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Booyco Electronics|Environment|Mining|PDS|Proximity|Proximity Detection Systems|Safety|System|Systems|Technology|Testing|Equipment
Booyco Electronics|Environment|Mining|PDS|Proximity|Proximity Detection Systems|Safety|System|Systems|Technology|Testing|Equipment
Booyco-Electronics|environment|mining|PDS|proximity|proximity-detection-systems|safety|system|systems|technology|testing|equipment

Covid-19 must not derail Level 9 compliance

SAFETY FIRST
Level 9 compliance dictates that trackless mining machinery in certain environments be able to slow down and stop when detecting a potential threat

SAFETY FIRST Level 9 compliance dictates that trackless mining machinery in certain environments be able to slow down and stop when detecting a potential threat

6th November 2020

     

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Efforts to advance safety in the mining sector through improved collision avoidance standards have been severely hampered by the Covid-19 lockdown, says electronics manufacturer Booyco Electronics CEO Anton Lourens.

The company is playing a leading role in testing proximity detection systems (PDSs) to meet government’s planned Level 9 compliance.

“It took a great deal of time and commitment from mining industry stakeholders to detail the standards and processes for suppliers of proximity detection equipment to start tests on original-equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs’) machines,” says Lourens. “This momentum has been lost, and even the deadline for compliance is now in question.”

He explains that, Level 9 compliance – which was expected to be applied to the industry in December 2020 – dictates that trackless mining machinery (TMM) in certain environments be able to slow down and stop automatically when detecting a potential threat. These technical capabilities are expected to have a significant impact on safety in the workplace.

“Limited communication about government plans at this stage mean that there is considerable uncertainty in the market about future compliance parameters.

“This is a pity as there was a constructive urgency developing, which was pushing the process forward towards reaching its goals,” says Lourens.

He urges all stakeholders to remain focused on achieving Level 9 compliance, as the process still requires a great deal of time-consuming collaboration between OEMs, PDS suppliers and mines.

“Compliance in this field is not a simple tick-box exercise. It requires each mine to find a fit-for-purpose and integrated solution that suits their mining environment while practically mitigating significant risk,” he says.

Lourens warns that the technology providers in the market can develop the most advanced equipment, but it may still be ineffective on the ground if it is not well integrated into OEM machines and mines’ own systems.

The key to successful integration begins with the ISO 21815 machine interface standard, which describes the requirements for a communication interface between a PDS and TMM. Both OEM and PDS suppliers must consider this standard when developing their equipment, and then cooperate in terms of integrating and testing their respective systems.

Lourens notes that one of the challenges that needs to be addressed is that there is still selective engagement between some OEMs and PDS vendors, leaving gaps in integration that could hamper application across the sector.

“If all players are not on board for whatever reason, it could lead to some of them being left behind in this process,” he states.

Despite the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown, there is still much progress that can be achieved in the journey towards Level 9 compliance.

He emphasises the extensive laboratory-scale process that has been under way, where parties can engage remotely to develop a proof of concept and finalise how the systems should integrate.

“Taking the collision avoidance system to the TMM, fitting it and testing it is a different matter altogether, and may not always be feasible in terms of social distancing regulations. As the lockdown eases, we will hopefully be able to do that soon.”

In the meantime, however, there is plenty of groundwork still to do, with risk assessments, legal aspects and various other planning and administration.

He stresses that there is a danger of exaggerating the impact of the lockdown, and missing the opportunity to make progress.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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