Tag Archives: collision avoidance

Epiroc to provide ‘complete’ collision avoidance systems via Mernok acquisition

Epiroc has agreed to acquire Mernok Elektronik (Pty) Ltd, a South Africa-based company that provides advanced collision avoidance systems for mining companies.

With this acquisition, Epiroc will strengthen its position as a world-leading provider of automation and safety solutions for mining operations, it says.

Mernok Elektronik is headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa. The company designs and produces proximity detection technologies and collision avoidance systems of the highest level (EMESRT Level 9) applicable for either a single machine or an entire mixed fleet of machines regardless of manufacturer or type of equipment, it says. Mernok Elektronik’s customers are primarily in Africa, with its systems designed to significantly reduce the risk of vehicle accidents, strengthening operator safety as well as productivity.

The company’s focus was initially vested in three main areas, namely mining applications, military applications and high-end industrial applications. In 2016, it decided to re-focus the company to service only the mining sector. Back in 2019, it teamed up with Booyco Electronics and Selectronic to bring new generation technology to the proximity detection system space.

Mernok Elektronik has about 45 employees and revenues in the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, of approximately R80 million ($4.7 million).

“Collision avoidance is critical for the mining industry to strengthen safety and productivity, and Mernok’s advanced solutions complement Epiroc’s existing equipment and automation offering well,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said. “Together we will provide complete collision avoidance solutions to the highest industry standards to support our customers on their journey towards the safest and most optimal operations. We look forward to welcoming the dynamic Mernok team to Epiroc.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the March quarter of 2023.

Torsa launches next generation collision avoidance system

Torsa has unveiled its next generation Collision Avoidance System for shovels, haul trucks, auxiliary and light vehicles, building on the first version of its system that was deployed at Antamina in Peru.

The Spain-based company says its latest CAS optimises loading operation, allowing the two trucks to be loaded simultaneously.

Gabino de Diego, the new director of Business Development for Torsa, explained: “For our first generation, our design team evaluated all the detection technologies available in the market. With the focus on reliability and operators’ safety, LiDAR became the technology of choice. Actually, Torsa were the first one in the market with a LiDAR-based CAS.

“Now, in our fourth generation, a new 3D LiDAR is able to scan more than 900,000 points per second, for an extremely accurate map of the vehicle’s surroundings. In addition to LiDAR, Torsa CAS system is equipped with cutting-edge detection technologies to provide maximum accuracy: ToF, UWB and high precision GPS.

“The combination of all those technologies allows our system to detect vehicles and other equipment with centimetric precision.”

Torsa has developed a user interface as part of this latest update, taking on feedback from users to streamline the information required for both the people running the vehicles and equipment and for the ones in the control rooms, “reducing the information noise and providing a minimal invasive system”.

“For example, in our fourth generation CAS system, we have incorporated a predictive algorithm to avoid false positives because we know that this is key for someone who is driving many ours every single day,” de Diego said.

He added that the company’s CAS system has clocked up millions of hours of operation to date in various mines, with plans to bring the technology to mines in US, Canada, Africa and Australia from this year onwards.

Like all TORSA solutions, the collision avoidance system for shovels, trucks and light vehicles is integrated into the TORSA Cloud environment, ensuring the correct interaction, operation and technical information management for all clients, the company says. The cloud-based platform provides real-time data and information that can be used to target specific issues in the mine, running campaings to optimise the operation.

“Thanks to the business intelligence modules included in the platform users are able, for example, to play back incidents and vehicle interactions for detailed analysis, or rank the operators based on multiple parameters to study and optimise behavioural KPIs,” de Diego said.

TORSA collaborates actively with the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) where the company is involved in the Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles (ICSV) program, which brings together 27 of the world’s leading mining companies and technologies suppliers to collaborate in a non-competitive space in order to accelerate the development of a new generation of mining vehicles.

“Our system is designed to perform at Control Levels 7, 8 and 9 according to the safety requirements based on the ICSV program by ICMM following the EMESRT (The Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table), where TORSA also participates defining the new ISO 21815 standard,” de Diego concluded.

Intrepid Group and indurad partner on anti-collision, volumetric inventory and positioning solution offering

Intrepid Group Ltd and indurad have announced a new strategic partnership to provide robust anti-collision, volumetric inventory and positioning solutions for the mining and material handling industry.

The partnership will have a focus on the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the pair said.

Indurad calls itself the global leader in radar-based automation and productivity solutions for mine sites, train loadouts, stockyard equipment and shiploading facilities. Its patented 2D and 3D radar systems are installed at mining operations and ports worldwide to increase ore throughput and minimise downtime and collisions.

Intrepid Group says it helps its customers improve their operations through accurate and efficient measurement of their processes, partnering with manufacturers to develop solutions that achieve these goals.

“Partnerships with regional leaders like Intrepid Group allow us to enhance our market coverage,” Adriaan Goosen, Director of Engineering at indurad, said.

Campbell Adams, Chief Executive Officer at Intrepid Group, added: “We are delighted by the partnership. indurad’s solutions affords us even greater flexibility to meet the diverse needs of our customers. The synergies of this partnership will greatly benefit both our current and future customers.”

BHP reduces vehicle ‘events’, hazards at Yandi iron ore mine with the help of MSD

A BHP-developed system is harnessing data from a range of existing safety systems to improve safety in light vehicles (LV) and surface mobile equipment (SME) at its Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) mine sites, the miner says.

The Magnet Safety Dashboard (MSD) uses existing operator and equipment monitoring systems to quickly identify potential behaviours or job factors that might increase the likelihood of safety events occurring (‘at risk’ scenarios).

BHP explains: “Operations have historically used different hardware and software systems in isolation. MSD was developed to address integration potential between existing systems providing population-sized data sets on driver/operator behaviour.”

Events and hazards associated with LVs and SME can occur frequently at BHP, so the ability to quickly understand and influence human and job factors, which could contribute to safe outcomes, supports leaders to manage risk more holistically.

MSD harnesses a range of data from collision avoidance, distraction and alertness monitoring and fleet management systems, including location, speed, acceleration, braking and cornering. All selected information is monitored and assessed from a central location, which allows immediate access for relevant employees and medium-to long-term trend analysis, the company claims.

Over 800,000 metrics from more than 20,000 devices, using 300 instances of 60-plus data points, are collected.

Leaders are alerted if hardware, software and network controls are not operating as expected, while team members are alerted if acute intervention is required (where it is possible to achieve).

The system has also created efficient ways to record and display recommended response actions where chronic patterns are present, according to the company.

This accurate and timely notification of driver behaviour events, trends and hot spots requiring improvement has increased awareness and, in the Yandi iron ore mine site, resulted in reductions to the frequency of fatigue, distraction, error and non-compliance events, BHP says.

The Magnet Safety Dashboard program at Yandi Mine Site’s has contributed to a 58% reduction in overall reported vehicle events (December 2020 to April 2021) and a 70% reduction in reported speeding events (October 2020 to April 2021).

Following the program’s positive results and learning at the Yandi mine site, an MSD pilot will be implemented across all WAIO mine sites, BHP says.

Sibanye-Stillwater to roll out Newtrax OptiMine Collision Avoidance System at Stillwater mine

Sibanye-Stillwater is to invest $17 million in OptiMine® Collision Avoidance System (CAS) technology to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities at its Stillwater PGM underground mining operations in Montana, USA, Newtrax says.

Newtrax and Sibanye-Stillwater have been working together since 2017 on various digitalisation projects to improve safety and productivity at Stillwater.

OptiMine increases safety and optimises underground mining operations, which align with Sibanye-Stillwater’s CARES values of commitment to safety, accountability, respect and sustainability, Newtrax says. These values support safe operations, allow growth, underpin business strategy and promote competitiveness and success.

This year marks the beginning of a new chapter with the mine-wide implementation of the new OptiMine Collision Avoidance System that links intelligent cap lamps to a warning system inside the cab of underground mobile equipment.

The system provides the vehicle operator with a virtual view of any pedestrians in the immediate area of the machine, along with an escalating warning system for both as the distance between them narrows.

This escalation transitions from a warning to vehicle intervention, where the vehicle automatically reduces speed and comes to a controlled stop should the system recognise the presence of any pedestrian wearing an intelligent cap lamp in the high-risk zone.

The same technology is also designed to improve the safety of vehicle-to-vehicle as well as vehicle-to-locomotive interactions and will be used as the digitalisation platform for real-time operations management, Newtrax, which is owned by Sandvik, said.

Jacques van Rensburg, Vice President and Group Head of Engineering, Sibanye-Stillwater, said: “Newtrax provides us with a safe, proactive and integrable solution to our operational needs. The OptiMine system integrates all the telemetry, tracking and proximity detection technology we need to run our operations safely, transparently and efficiently. And they are humble enough to leverage the global experience we’ve had with other collision avoidance systems globally, to make their system even better.”

Jean-Phillip Bouchard, Vice President – Americas, Newtrax, said: “Sibanye-Stillwater is a key customer for Newtrax. We are pleased to expand their current system and take on the challenge of developing and delivering OEM-agnostic intervention controllers to enable slow-to-stop control of all their equipment.”

Last year, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, together with Newtrax, introduced what it said was the next generation of the OptiMine solution, which combines the Newtrax digitalisation offering with the existing Sandvik suite of digital process optimisation tools as one integrated OptiMine product.

Barminco, Newtrax, Sandvik team up to tackle pedestrian safety in underground mines

Perenti’s Barminco, Newtrax and Sandvik are partnering to develop what they say is a new technology-led solution that improves the safety of pedestrians working near heavy vehicles (HVs) underground.

Between 2008 and 2018, there were 12 fatalities involving HVs in the underground mining industry in Western Australia. Seven of those deaths were pedestrians.

“This statistic is a reminder that these mining machines – that weigh a minimum of 4.5 t and operate in areas of poor visibility – are a significant risk factor for people who work in close proximity to them in an underground environment,” the companies said.

A leading underground mining contractors, Barminco currently operates 25 projects in seven countries and employs more than 5,600 people. Almost all these employees will be exposed to a working HV during their career. In fact, every hour of every day of the year, there are approximately 2,000 Barminco employees working underground interacting with heavy vehicles.

Barminco’s scale and underground mining expertise, combined with Newtrax’s capability to develop collision avoidance systems and the high penetration of Sandvik HVs featuring advanced controls, means this partnership is uniquely positioned to understand how people and equipment interact in underground mines, they said.

Newtrax has developed a collision avoidance system that links “intelligent” cap lamps to the warning system inside the cab of an underground HV. The system provides the vehicle operator with virtual visibility of any pedestrians in the immediate area of their vehicle, along with an escalated warning system to both the pedestrian and operator as the distance between them reduces. This escalation transitions from warning to vehicle intervention, where the HV automatically reduces speed and comes to a controlled stop, when the system senses any pedestrian wearing an intelligent cap lamp in the high-risk zone.

Under the partnership, Newtrax will deploy its next-generation Level 9 Collision Avoidance System across Barminco’s Sandvik fleet, including the supply of intelligent cap lamps with advanced electronic safety features to Barminco’s underground mines. The technology is due to undergo initial testing at one of Barminco’s underground sites in January 2022.

Paul Muller, Perenti Chief Executive Officer, Mining, said the focus of the project was twofold – the safety of its people and the sustainable adoption of the technology industry-wide.

“The exposure of pedestrians to heavy vehicles underground is a significant risk not just for us, but for everyone involved in the underground mining industry,” Muller said. “The combination of Newtrax’s technology, our underground operating experience and Sandvik’s role in supplying heavy mining vehicles can put us in a position to offer the entire industry a smart solution to a complex problem.”

Simon Waghorn, Newtrax Regional Vice President – APAC, said the collaboration with Barminco would provide the partners with real-world experience that would help optimise the system as it develops.

“Although the Newtrax Collision Avoidance System is the best available system on the market, many more enhancements are required to accelerate adoption,” he said. “This partnership with Barminco, a world-class underground hard-rock mining contractor, will enable collaborative product development which will result in an even better product for the industry.”

Wayne Scrivens, Vice President – Sales Area APAC, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added: “Barminco is a very important customer for Sandvik and we are pleased to take on the challenge to develop and deliver the industry-leading intervention controllers, to enable slow-to-stop control of the equipment in Barminco’s fleet.”

Matrix Design Group leverages AI and machine learning in lastest collision avoidance platform

Matrix Design Group has introduced its new OmniPro® collision avoidance system for surface mines, which uses Visual Artificial Intelligence (Visual AI) and machine learning to enable line-of travel, crosswalk and blind-spot pedestrian and vehicle alerting for mobile equipment.

Consisting of up-to-three 120° field-of-view cameras, the OmniPro system works without personal wearable devices or tags. OmniPro not only “sees” and identifies people and hazards, alerting with visual and/or audible alerts, it also photographs and reports zone breaches, according to Matrix. OmniPro is an application of the Matrix technology that received the 2020 NIOSH Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award, which was presented in September at MINExpo 2021.

“Operations recognise that prevention is the most effective strategy for combatting mining accidents,” Brian Jones, Vice President of Business Development, said. “Those with safety initiatives will see OmniPro’s Visual AI system as an indispensable tool in helping protect workers and equipment.”

Through its Visual AI object recognition technology, OmniPro has been taught to identify and report on a library of “objects” including people, vehicles, equipment, stop signs and pedestrian signs.

The user can select what objects will be included, whether to integrate with the machine or operate as alert-only, and whether the alert will be visual, audible or tactile. Additionally, depending on the mine’s needs, OmniPro’s wireless solution can trigger a stop sign, pedestrian light, voice alert or crossing arm. All incidents are recorded and reviewed to provide insights for additional safety training as needed.

OmniPro’s cost-effective and customisable solution can be adapted to match any operating environment through its programmable field-of-view zone grid configuration tool, which enables it to meet the safety requirements of different mines, it said.

“OmniPro is effective on many levels,” Jones said. “Our customers have told us it brings awareness to workers and helps them feel the operation is investing in their safety.”

Booyco Electronics looks for CPS, PDS tech integration with Ramjack tie-up

South Africa-based Booyco Electronics has signed up to a collaboration with Ramjack Technology Solutions to help mines effectively integrate its collision prevention system (CPS) and proximity detection system (PDS) solutions with other technologies effectively, in the interests of greater safety and productivity.

“Technology is changing the way that key technical services are provided to mines,” Anton Lourens, CEO of Booyco Electronics, says. “The world is becoming a smaller place, and the value that service providers deliver to mining customers is no longer determined by a corporation’s size.”

Technological specialisation now demands expertise, skill sets and hardware that extend far beyond what single multinational companies can provide, according to Lourens. This invariably leads to silos of expertise developing on mines that require bridging.

This is the reason for partnering with technology integrator Ramjack Technology Solutions, he says.

The two companies have already collaborated informally on a significant deep-level gold mining project in South Africa, and are excited by the prospects that this work has opened up.

“With South Africa’s mine safety legislation being very advanced in terms of requiring Level 9 compliance for collision avoidance, our partnership can offer considerable overall value to mines across the world,” Lourens says.

According to Mike Jackson, President and CEO of Ramjack Technology Solutions, Booyco Electronics fills an important space as a best-of-breed technology provider in a critical component of mine safety.

“Our role as a systems integrator is to help mines get more value from their chosen production and safety technologies,”  Jackson says.

The company does this in two main ways, he says; horizontal integration bridges the gaps between the technology ‘silos’ on mines, while vertical integration takes the process right from instruments up to platform level.

Jackson highlights that the interoperability of leading technologies is the optimal way to achieve the “mine of future”. This allows mines to take up the best technologies available and ensure they work together on their on-site platform.

“Technology providers like Booyco and Ramjack have the advantage of learning from the experience of many mines – not just one,” he says. “This gives our customers significant added value, as they can benefit from the learnings that have taken place elsewhere, without bearing the cost of developing that experience on their own.”

Epiroc makes significant safety stride with RCS Collision Avoidance System interface

Epiroc says it recently launched an offering that aims to support safety in underground mining environments with the RCS based Collision Avoidance System (CAS) interface.

Proximity Detection System (PDS) suppliers, compliant to the ISO 21815-2 Draft (March 2018), are able to interface with Epiroc RCS Materials Handling TMM (Trackless Mobile Machinery) to enable functionality for slowing and stopping, in what the PDS perceives to be a hazardous or unwanted event, Epiroc explains.

The interface allows for third-party systems to communicate with Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, in a completely new way, Epiroc claims. This enables a third-party PDS added to the vehicle, when needed, to take interventional control of the machine and prevent accidents.

The CAS Interface, when coupled with a PDS, helps to detect objects in the collision risk area, evaluate the collision risk level and take interventional actions to avoid the potential collision, the company says. The system works on the understanding that all machines and all personnel in the mine are equipped with tags or sensors.

“A CAS installation is intended to assist with operator perception of potential hazards around the machine and prevention of potential incidents where operators cannot respond in time, however the overall responsibility for safe operation of the machine remains with the operator,” Epiroc said.

Daniel Sandström, Global Product Manager-Minetruck, in Epiroc’s Underground division, said: “With safety first and always in mind, I am proud to see the release of the Collision Avoidance System interface. This improves safety underground in a ground-breaking way.”

The CAS interface, which is now available for the complete Epiroc RCS Loader fleet as well as for Minetruck MT42 and soon thereafter for the Minetruck MT65, has been tested by customers, who have been pleased with the performance and functionality, Epiroc said.

Kumeshan Naidu, Integration Manager M&A, at Epiroc’s Technology and Digital division, said: “The Epiroc RCS CAS interface performed as designed, demonstrating high consistency in the cases where the PDS provided reliable input signals.

“The CAS initiative is not a ‘plug and play’ solution and must be tailored, with the participation of all parties to suite a particular site. Change management and risk mitigation strategies on these sites are key when implementing the system.”

Moving forward, Naidu can see further potential: “Solutions like Mobilaris On-Board can augment a mine’s efforts to ensure safety, as well as create a more ‘natural’ state of awareness that underground TMM operators can respond to. With an interface that is more familiar to the operator, who typically drives commercial vehicles (GPS, Waze, Google Maps), their reflex is to naturally avoid a potential unwanted event from occurring. An operator or pedestrian that is equipped with real-time information about their surroundings, through systems like Mobilaris’ MMI, On-board and Pocket Mine, will be better suited to promote a safe working environment; one in which the CAS slow down and stop functionality is a last resort in preventing collision events.”

Epiroc is part of the ISO standard working group where new standards are being developed. It is also participating in the International Council for Mining and Metals (ICMM) initiative for Vehicle Interaction.

Epiroc intends to change the interface from supporting ISO 21815-2 Draft March 2018 to further supporting the final version of ISO 21815-2 within a year of ISO 21815-2 being released.

De Beers to boost southern Africa safety performance with advanced driver assistance systems

De Beers Group says it is rolling out the use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) across its operations in southern African, following two phases that saw the technology installed on buses and any vehicles that carry four or more people.

The world’s leading diamond producer places “Putting Safety First Everywhere” as its number one value and has been fatality-free for the past two years, according to Dr Urishanie Govender, De Beers Group Head of Safety and Sustainable Development.

“The application of ADAS aligns with our culture of pioneering brilliance as we equip our operations for FutureSmart Mining,” Dr Govender says. “This exciting initiative has provided another valuable tool for our amazing people on site who are constantly looking for ways to improve our safety performance.”

She highlights that the intervention contributes to the De Beers Group’s critical control management, one of the areas for advancement identified at the company’s regular safety summits.

“Driven by the chief executive officers across the group, the specific focus areas are Competence, Culture, Connectedness, and Cultivating Care to enable everyone to be Ready to Respond to Risks,” she said.

Head of Asset Strategy and Reliability at De Beers Group, Meshal Ruplal, says the first phase of the ADAS initiative saw the technology being installed on buses and any vehicles that carry five or more people. In a second phase, vehicles with four passengers were fitted with the equipment. The technology comprises a range of functionality, including cameras to monitor “harsh and distracted driving”, the company said.

“The camera software can also check on the driver’s eyelid movements and other indicators of drowsiness, and can transmit short video clips to a control room for improved monitoring,” Ruplal says. “It can register infringements like changing lanes without indicating, or crossing a solid barrier line.”

The technology – which has been proven in the trucking industry abroad – assists the driver by checking if there is a safe distance to the vehicle in front, recognising speed limit signs and detecting whether the seat belt is being worn.

“ADAS makes an important contribution to our coaching and training activities, as the data we gather is fed back to drivers to continuously improve their performance,” Ruplal says. “Used as a proactive warning system, the technology has generally received good support from drivers and their trade unions.”

He notes that De Beers Group’s contractors – who assume much of the company’s staff transportation function – have been quick to come on board and align with the ever more stringent safety standards.