In the light of impending safety regulations governing South African mines, South African-based Booyco Electronics is well advanced in testing its proximity detection systems (PDS) to comply with Level 9 safety standards.
The importance of this testing arises from recent changes in Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, which require mines to take ‘reasonably practicable measures’ to prevent collisions between trackless mobile machines (TMMs) – as well as between pedestrians and TMMs.
Level 9 raises the bar
Past measures implemented by mines have included systems that warn pedestrians of their proximity to TMMs (Level 7) and systems that deliver an advisory instruction to TMM operators (Level 8).
‘The Level 9 standard raises the bar significantly, requiring electronic PDS systems to take mechanical control of the TMM and automatically bring it to a stop when a dangerous situation is detected,’ says Booyco Electronics CEO Anton Lourens. ‘This elevates what is traditionally called a PDS into what is really a collision avoidance – or collision management – system.’
Level 9 compliance
Significantly, Booyco Electronics was the first to begin Level 9 testing in South Africa, which is conducted by the University of Pretoria’s Vehicle Dynamics Group. The tests are aligned with the international standard ISO21815. It is expected that regulations regarding Level 9 compliance will be finalised by the end of 2020.
Lourens says the company’s strong relationships with TMM OEMs has allowed it to make good progress in testing its equipment on their machines in terms of Level 9 standards.
‘This ensures that our technology can assist to safely and effectively bring a vehicle to a standstill when required,’ he says.
He highlights that the parameters of Level 9 control have evolved over the past year or two. Beyond just stopping a vehicle, the Booyco Electronics PDS can also instruct the vehicle to reduce its speed to a specific level under given conditions.