By Michelle Murray and Shivan Singh
Mine safety has come a long way over the last few decades, with new procedures and processes put in place to protect the welfare of personnel and impact on the mine. However, mining accidents still occur, and for individuals working on the surface or underground of a mining site, a collision between vehicles, personnel and infrastructure can often have a catastrophic outcome.
With all the hazards a mine site possesses, a technological solution seemed imperative. Regardless of the level of training or years on the job an operator has, collisions still occur because of these risks, which can factor into mining vehicle collisions. All too often, accidents occur because of limited visibility due to the size and design of mining vehicles, lack of situational awareness and, in underground environments, operating machinery in confined spaces.
Reducing the number of on-site accidents in a mine is crucial and ensures personnel remain safe both in underground and surface settings. To this end, mines are looking at adding increasing layers of intelligence to their vehicles in an effort avoid collisions. There is a wide range of technologies used in the prediction and prevention of collisions, such as radio frequency identification technology (RFID) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications. Newer technologies, such as vehicle-to-everything (V2X), allow for communication between vehicles, personnel and infrastructure through either cellular radio or short-range radio communications.
The smartdetect system from Becker Mining Systems leverages V2X and GPS to provide vehicle operators with a map-based 360-degree view of their surroundings. smartdetect enables vehicles to talk to each other and share vital information about their activities. This information is used to determine whether a collision is likely. When an imminent collision is detected, the systems provide visual and audible alerts, enabling operators to move their vehicle from harm’s way, thus avoiding any potential accidents or near-misses. The smartdetect system supports the addition of cameras to add another layer of situational awareness to the operator.
By using V2X on the surface in smartdetect enabled vehicles and personnel tags, the operator is alerted to the precise location of multiple people and vehicles through GPS technology in real-time, providing fast feedback to the drivers. In the case of unresponsiveness from the vehicle operator, smartdetect has automated speed reduction through CAN bus technology, preventing injuries to mine personnel as well as damage to mining vehicles and other equipment, thus meeting the requirements of the earth moving equipment safety round table (EMESRT) level nine (intervention controls).
With its full range of attachments, the smartdetect system from Becker Mining Systems has been designed to offer vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-person and vehicle-to-structure detection solution in one comprehensive and robust package, allowing for upgrades and simple system modifications based on the needs of the customer.
Becker Mining Systems designs each system to ensure high-quality and reliable products for every type of environment and application. The robust components of smartdetect are designed to provide system longevity in the harshest environments.