South Africa – Booyco Electronics, which has been at the forefront of Pedestrian Detection Systems (PDS) in the South African mining industry since 2006, is currently installing its PDS technology at a surface mining operation.
“We have completed the mining operation side and are currently busy with the mineral processing side, wherein lie more challenges and definitely a lot more applications. We have standardised the PDS deployment, i.e. specific zone shaping per vehicle type, which took time analysing the operational requirements,” Anton Lourens, MD, says.
Booyco Electronics would typically recommend a 10 m wide warning zone, for example, whereas the client would request that this zone be made smaller. “One of the definite advantages of our technology is that it is inherently flexible, enabling us to adapt it according to specific requirements and vehicle type,” Lourens explains.
Booyco Electronics is setting the local standard in PDS technology for surface mining operations. “Currently there are quite a few systems out there that look at machine-to-machine interaction, but which are not necessarily applicable or effective on the pedestrian side. While we believe that we have the best solution available on the market, the industry-wide implementation of PDS technology remains an issue.”
Lourens says that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has unveiled the draft version of the mandatory Code of Practice for Trackless Mobile Machinery (TMM). “It deals with TMMs in terms of what measures are expected by the regulator and where this is going. It is already past draft stage, and we believe it will change the immediate market requirements. The DMR has also specified additional testing to ensure that all the products out there comply with the same standards.”
The mining industry has adopted a cautious approach to the implementation of PDS technology. “There is quite a lot of work still to be done, as we are not yet at the point where these systems can just be switched on. A major challenge is that there are so many stakeholders to deal with, from the mining house and contractor to the vehicle OEM and PDS supplier.
Ultimately the client has a specific viewpoint in terms of his operational requirements, so we have to ensure that all these stakeholders are accommodated,” Lourens says.
While Booyco Electronics is engaged in ongoing discussions with OEMs, “the biggest part of our installations right now is retrofits, as many of our mining customers wish to ensure that they are compliant. That is a challenge by itself, as we often have to relocate existing equipment installed so that the PDS is working properly. The technology is such that ID installation is specific to create a particular application.”
While this market sector is highly competitive at the moment, what gives Booyco Electronics its leading edge is its capability to offer a total solution. “What we have tried to do is create a total scope of supply so that the client does not have to worry about other related safety equipment. For example, we can supply our biometric licensing readers either in conjunction with PDS or as a standalone item.”
Another significant long-term requirement will be the servicing and maintenance of Booyco Electronics’ installed PDS base once the technology has been legislated. “There are huge opportunities for us, particularly in how we have positioned our products in terms of functionality and pricing. What gives us a competitive edge is that our products are designed and manufactured for local conditions and specifications,” Lourens concludes.