Radar sensors are quickly becoming a part of many people’s daily commute to and from work. From Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) to Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) to Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), radar sensors are moving fromluxury to economy models of consumer vehicles. There are now over a million of these sensors being produced annually. Because of this widespread automotive usage, medium- and heavy-duty industries are adopting radar sensors for their blind spot monitoring and collision avoidance needs, too.
If you have been driving for ten or more years, you are no doubt amazed to see the endless stream of driver assistance technologies being added to passenger cars. You can almost hear your parents grumbling, “In my day, people actually had to pay attention to where they were going!” Such mundane necessities are quickly becoming a thing of the past as drivers are learning to rely more and more on the technology that surrounds them and less and less on their own faculties. If drivers are safer as a result of new technology, then it’s all for the better. But, as a fleet manager, there is more at stake than safely getting from point A to point B.
Buy once, cry once.
You get what you pay for.
These adages are often used to describe not only the price of an item but also the quality. Consumers often have to decide between a low-priced product that probably will not last long term and a higher-priced option that, odds are, will last for a long period of time. Much like consumers, industrial buyers must decide between the cheap safety solution and the more expensive safety solution.
A Brief History
Founded in 1947, PRECO Electronics has become a worldwide leader in heavy-duty safety innovation. PRECO patented the world’s first electronic backup alarm as a result of watching utility employees on dam sites. Ed Peterson, PRECO’s founder, noticed that accidents were frequently happening while heavy equipment was operating in reverse. The flaggers used at the time weren’t safe because the equipment blind spots were too massive.
PRECO Electronic's PreView Sentry™ has been recognized as one of the Top 100 New Products of 2017 by Construction Equipment. Selected by the editorial staff, Construction Equipment Top 100 is the longest-running awards program of its kind in the industry and recognizes the most significant new products announced each year. PreView Sentry™ is the only collision avoidance solution recognized among the Top 100 new products.
It’s no secret that working in the heavy-duty industry is one of the most productive, yet challenging and dangerous professions. Heavy-duty operators need to be nothing short of superhuman. Not only do they need a honed, specific skill-set, but they need simultaneous small- and large-picture awareness, and a game plan for when things don’t go as expected. Heavy-duty operators need to be able to think on their feet in a heightened environment to make the best decisions possible to avoid collision and injury. That’s no small task considering the inevitable risks associated with these jobs.
Refuse and recyclable materials collectors continue to rank in the top 10 in terms of civilian occupations with the highest fatal injury rates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2014 and 2015 it was ranked the fifth most dangerous occupation.
Safety in heavy-duty industries has surged ahead in 2016 thanks to new innovations and technologies that have taken collision mitigation to the most advanced level yet. As our understanding of collisions and how to avoid them deepens, this momentum will continue with the goal of saving as many lives as possible.
Recently, we’ve seen higher levels of technological sophistication in the autonomous applications of U.S. Army tactical vehicles. Over the course of the next decade, the Army predicts that assistant drivers will no longer be needed in manned war vehicles, and only a few years beyond that the main driver will also be able to stay behind on missions. Imagine the lives that will be saved on the battlefields.
Since mining companies gain efficiency by moving more tonnage with fewer but larger vehicles, the trend leads toward ever-larger dozers, trucks, draglines and shovels. But the larger the vehicle, the larger the blind zones around them; and these blind zones can lead to potentially catastrophic accidents.
Larger Vehicles Can Mean More Danger
The blind zones around mining equipment can be huge: Sean Martell, Preco’s mining and construction sales manager, says that when operating large haul trucks, drivers can lose visibility to a hazard when the person or object is as far away as 150 feet from the rear of these massive machines. That’s half a football field.
Picture this: You are flying 36,000 feet in the air, on your way to a family getaway at Disney World, and suddenly the plane experiences a critical system failure. Thanks to the multiple duplicate components and systems on the plane, a new system seamlessly takes over operation of the aircraft, and you and your family safely reach your destination, none the wiser.
The duplication of systems in this scenario is called redundancy, and it’s one of the most common fail-safe methods around. Merriam-Webster defines fail-safe as “incorporating some feature for automatically counteracting the effect of an anticipated possible source of failure.” Fail-safe is further described as “a device or practice that, in the event of a specific type of failure, responds or results in a way that will cause no harm, or at least minimize harm, to other devices or to personnel.”
Every day heavy duty equipment goes through more extremes than the average automobile does in a lifetime. That’s why anything that goes onto a piece of heavy-duty equipment needs to be more rugged than the equipment fitted on automobiles. Engine bearings must be able to withstand fatigue resistance and have significant high torque load-carrying capacity. Tires are engineered for heavy loads, to maintain solid traction, and be resistant to punctures. Even heavy-duty equipment operators need to be hardy to keep up with the physical and mental demands of these strenuous and demanding jobs. It’s these factors that keep heavy-duty equipment moving and worksites productive.