirements of the market.”

Lourens comments that although the initial rollout of the system will be accomplished through retrofits, in due course the technology will be incorporated by OEMs during production. Existing CWS 800 equipment will be upgradable to CWS 900 with minor modifications.

Booyco Electronics markets a range of CWS products, custom-adapted for use in both the surface and underground mining environment. The company is focusing on supplying reliable systems to warn of the possibility of collisions between vehicles and pedestrians, and vehicles with vehicles.

Research in this arena has led to strategic alliances with the innovative companies, VAK Technical Solutions and Selectronic Funk-und Sicherheitstechnik GmbH, which ensures that Booyco Electronics is able to continuously develop solutions to meet customer-specific requirements in the mining industry. The company remains an industry leader in CWS technology and implementation.

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