With workers and machines occupying the same working area in busy farming operations, proximity detection systems (PDS) are becoming vital tools to promote safety and productivity.
According to Anton Lourens, managing director of PDS supplier Booyco Electronics a South African based company, the technology allows for intervention where a potentially dangerous situation exists between a pedestrian and a machine such as a tractor.
Essentially, the PDS is a sensing device that detects the presence of an object, an interface that provides an audible and/or visual alarm to the equipment operator, and wiring between the two.
Both the vehicle operator and the pedestrian can then be warned of potential collisions and danger. Warning zones are stable and predictable, and can be adjusted to suit the specific agricultural application and standardised to particular equipment.
In addition to avoiding accidents on a site, the data from the PDS can be analysed for patterns, allowing farm managers to identify unsafe behaviour and design an appropriate intervention. In terms of productivity, monitoring of machine movements by the PDS can also help managers to make better use of equipment at work, for instance by optimising cycle times.
Linking the proximity detection hardware products and the monitoring devices is Booyco’s Electronics Asset Management System (BEAMS) – a web-based application used on a robust database. BEAMS is essentially a central information hub, and provides a reliable single source of information that can be leveraged for greater insight into all aspects of the operation.
“BEAMS provides an effective asset management solution that will allow farming operations to feel secure in the control of their assets,” Lourens explains.
BEAMS offers better control, accountability and a single point of contact for the end-user. It can be set up to generate a standard set of reports, or it can be customised to suit the specific requirements of a farming operation. The flexibility provides users with a strong tool facilitating a comprehensive and in-depth view of the operational infrastructure as well as the performance of assets.