Tag Archives: collision avoidance

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.

Nornickel targets safety boost at Bystrinsky GOK with collision avoidance tech

Norilsk Nickel’s Bystrinsky GOK operation in the Trans-Baikal Territory of Russia has been testing a collision avoidance system from V2-Group with the aim of improving safety and avoiding haul road accidents at the open-pit gold-iron-copper mine.

Bystrinsky GOK, which consists of a mining operation and processing plant, is home to the Bystrinsky gold-iron-copper deposit. This deposit contained some 343 Mt of reserves when the mine started up in 2017.

Collision avoidance sensors from V2-Group have been installed on one Komatsu PC4000 excavator and two Caterpillar 789D mining trucks at the open-pit operation, Nornickel confirmed. The company has also employed a V2-Group dispatch system at the mine.

A Nornickel spokesperson said testing of the system started in November 2020, with the company currently looking at trialling collision avoidance equipment from other vendors as part of its due diligence process.

“A collision avoidance system should be operational around-the-clock without fail even in the most difficult weather conditions,” the spokesperson said. “It should have the capacity to adjust its parameters depending on the dimensions of various equipment and situations encountered in the pit, on the dump, and while moving between mines.”

The testing represents a step towards helping the company meet one of its key priorities in the operation of the “largest mining and processing plant in the Trans-Baikal Territory – that of ensuring safety, especially when working with mining equipment”, the spokesperson added.

The mining operation has already implemented a range of measures, including IT projects, to ensure safety of personnel, industrial safety and road safety. Last year, it tested a fatigue detection system, which quickly detects everything from episodes of driver microsleep to distractions on the road, as well as an intelligent control system.

Should testing of the collision avoidance systems prove successful, Nornickel expects to rollout the equipment on all mining and auxiliary vehicles, the spokesperson concluded.

More OEMs join the ICMM’s Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative

The Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative – a supply chain collaboration between the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – has made significant progress towards understanding what is needed to transform today’s fleet of mining vehicles into tomorrow’s new generation of cleaner, safer vehicles, members of its CEO Advisory Group announced today at IMARC Online.

The ambitions of the ICSV initiative are to introduce greenhouse gas emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040, minimise the operational impact of diesel exhaust by 2025 and make vehicle collision avoidance technology available to mining companies by 2025.

Two years on from announcing these ambitions, eight new OEMs have joined the initiative, taking the number of participating OEMs to 19, the ICMM said. This includes 3MTech, Behault, Future Digital communications, MTU, Miller Technologies, Miller Technologies, Nerospec, Newtrax and Torsa, the ICMM confirmed to IM.

ICMM members, representing around 30% of the global metals market with over 650 assets, have undertaken assessments to establish a clearer view of the progress made at site level towards each ICSV ambition. These assessments indicate ICMM members are generally at early stages of maturity in the journey, and show what progress will look like for each ambition, the ICMM said.

“This significant representation of industry can speak with an aligned voice, on aligned objectives with OEMs and third-party technology providers,” it added. “In its first two years, the ICSV initiative has achieved the critical step of sending strong signals to OEMs and third-party technology providers on their requirements, and on what is needed to accelerate development and adoption of technology across the industry.”

The initiative is led by a CEO Advisory Group comprising each leader of BHP, Anglo American, Gold Fields, Caterpillar, Komatsu and Sandvik, several members of which spoke today at IMARC Online about the collaborative model.

Nick Holland, Chief Executive, Gold Fields (and Chair of the CEO Advisory Group), said there was a critical need to advance work on cleaner, safer vehicles in mining, which will have important health and safety benefits and contribute towards the pressing need of decarbonising the mining industry.

“It is recognised that there are measures we can implement now, but other, more impactful, interventions are reliant on technology pathways that are still evolving,” he said. “This will undoubtedly take time, but the industry’s collaboration with OEMs, through the ICMM, is critical as we look for these long-term, sustainable and integrated solutions.”

Mike Henry, Chief Executive, BHP, added: “Safer, cleaner mining equipment is important for our people and the world. No one party can tackle this on their own though. The ICSV initiative brings together equipment manufacturers and ICMM members to accelerate the innovations required to improve equipment safety and reduce emissions. This is a great example of the collaborative industry-level effort that can help bring about the scale and pace of change that is needed.”

Denise Johnson, Group President, Caterpillar, said the OEM was committed to helping customers operate safely and sustainably, with the ICSV initiative helping it collaborate even more closely with the mining industry in these important areas.

“Its progress to date has helped to form a shared understanding of where the industry is on its journey and demonstrates that by working together we can more quickly accelerate the pace of change,” she said of the initiative.

Tom Butler, CEO, ICMM, added: “Partnership and collaboration fuels long-term sustainable development, and is crucial to addressing some of the mining industry’s biggest sustainability challenges. Progress made on the ICSV initiative has been building the widespread confidence needed to accelerate the level of innovation investment required to scale up commercial solutions. The initiative will benefit the entire industry and is open to all OEMs who would like to join.”

ICMM has developed tools to support the industry, OEMs and third-party technology providers to meet the initiative’s ambitions, it said. These tools include an ICSV Knowledge Hub that, the ICMM says, facilitates knowledge sharing of industry innovations, provides technical and practical resources including case studies, standards, regulations and a technology and solutions database.

Additionally, a set of “maturity frameworks” that help to “map, motivate and measure” progress against the ambitions have been published, with the intention to stimulate conversations within companies that drive thinking, decision making and action, it added.

In 2021, ICMM’s company members will focus on integrating the initiative’s goals into their corporate planning processes, allocating internal resources and effectively leveraging external resources such as synergies with other industry initiatives and collaboration between member companies, the ICMM said.

Nerospec and Schmidt Kranz Group combine automation, digitalisation expertise

South Africa’s Nerospec Group and Germany’s Schmidt Kranz Group have joined forces to, they say, implement flexible wireless automation and digitalisation solutions for its mining customers.

The two companies signed a shareholder agreement this month to form the new German entity, Nerospec SK GmbH. Nerospec Group is renowned for its reliable wireless communication and machine control technology (particularly proximity detection to trackless mining machine interface and control solutions) within sub-Saharan Africa. Schmidt Kranz Group, meanwhile, has a wide array of products and services for the mining industry through companies such as GHH, Hazemag, allmineral and Mine Master, and operates in 25 countries.

“Founding Nerospec SK is part of our strategy of expanding our global business and delivering a promising new generation of specialised underground mining technology products,” Michael Bruno, CEO and founder of Nerospec Group (top left), said. “Our objective is to innovate underground wireless connectivity solutions, perfect data acquisition and control systems, enhance edge computing and apply the industry’s best-in-class automation technologies. In so doing, we are advancing the automation of ore extraction processes, specifically within the harsh and unforgiving underground mining environment.”

Nerospec SK offers specialised underground mining technology to an existing global customer base. The technology is OEM-independent and is tailored by Nerospec SK specifically in accordance with individual customer requirements, it said. This way, its solutions can add maximum value to customers worldwide through improved connectivity, timeous decision-making information and automation techniques, for any brand, type and generation of machine.

Mortimer Glinz, CEO and shareholder of Schmidt Kranz Group (top right), said: “Our combined underground mining knowledge providing for the efficient implementation of our digital solutions will hoist productivities to a new level. At reasonable cost, we support our customers with reliable cutting-edge technology keeping their miners safe and at the same time increasing transparency of their operations.”

Brigade Electronics looks to equip miners with collision avoidance tech

With new regulations around collision avoidance technology set to enter regional markets in the next decade, Brigade Electronics is optimistic about the future for its safety solutions.

The use of vehicle safety systems has proved to be extremely effective in reducing accidents and preventing fatalities, according to the company.

Emily Hardy, a Vehicle Safety Expert at Brigade, said: “Our safety solutions mean that worker safety can be improved with simple additions to vehicles. From camera monitor systems and warning alarms, to blind spot technology, collisions could be vastly reduced if drivers are equipped proficiently.”

Blind spots are one of the main causes of collisions involving deaths and injuries. Driver visibility, particularly on large machinery, can be limited due to various factors. These include lack of direct vision through front and side windows, lack of rear vision, operator position, bulkheads and vehicle size and type.

Alongside this, ear defenders, which reduce site workers’ ability to clearly hear approaching vehicles, and poor visibility due to adverse weather and dusty worksites, increase the potential for accidents.

Depending on the vehicle type and use, there are multiple technology solutions that can be fitted to enhance safety, according to Brigade.

“For example, vehicle-mounted 360° cameras, such as Brigade’s award-winning Backeye360®, provide operators with a birds-eye view around their vehicle at all times, which they can monitor via an in-cab display,” the company said.

“Wide-angle lenses on the systems’ cameras provide a comprehensive view of the area surrounding the vehicle that even large mirrors cannot match, completely eliminating blind spots.”

Meanwhile, radar obstacle detection, which uses continuous-wave radar technology, can detect moving or stationary objects around the vehicle delivering an audible and visible alert to vehicle operators, allowing them to act accordingly.

Heavy duty and able to operate even in high or low temperatures, radar obstacle detection is also waterproof and smoke resistant, and can be easily heard in noisy environments making it ideal for mining and quarrying, Brigade said.

Reversing and warning alarms are also vital devices to warn workers that a vehicle is manoeuvring. Multi-frequency smart alarms, using white sound technology, are highly directional. This means, in adverse conditions, for example if rain is pounding down, the warning decibel level will be increased.

Davesmen, a company which supports mines throughout India, has been supplying and fitting Brigade’s range of vehicle safety solutions to heavy earth moving machines.

In 2017, there were more than 1,000 recorded fatalities at Indian coal operations alone, according to Brigade. The extreme number of accidents in India led to an introduction of tighter laws and, in July 2019, the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill was passed.

Shamit Dave, Managing Director of Davesmen, said: “Brigade’s products have been received well by the mining market. We have had excellent feedback on the Backeye360 system, especially when it’s coupled with Backsense® radars.

“Drivers like that they can see the blind spots surrounding the entire vehicle, which reduces the stress of driving in the mines as well as helping to prevent vehicle damage and repairs.”

As awareness grows for these safety solutions, it is hoped that this will provide a major boost for the growth of the industry.

Shamit added: “The future is filled with optimism. Vehicle safety has become a major part of this sector.”