Lessons Learned on Collision Avoidance Systems implementation in the region of Africa
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In the region of Africa, many underground mines have become early adopters of Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS). By adopting these game changing systems early on, South Africa experienced some challenges and learned a few lessons.
Figures from the mining industry show that 30-40% of fatalities were based around vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to person interactions. Seeing these large numbers, South Africa made the decision to implement Collision Avoidance Systems in their underground mines.
Ramping up to see results
The leading mines who became early adopters had a few challenges related to implementing Collision Avoidance Systems.
- A 30% decrease in production for 3-6 months (during the implementation phase).
- High capital costs since the system needs to be placed on every machinery and person.
- Operating expenditure
Of course, with these challenges came many lessons learned by these early implementations. After the first 3 to 6 months there they observed:
- An increase in production from the baseline
- An increase in safety
- A higher compliance to traffic management
This is an obvious sign that there are significant positives that can be achieved with implementing Collision Avoidance Systems in underground mines.
The Biggest Lessons Learned
- Collision Avoidance Systems should be implemented into the overall digitalization of the mine (a holistic approach).
- Location-based Safety analytics are key.
- Having a good understanding of traffic management and for the system to work peer-to-peer.
The major key factor to keep in mind when implementing CAS is the analytics part; you can’t manage what you’re not monitoring.
Everything in the mine that moves such as the machinery, the traffic, and the people, should be monitored. As such, Collision Avoidance systems need to be implemented into the overall digitalization of the mine in a holistic approach.
Collecting and storing of contextualized data related to the potential incidents detected by the system and storing them into the IoT Hub is what drives the value of such systems. Especially when the software uses AI and ML (Machine Learning) to eliminate superfluous data and zero-in on what matters.
Location-based safety analytics is key to implementing a safe system and a system that doesn’t decrease the production. Having a holistic approach to collision avoidance systems will allow for success. Of course, every mine has a different machine tracking system, different software platforms or even a different digitalization journey. The benefit of Collision Avoidance Systems is that they are uninterruptible, and the data can be saved to any type of platform.
Additionally, traffic management and organizing where people are in regards to machines is also important. It helps clear up areas with a lot of traffic so there is less slowdown of machines, an increase in traffic flow, and an increase in ore flow.
Looking towards a Safer Future
In the upcoming years of implementing Collision Avoidance Systems, regulations will be met by the end of year 2020, and as for having a complete system that can roll-out without reducing productions, that might take a few more years.
There are different levels to collision avoidance systems.
- CAS level 7: warning system, which does not show where the pedestrian is or give any insight to the operator on what he needs to do. It just gives an alert that somebody is within the range of the operator’s machine.
- CAS level 8: awareness system as it gives more information to the operator for them to take action of the machine.
- CAS level 9: The operator can fully control the machine as it can be slowed down and completely stopped. This level of the system can also tell where a person is standing approximately from the machine.
CAS Level 9 will enable the safety of all personal in underground mines, and safer mines ultimately become more productive mines in the long run.