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Berm monitoring system a first for SA

Home Engineering Automation & Control Berm monitoring system a first for SA

SAFETY berms are critical for the safe movement of heavy machinery in open pit operations. Continued berm integrity is, therefore, also critical, as is ongoing monitoring to ensure berm integrity.

That’s according to Grant Joyce, Head of Process Automation Sales and Marketing, SICK Automation, who said the company’s Advanced Object Detection LiDAR System (AOS LiDAR) was the ideal solution for berm monitoring, automating the previous time-consuming and sometimes imprecise manual visual inspections.

SICK’s berm monitoring solution provides a truck-mounted, perception-based solution that scans berms in real time. It consists of an onboard embedded processing system, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) localisation and the AOS LiDAR scanner.

It provides reliable long-distance detection in any environmental conditions and incorporates defined alarm outputs for predetermined objects to reduce false alarms. The system’s modular construction offers flexible extension options, made simpler with its easy integration into machine control.

“One example of AOS LiDAR’s effectivity is the reduction in both downtime and costs associated with berm-related accidents,” said Joyce. The data from scanned berms is transmitted through a central server and reporting system 24/7. “This allows operational personnel to identify of any section of any berm that requires investigation, as well as the fault criticality, and take immediate action.”

A Mpumalanga-based coal mine ordered a proof of concept (POC) berm monitoring solution earlier this year. Joyce said that after several modifications, the mine was “more than satisfied”.

He said implementation for different mines would vary according to their geographic location and local factors that influence their berm requirements, and that the company would customise a solution to fit a customer’s specific requirements.

The scope of work at the Mpumalanga mine included technical vehicle inspection, ensuring software compatibility for the solutions’ management system, product installation, integration and commissioning. Physical installation was two days per vehicle, although numerous modifications were subsequently made for the system to better suit the mine’s unique requirements.

“Many of our product features suited their exact needs. In instances where they did not, the operators suggested system modifications which we were able to incorporate. The result is an easy-to-use berm monitoring system tailored to that mine’s exact application needs, and one that is sufficiently flexible to accommodate future adaptations should they be required.

“Key to this offering was the ease of implementation into the mine’s daily operations and you can already see the difference.”

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