De Beers and Orange Business Services Co-Innovate Geofencing...

De Beers and Orange Business Services Co-Innovate Geofencing Platform to Enhance Worker Safety

By Manufacturing Technology Insights | Friday, September 04, 2020

An innovative IoT pilot by De Beers and Orange Business Services is designed to protect the safety of workers on the offshore diamond mining vessel.

FREMONT, CA: A network-native digital services company, Orange Business Services, and De Beers Marine South Africa, a division of De Beers - the leading diamond company, jointly installs and tests a customized IoT solution to offer geofencing to maintain safe working distances for crew around the heavy machinery in marine diamond mining operations. The latest solution was successfully piloted on board the MV Mafuta, presently the largest offshore diamond mining vessel operated by Debmarine Namibia and functioning up to 150 km off Namibia, in southern Africa.

Beers is committed to ensuring the highest standards of safety for all personnel. The Orange IoT solution is a response to De Beers' 'zero harm' vision. It followed an initial engagement and joint exploratory workshop with the Orange Business Services and focused on IoT technologies, like Bluetooth Low Energy locators and wearable sensors. As a precision crew locator tool, it combines with onboard antennas and an Orange software engine.

In the pilot, Orange Business Services used the Mafuta's AutoCAD files and undertook a site survey to map antenna locations to geofence a pre-decided area. Ten crew members were armed with wrist sensors. If one crew breached the geofencing location onboard the vessel, the ship's bridge was notified immediately. De Beers is now exploring additional applications, such as a breach alert, to link the sensors directly to the mining machinery to facilitate a failsafe cut-off in the event of a breach in the geofence.

The consultation and joint workshop with the team from Orange Business Services will be very productive. It can help quickly identify the potential for an IoT solution to ensure personnel's well-being on board the vessels. The smart IoT solution developed with De Beers is a great example of innovating and co-creating with customers. The geofencing pilot proved successful in one of the most challenging heavy industrial environments. The next phase of development is to refine the interface and data gathering functionalities and include testing a trigger functionality to deactivate machinery in any breach of the geofence.

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