Sensors & Transducers

Automated berm monitoring system

March 2021 Sensors & Transducers

Safety berms are critical for the safe movement of heavy machinery in open pit operations. Continued berm integrity is therefore critical, as is ongoing monitoring to ensure berm reliability. SICK Automation has developed the SICK Advanced Object Detection LiDAR System (AOS LiDAR) which offers high reliability for outdoor applications. Using an outdoor scanner, safety controls and an intelligent system, AOS LiDAR is the ideal solution for berm monitoring, automating the previous time-consuming and sometimes imprecise manual vision inspections.

The new berm monitoring system provides a truck-mounted, perception-based solution that scans berms in real time. It consists of an on-board embedded processing system, global navigation satellite system (GNSS) localisation and the AOS LiDAR scanner. It provides reliable long-distance detection in any environmental conditions and incorporates defined alarm outputs for predetermined objects to reduce false alarms. The system’s modular construction offers flexible extension options, made simpler with its easy integration into machine control.

“One example of AOS LiDAR’s effectivity is the reduction in both downtime and costs associated with berm-related accidents,” points out Grant Joyce, head of Process Automation Sales and Marketing, SICK Automation Southern Africa. “The data from scanned berms is transmitted through a central server and reporting system 24/7. This allows operational personnel to identify any section of any berm that requires investigation.”

Proof of concept at South African mine

An Mpumalanga-based coal mine recently ordered a proof of concept berm monitoring solution. After installation, feedback from the mine proves they were more than satisfied with the outcome. “The implementation for different mines will vary according to their geographical location and berm requirements,” adds Joyce. “However, customising our solution is part of the offering.”

The scope of work included vehicle inspection, ensuring software compatibility for the solution’s management system, product installation, integration and commissioning. The result is an easy to use berm monitoring system tailored to that mine’s exact application needs, and one that is sufficiently flexible to accommodate future adaptations.

“Key to this success was the ease of implementation into the mine’s daily operations,” concludes Joyce, “and you can already see the difference.”

For more information contact Grant Joyce, SICK Automation Southern Africa, +27 10 060 0558,,


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