Increasing safety and reducing costs with Collision Warning Systems for mining

Booyco Electronics’ Collision Warning System has provided the local and African mining industry with a cost effective and efficient way of increasing employee safety. The system effectively reduces downtime by eliminating collisions between vehicles, as well as collisions between vehicles and pedestrians.

Pending legislation from the Department of Mineral Resources on the compulsory implementation of some form of collision warning system technology, coupled with pre-existing OHS legislation compliance requirements from the Department of Labour, will increase the safety onus for mine management.

“The biggest contributors to on-site mine accidents are noise and vehicle blind spots,” Anton Lourens, managing director of Booyco Electronics says. “Our primary objective has always been to supply dependable collision warning systems that address the specific needs of the industry. As the operator of one of the largest footprints of such technology we have been able to take specific feedback from our customers and, together with our strategic alliance partners, further develop our systems.”

A critical element in the design of the Booyco Electronics CWS is its ability to transmit signals through rock in the underground mining environment. The system contains a sensing device that is able to detect the presence of an object (vehicle or person) in real time and relay an audible and/or visual warning alarm to the equipment operator.

As we develop closer partnerships with customers, we have been able to leverage our sensor technologies for varying applications including video cameras and radio frequency identification (RFID) systems. Very-low frequency (VLF) RFID is proven as the only successful technology for CWS.

“The Booyco Electronics CWS works equally well on electrically-driven and diesel-powered vehicles, and this is important as many operators have a mixed fleet,” Lourens points out.

Lourens explains that VLF and ultra-high frequency (UHF) is the optimum combination in a solution in terms of enhanced accuracy and reliability. VLF is ideal for warning pedestrians who work or move near machinery and UHF signalling is used to warn equipment operators of the presence of other vehicles. Both frequencies are incorporated in Booyco Electronics’ CWS technology.

“VLF is now accepted by the mining industry as the only reliable technology for collision warning underground. This is due to its ability to penetrate rock, so even when a pedestrian is around the corner or on the other side of a rock wall, they will receive ample warning that a vehicle is approaching. Similarly, the equipment operator will be alerted to the presence of pedestrians so that he may proceed with due caution,” Lourens says.

VLF technology provides an extremely stable and predictable system which can be set to function within predetermined zones, with a high degree of accuracy. As a bonus, it is not adversely affected by surrounding equipment, so interference is not an issue.

“Ultimately mines require a warning system that provides them with the dual benefits of enhanced uptime and compliant safety practice. The collision warning systems supplied by Booyco Electronics provide a single source supply for reliable and accurate warning, locating and monitoring systems capable of operating in uniquely African conditions,” Lourens concludes.

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