Engineering & Mining Journal

MAR 2019

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MACHINE AWARENESS 26 E&MJ • MARCH 2019 www.e-mj.com The Mine Safety and Health Administra- tion (MSHA) reported in late November that a shift boss at a limestone pit op was crushed to death when a loaded hauler "ran over her pickup truck at the crusher site." According to MSHA, it was the 14 th mine site fatality reported in 2018. It was the seventh powered-haulage fatality, up one from the previous year. In the report, MSHA listed four best practices, one of which was "install and maintain collision avoidance/warning technologies on mo- bile equipment." Those technologies typically are part of bigger systems that offer more than just obstacle detection and collision avoid- ance. No doubt, the biggest selling point for all of them is lives saved, followed by damage and disruption reduction and in- creased efficiency. Current headlines re- veal the growing popularity of the technol- ogies and systems, which are ever-evolving into component parts of broader, more comprehensive, equipment-brand-agnos- tic autonomous mining solutions. Weaving a Cocoon of Safety PRECO Electronics announced in Febru- ary it received a record number of nomi- nations for the annual Excellence in Safe- ty award. The award honors individuals "for their initiative and commitment to the advancement of safety." Advancing safety is at the core of the company's mission and offerings, and the upswell in nominees points to a market trend that bodes well for the company. "As people recognize active warning systems save lives, integration and implementation of this technology is becoming common- place," said Tom Loutzenheiser, vice pres- ident, business development, PRECO. Already, the trend is toward incremental adoption of automation solutions targeting safety, he said. "What seems to be occur- ring is rather than having mines with no automation or mines that are fully autono- mous, mines are emerging more often with Level 1 automation," Loutzenheiser said. With Level 1 automation solutions, the operator is in control of the rig, but is as- sisted when sensors detect obstacles or other dangers. At Level 2, when an obsta- cle is detected, a control system intervenes and takes action, such as evasive steering. Level 1 capabilities are currently the most widely adopted, Loutzenheiser said. "The most relevant safety feature to the industry is active braking," he said. "This feature is used mainly for backing." Similar solutions in this space are of- ten pitched as both machine awareness and situational awareness offerings. PRE- CO offers several either within or comple- menting its flagship Automotive Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS. ADAS systems mainly consist of multi- ple sensors, which includes cameras, ra- dar and LIDAR; computers; and associat- ed software. "The majority of automotive ADAS systems implemented have sensors on the front and back of the vehicle to offer lane change assist, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and adap- tive cruise control," Loutzenheiser said. "All of these sensors communicate with one or more Electronic Control Units in order to make the proper decisions." Many ADAS systems include active braking capabilities that leverage radar and LIDAR, an onboard processor, con- trol software, and obstacle detection and avoidance software. It offers two modes, auto-braking mitigation and collision avoidance. "The system alerts the driver to an imminent crash, and if the operator does not react in time, the system brakes on its own to avoid the collision," Lout- zenheiser said. "The auto-braking mitiga- tion systems are designed to slow the ve- hicles to lessen impact and damage, while the avoidance systems attempt to avoid a crash altogether by entirely stopping a moving machine before hitting an object." The adaptive speed control capability included with some ADAS systems seeks to enable a machine to maintain a certain speed while keeping a specific distance from the leading vehicle. It is also called autonomous cruise control, adaptive cruise control, or radar cruise control, de- pending on the technology leveraged. "If the vehicle in front brakes, the adaptive speed control system initiates the braking system, just as the vehicle will speed up within the pre-selected range when the system determines the vehicle in front has increased its rate of movement," Loutzen- heiser said. "Adaptive speed control is al- most always paired with forms of automat- ic braking systems and forward collision Level 1 Automation Gains Ground Onboard and centralized sensor-and-computer systems are said to be saving lives, simplifying jobs and preventing costly disruptions By Jesse Morton, Technical Writer Above, a PRECO Electronics PreView Sentry sensor mounted on a hauler. (Photo: PRECO Electronics)

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