SafeGuard Anti-collision system in Australia

Iron Ore LoadingWorking with Australian based professional engineering company, LogiCamms Ltd; Navtech Radar has implemented its SafeGuard anti-collision system to streamline the process of loading Iron Ore at Pilbara Port, Australia. Located approximately 1,600 km north-west of Perth, Pilbara is a Security Level 1 Port and the world’s second-largest bulk exporting port, loading ships around the clock, 365 days a year in in searing heat, with temperatures regularly hitting 45 degrees Celcius.

The SafeGuard anti-collision systems are installed on heavy-duty, conveyer belt loaders, each capable of swinging through 180 degrees to speed the loading process by turning immediately from a fully-loaded ship on one side of the quay to the next empty ship at the other side.

Andrew Pasquale, Consultant at LogiCamm worked on the project and he explains. “Iron Ore ship loaders are huge and very expensive machines in their own right but the product they convey represents an even larger asset. Each loading machine can convey several thousand tons of iron ore per hour and, with each ton of iron ore being worth approx. 100 US dollars, it is essential to keep the loaders operating with minimal downtime. If a loading machine gets damaged, or the loading is hampered for any reason, the loss per machine is likely to be a minimum of approx. one million US dollars per day, rising to as much as twelve million. After a number of expensive incidents, Pilbara Port was looking for a technology that could help them to avoid or mitigate potential incidents. After investigating various different technologies available in the market, including laser, radar, ultrasonic and cameras, we chose to propose the implementation of a Navtech Radar SafeGuard anti-collision Solution.

“Several things attracted us to the SafeGuard solution. We did feasibility trials with laser and radar and were impressed with the robustness, professionalism and execution of the SafeGuard software design. We also found that other technologies lacked proven experience in the required application. We were looking particularly for a solution that would help the loader avoid hitting hatches, light poles, cranes and the ship’s bridge and highly rated Navtech’s  huge experience in stockpile profiling and machine anti-collision.”

Stephen Clark Navtech Radar ltd

Stephen Clark, Technology Director of Navtech Radar

Stephen Clark, Technology Director of Navtech Radar comments, “In most outdoor industrial operations there is the potential for pieces of equipment to collide, or for individual machines to collide with and injure personnel operating in and around the same area. Therefore, early detection and prevention of collisions is vital for safe and efficient operations. This applies in manned operations and also, increasingly, for machines that are operated remotely or, even, autonomously. Whilst dependable detection is a prerequisite for any safety system, so is reliable operation with alerts only being raised in genuine circumstances. For some time, Radar has been used reliably for the outdoor industrial automation of various vehicles. They are not affected by bright sunlight, rain, and fog, or by dust in the atmosphere or on the sensor itself, and changes in environmental conditions have little effect on the detection performance.”

Since its implementation, the SafeGuard System has operated in all weathers, day and night, and proven to be reliable even in this demanding dry and dusty environment. The staff at Pilbara Port report a very low rate of false alarms, easy commissioning, minimal maintenance and no need for routine cleaning.

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