October 23, 2017

Collision Warning Systems: Continue to Save Lives

Collision avoidance and proximity detection systems, have been in the market for the past decade or so, it is more recent that the CAS technologies have been repeatedly used to save lives by assisting the operator to avoid an accident and in some advanced technologies, by stopping the machines in time. However, the challenge is that most accidents on mines are related to human judgment, and the circumstances around accidents differ. Collision avoidance systems can reduce a significant percentage of these accidents.

The development and application of systems that can protect drivers and operators from collisions in busy surface mines, particularly where large haul trucks are interfacing with smaller vehicles and personnel, has become imperative for any mining operation.

In addition, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR)’ trackless mobile machinery (TMM) safety regulations pertaining to all mining operations, has further necessitated the adoption of the technology. The increased mine site accidents and the need for increased safety and productivity has seen the implementation of the legislation by a number of mines.

Approximately 80% of accidents on mining operations are related to human judgment, fatigue, not adhering to standard operating procedures, poor operator visibility, adverse mining conditions, poor mine and road design, and negligence.

The systems are aimed at deploying the latest technology in order to significantly reduce the ever present risk of incidents, near misses and fatalities between people, mobile plant, light vehicles, and fixed plant. This is done by providing the operator with a visual and audible alarm, and due to relative low speed and smaller sizes of the typical underground equipment, it is now possible to interface with machine systems to retard and brake the machine without operator intervention, should the defined alarm parameters be breached.

There are various systems currently available on the market, surface mining utilizes a number of systems combining various technologies, such as GPS, Radio Frequency (RF), Cameras, Radar, and laser, while the underground mining utilizes technologies such as VHF, UHF and Electro Magnetic (EM). While the better brands can offer traffic awareness functionality, the lack of accuracy and potential for loss of satellite reception of GPS required the introduction of a secondary technology, such as RF to provide a close range accurate positive identification of vehicles or personnel.

Solutions for traffic safety in Surface Mining

To meet the new DMR requirements, SAFEmine Collision Avoidance System (CAS) has become the technology of choice, within excess of 12 000 units placed in operations in South Africa. Trysome, contracted by SAFEMine, distributes the technology across the country which is now proven to significantly reduce mining accidents, as well as saving millions of dollars by reducing the risk of business disruption and maintenance costs.

The online fleet monitoring tool enables managers to track all vehicles and equipment to increase efficiency and prevent abuse and theft. The entire fleet is viewable in real-time on any smart phone, computer, or tablet.

In addition to the increasing fatigue-related incidents, a 3 pillar approach to fatigue monitoring for increased reliability has been developed by SAFEmine.  Operator attention level detection (perclos), their body clock (circadian rhythm) and reaction to traffic when operating are analyzed. The FatigueMonitor is the only provider to integrate fatigue monitoring and collision avoidance in one device.

Some of the major highlights of SAFEmine CAS include a 360 degrees protection at any speed or visibility, and not all technology has the capacity to provide a full view of the surroundings for the operator to be able to make informed decisions in mining operations.

The new technology detects all obstacles, including pedestrians; the technology is available to slow down and stop equipment such as haul trucks; and the 3rd generation available, incorporates new nuisance alarm elimination technology. Thus making, SAFEmine CAS one of the current systems that can be tailored to meet a site’s specific needs.

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