Booyco Electronics has commenced field trials at a local gold mine to validate its pioneering biometric licensing system that is expected to take the control and licensing of underground machine operators a quantum leap forward.
The development of this technology is poised to become a South African first, and very possibly a world first, and is already attracting widespread interest in the local mining industry.
Anton Lourens, managing director of Booyco Electronics, explains how the system came about: “A big issue in the mining industry of late has been maintaining proper control of underground machine operators. The issuing of keys to operators has opened the industry up to abuse, which has led to unnecessary safety related incidents.
“In response, we’ve developed a unique system that uses fingerprints to authenticate licensed machine operators. Unique personalised smart cards issued to these operators store their fingerprints, as well as details of all their licensed capabilities, with expiry dates. The only way an operator can access and operate a given machine is if the scanning device on the machine authenticates him by validating his fingerprint.
“What is exciting about the system is that this level of control can be applied underground in other control environments, such as explosive magazines and access control to underground substations. And, in terms of affordability, the new biometric licensing system will prove to be highly cost effective in terms of the value it adds.”
Lourens says that the development of this system makes provision for an IS unit powered by an IS power supply, housed in a flame-proof enclosure, for use in local coal mines. Communications to and from the biometric device take place via an approved control module.
“At Booyco Electronics our philosophy is to supply electronic safety solutions that optimise mine safety,” he says. “We adopt a focused approach to providing innovative mine safety related products which will both add value and increase productivity within the southern African mining sector.
Intimate knowledge of the South African mining industry, combined with engineering and manufacturing expertise, allows us to create winning products for the local market.”