BBE, a mine ventilation and refrigeration specialist company, has launched its VUMA HUB software package that offers a safe and easy to use system to streamline ventilation and occupational hygiene reporting functions. The state-of-the-art software system was specifically developed for underground mines and uses approved industry standards, stores information digitally and provides customised data analysis to promote a safe and healthy working environment, says Christo Visagie, Director at BBE.
“Measured environmental conditions are logged and stored in HUB. This information is constantly analysed using specified legal criteria supplied by both the mines and the Department of Minerals, Resources and Energy (DMRE), and will automatically flag unsafe working environments or working conditions,” he explains.
“When conditions are flagged, the information is passed through the workflow and the issue will be attended to by ventilation and refrigeration engineers. The information remains client-owned and is securely stored to ensure that the data cannot be tampered with.”
Secure and accurate data
He adds, however, that the data is always readily available should it be needed for manual analysis or to source historical information. Should there be a need to conduct an investigation, the data can be relied upon as secure and accurate. HUB is an internally developed software tool that was designed on the basis of BBE’s expertise and experience with underground mining environments.
“Our developers are employed internally, and they are highly experienced and qualified not only in software development but also work closely with our in-house ventilation and occupational hygiene consultants. Bringing these two skills together is part of the extra effort that we put into the system to make sure that it is designed correctly,” says Visagie.
“HUB algorithms are based on multi commodity industry standards, and guidelines set out by the DMRE are used as design criteria and legal limits. These are programmed into the software and used to flag certain scenarios.”
Successful proof of concept
He notes that BBE completed a proof-of-concept project at one of South Africa’s major mining companies, where it was deployed at one of their shafts. Following the successful completion of this project, HUB was rolled out at three of the mining company’s shafts where it is currently running.
“We have recently rolled out the latest update to the system and it is in daily operation and running successfully. If we encounter any issues or uncover new requirements, we promptly develop updates that are passed along to the client,” says Visagie.
“A key benefit of using HUB is that the system enables industry standards to be used throughout the mining company’s various shafts or mining operations. Ultimately, it’s one set of standards that are implemented, of which all companies are familiar with. This minimises the need for training and maintenance of ventilation and occupational hygiene systems.”
Visagie says that the information obtained from measured environmental conditions are logged and stored in HUB as a single version of truth. Real-time data from underground environments can be compared to historical data and discrepancies are flagged on the live system.
“This promotes the adherence to standards and discipline among the ventilation specialists or engineers at the mines. Clients benefit from a safe, easy to use system to streamline ventilation and occupational hygiene reporting functions,” he concludes.