Wabtec Digital Mine Unveils Next-Generation Collision Avoidance System
Wabtec (NYSE: WAB) Digital Mine is setting a new global industry benchmark for workplace safety with the launch of its latest Generation 3 Collision Avoidance System (CAS). The new system will enhance safety and productivity, as well as provide a new level of performance with a rules and intelligence capability.
“Protecting people, assets, and infrastructure is central to Wabtec’s commitment to safety,” said Wendy McMillan, Wabtec’s Senior Regional Vice President, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. “We know mining equipment interactions, whether vehicle to person or vehicle to vehicle, are among the highest safety risks for mining operators. This system’s advanced rules and intelligence engine provide the flexibility to deal with the most complex vehicle interaction scenarios.”
Wabtec’s innovation focus was on shifting from traditional proximity detection to true collision avoidance. Core functionality such as real-time self-test, personnel detection and secondary sensing capabilities are maintained in the Generation 3 CAS, ensuring the highest levels of performance in the industry.
The Generation 3 CAS incorporates a brand new, cleaner, simpler user interface with context-based voice alerts that have been built using the latest human factor design. It replaces “beeps-and-buzzer” analog technology with sophisticated discreet, directional, and audible warnings. This interface enables operators to work without distraction and respond instantaneously to audible alerts.
“Generation 3 CAS builds on the success of the previous Wabtec systems, which have been successfully used by mining companies worldwide for more than two decades,” said Henro van Wyk, Vice President and General Manager of Wabtec Digital Mine. “The team worked tirelessly with Glencore Coal Australia to deliver the only true collision avoidance system that is not only more advanced, but also more user-friendly and intuitive. We’ve now reached a benchmark in terms of performance level that we’re satisfied with, where we can say we’ve really moved the needle forward on the safety front.”
Glencore approached Wabtec with a well-defined set of functional and performance requirements. These requirements included vehicle-to-vehicle interactions and the different types of interactions vehicles can experience at a mining site. These requirements also extended to the user interface design so that vehicle operators receive appropriate feedback from the CAS system.
The user interface was validated by expert in human factor design, Professor Robin Burgess-Limerick from the University of Queensland, to shape the development of the new product. This led to three years of live proof-of-concept and production testing, which set a new industry benchmark.
“In 2018 Glencore undertook a review into mining vehicle interaction using the control framework methodology. The outputs from this review were used as the reference point for determining what would become our minimum requirements for what a collision avoidance system should provide in our mining operations,” said Ashley McLeod, Glencore Regional General Manager.
“After assessing various products against our criteria, we selected Wabtec as our preferred supplier. The previous version was built with mining conditions in mind and the Wabtec personnel were eager to improve the next generation product. We are very excited that this collaboration has resulted in a product that will assist in keeping our people safe.”
The Generation 3 CAS, like previous generations, is OEM agnostic and designed to be installed on all machine types. The hardware and software developed for Generation 3 CAS is compatible with the Generation 2 CAS system to ensure a seamless transition through the generations and provides customers a clear path to Wabtec’s advanced Level 9 intervention capabilities. It ultimately lowers the total cost of ownership, while giving existing customers flexibility to transition when they were ready.
“Wabtec Digital Mine is committed to delivering innovative and reliable technology solutions to the mining industry. The Generation 3 CAS is the latest example of the company's dedication to improving safety, productivity, and efficiency at mining sites. Generation 3 CAS is a product that has been designed and built in Australia,” said Mr van Wyk.