Coal Age

JUL-AUG 2018

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July/August 2018 25 collision avoidance continued if you have got one vehicle, like a light vehi- cle sitting at a blind intersection, and there is a haul truck coming down the haul road, it will alert both operators that there is a ve- hicle there that they cannot necessarily see but then they will see it on their screen." The resulting data can be processed to track trends pertaining to worker safety. If an incident takes place, management can review it, see exactly what happened. Collision Avoidance Gets Personal In February, Hexagon Mining introduced the Mine Personal Alert, which it de- scribed as "an accident-avoidance device worn by field personnel that ensures 360° visibility around heavy equipment." The system "protects pedestrians within 50 m of a vehicle via an ergonomic tag that communicates with strategically mounted proximity anchors integrated with Hexa- gon's Collision Avoidance System," the company reported. The solution speaks to a need be- yond the capabilities of Hexagon's object detection system, Tracking Radar, which can sense ground personnel and leverag- es "intelligent algorithms" to differentiate threatening and non-threatening obsta- cles, but is most effective within line of sight, the company reported. In contrast, Personal Alert offers the capability to literally "track people and to warn people on foot" of possible impend- ing danger, said Fabien Kritter, product manager, safety and autonomous solu- tions, Hexagon Mining. "We developed a new technology where we can actually detect people without having line of sight, which is working with a tag and an anchor on the vehicle and is fully integrated in our Collision Avoidance System," he said. While Tracking Radar is excellent at detecting nearby pedestrians, it will not identify them individually, said Marcos Bayuelo, product manager, safety, Hexa- gon Mining. "Radar will alert you to any- thing, but it could be a berm, it could be infrastructure, or it could be a person," he said. "Personal alert conveys the impor- tance of a pedestrian to the operator." Hexagon reported Personal Alert uses time-of-flight technology in the ultra-wide band range. That means the anchor sends a signal that is bounced back by the tag and the onboard CAS computer calculates the distance between the two by the time it takes to receive the return. "The technolo- gy is very robust, especially for the mining environment," Kritter said. "It is very resis- tant to interference," such as from weather events, "and multipass." The tag is slightly smaller than a hand- held device, enabling it to be palmed, built into a helmet or slipped into a pocket. "It is something you can wear on the belt or on the shoulder, or in your front pocket of your safety vest," Kritter said. "It is pretty com- pact and is especially designed for mining." The tag is ergonomically correct, Bayuelo said. "We wanted to have some- thing that people can wear that is not so small that it will get lost, and not so big that people will not like to wear it," he said. The anchor is bigger than the tag but is diminutive enough for easy handling. It can be mounted with metal brackets or magnetically for temporary use. "Usually it goes on the roof of the machine, but a haul truck or a large machine may have mul- tiple anchors, such as on the back of the machine to cover the rear," and otherwise provide 360° of vision, Kritter said. "A light vehicle may require only one on the roof." CAS allows the miner to configure zone-based alarms. "It is our philosophy to have that very configurable for the cus- tomer, so they can quickly adapt it to the operation," Kritter said. "It is very easy to install and to configure it to what the cus- tomer needs to protect everyone." Typically, the alarms are configured based on the size and speed of the ma- chine, as well as its expected operating area and movement rate and range. "You have different zones depending on the alarms that are set," Kritter said. Proximi- ty and criticality determine the urgency of the alarm. When a pedestrian enters a zone, both the pedestrian and machine operator re- ceive alarms. The machine operator will first receive a visual indicator on an in-cab display that gives the general proximity and direction of the pedestrian. "The closer you get, we change the visualization of the alarm and then introduce audio alarms," Kritter said. Those alarms are distinguishable from the ones used by CAS to advise of an ap- proaching vehicle or the nearness of a structure. A pedestrian triggers a different color code and a different alarm, Bayuelo said. Plus, "there is a windshield sticker that tells you that orange is a visual alarm for a person, so they can truly distinguish," he said. The pedestrian's tag will vibrate at the exact time the operator receives the alarm. The pedestrian "may not hear the alarm because it is a noisy environment or he is wearing ear protection," Kritter said. "That is why we have a vibrational alarm." Personal Alert can be set up and cali- brated to trigger LED bulbs on the pedetri- an's safety vest. "It will flash so a person can be highly visible to the machine oper- ator," Kritter said. Hexagon literature reported Personal Alert can determine "a pedestrian's dis- tance and position within 5 centimeters." It is able to detect when a "person is getting into the cab and is now the driver," Kritter said. The alarm is then automatically mut- ed. "When he is inside the cab but is going out, it is activated again," Kritter said. Through CAS, the data generated by Personal Alert is funneled to a control room server for processing and analy- sis for trends and process improvement purposes. "Of course, it will also provide enforcement opportunities created with our reporting functionality," Kritter said. Above, the Personal Alert tag can fit into a pocket or be attached to a helmet or belt. (Photo: Hexagon Mining)

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