While global adoption of Proximity Detection Systems (PDS) – also known as Collision Prevention Systems (CPS) – is likely to accelerate in the near future, it is important to understand that scoping, implementing, integrating and maintaining such systems can be complex.
Booyco Electronics, an acknowledged leader in the field, has been developing PDS since 2006 and CEO Anton Lourens says he is heartened by the growing acceptance in the international mining sector that there is the need to understand what any particular technology does and does not do prior to making decisions to implement CPS.
Strategically, Booyco Electronics broadened its global reach through collaboration agreements with selected technology integrators. Doing this, Lourens says, has created the optimal channel to customers in regions where we do not have our own infrastructure, and assures customers that PDS solutions will be rolled out effectively.
“Our technology partners understand the safety and other benefits of Booyco Electronics’ PDS solutions. Most importantly they bring their insights into the local conditions in which our equipment can be applied; giving mining operations essentially the best of both worlds,” he says. “Through this approach we have been making inroads and expect to continue to do so.” The company now has collaborations with several technology specialists worldwide including Insucam, Ramjack, RCT, Tecwise and Wenco.
Lourens says that when considering the implementation of a PDS solution the first step is conducting a detailed risk assessment, irrespective of whether it is an underground or openpit operation, but he is quick to caution that it is especially risky for an operation to rush into a PDS installation after a safety incident that has led to a partial or total mine shutdown, whether for regulatory or operational reasons. “Being hasty can be counter-productive, and for a PDS installation to be successful it is essential that it meets the specifications identified in the risk assessment,” he says.
“This calls for a collaborative project approach, with all stakeholders participating including the customer, the PDS supplier and a competent systems integrator. This should be for both the selection and implementation of a PDS or CPS solution,” he says. ”This early engagement should include mine management and personnel, trainers, OEMS, suppliers and integrators. They all need to understand why the PDS solution is being considered and the implications and benefits.”
Commenting on stakeholders, Lourens says that TMM operators are key participants in the process, and during the implementation stage it is critical that equipment installation teams engage one-on-one with operators, addressing technical questions. Training of operators is also vital to ensure that they understand how the PDS equipment works and how to care for it.
While its core function is detecting and avoiding collisions, PDS and CPS technology allows use of the data it generates, and the Booyco Electronics Asset Management Systems (BEAMS) software suite is a central information hub which facilitates insight into a mining operation’s interaction. Analysing this data provides information about unsafe patterns of behaviour allowing this to be identified and appropriate interventions implemented, enhancing safety.