SICK Automation introduces first in SA berm monitoring system


Example of uploaded berm monitoring report showing bund compliance over a 42 km stretch. The report identifies compliant berms, and those that are at medium, high or critical risk.

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. SICK Automation has developed the SICK Advanced Object Detection LiDAR System (AOS LiDAR) which offers high reliability for outdoor applications. Using an outdoor scanner, safety controls and an intelligent system, AOS LiDAR is the ideal solution for berm monitoring, automating the previous time-consuming and sometimes imprecise manual vision inspections. ­­

SICK’s Berm Monitoring System is truck-mounted to ensure a simple, reliable solution that ensures bunds remain as effective critical controls in open pit mining.

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,” points out Grant Joyce, Head of Process Automation Sales and Marketing, SICK Automation. 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.”

Proof of Concept for South African mine

A Mpumalanga based South African coal mine ordered a proof of concept (POC) berm monitoring solution earlier this year. After several modifications, feedback from the mine proves they are more than satisfied with the outcome. “The implementation for different mines will vary according to their geographic location and local factors that influence their berm requirements,” Joyce points out. “However, customising our solution to fit our customers’ precise requirements forms part of our solution offering.

The scope of work 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,” Joyce says. “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,” Joyce concludes, “and you can already see the difference.”

AOS LiDAR – Advanced system reliability for area monitoring even in harsh conditions

  • Non-contact detection due to LiDAR technology
  • Adjustable, application-specific monitoring areas
  • Automated self-test cycles
  • Customised control configurations
  • Easy implementation of new functions
  • Optional gateways for remote diagnosis or data analyses

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