Noise pollution is an important consideration for communities close to major construction or quarrying sites as well as workers. Hummingbird Electronics, an Australian engineering company, offers solutions to reduce noise while boosting safety and productivity.
Under model Work Health and Safety Regulations in Australia a business must make sure the level of noise a worker is exposed to does not exceed the exposure standard for noise.
Construction sites, quarries and mines can be among the nosiest workplaces in the world. In addition, construction sites are often set next to or near residential areas, heightening the need to improve noise pollution.
Hummingbird, is using its expertise in research, design, development and manufacturing of electronic solutions to create noise solutions for a range of industries.
Offering multiple solutions for noise reductions high impact workplaces, Hummingbird’s systems also focus on improving safety and efficiency.
Scott Montgomery, Mining and Industrial Sales Manager, Hummingbird says wherever large machinery is working there are reverse alarms, external machine noises and many more features creating noise pollution.
“Traditionally on a quarry or mine, once the excavator has filled the truck up an air horn is let off to indicate to the driver the truck is full. But that is often frustrating for the neighbours and confusing for the drivers, so we wanted to find a way to communicate quietly,” Montgomery says.
To improve the truck loading process, Hummingbird created a system capable of directing the message to a single truck. This works through GPS technology which pairs each truck and excavator so that once a truck is filled the excavator operator can send the message to that specific truck.
This solution is called the Silent Horn System, designed for trucks, diggers and loaders. The system is plug and play and operates through an antenna configuration on each machine.
“The noise from air horns can carry a long way and for sites near farming regions, residential areas or even for sites expanding closer to their own camps, it can be a real benefit to reduce noise,” Montgomery says.
Excavator operators can communicate the truck is full through a touch-screen in the cabin, then truck drivers will receive audio and visual alerts that show a loading machine’s identity without any additional external noise.
While successful as a noise reduction solution, Montgomery says a quieter work site is not the only benefit of the system.
“The more a crew can load and unload though effective communication across the day, the better. If you can do it efficiently without distracting or frustrating surrounding communities it’s really beneficial,” he says.
The Silent Horn system is simple to install and Hummingbird accompany any users through the process of implementation.
From the quarry to construction site, Hummingbird’s solutions continue, where noise reduction, safety and efficiency are key.
This is where the Hummingbird 16 Channel Audio Alert System comes into play. This system is designed to simplify machine alerts for the operator, reducing noise and distractions on-site.
The Audio Alert System connects to a machine’s PA or speaker system to communicate bespoke messages.
“For some operators there are so many lights bells, whistles, gauges and monitors and they can get confused and can’t easily identify problems with machinery. A voice solution sends a direct message and the course of action an operator needs to take with each issue,” Montgomery says.
Hummingbird also helps to set up this system, which involves connecting a positive or negative input to a trigger in the vehicle. Then a text to voice converter or other audio file is used to upload messages to the system and give them certain priorities.
“You can prioritise and change the volume or speed of delivery for each message. For example, an emergency warning would be louder and slightly quicker than a reminder to put on a seatbelt,” Montgomery says.
“For civil applications, where machinery is often left at a site on the side of the road each night, the alert system can provide a mechanism to use motion sensors that trigger the lights on the machine to come on. The Audio Alert System will connect to a machine’s external amplifier or PA system to communicate, which can ward off vandals.”
Montgomery says the biggest advantage of the Audio Alert System really shows when working on civil sites.
“There might be a number of different machine models and brands on any site and each operator needs to get used to those machines and the different alerts. With a voice command that tells them exactly what is wrong, it takes a lot of time out of learning each different machine system,” he says.
While these noise reduction systems can go a long way to reducing noise pollution, increased productivity and safety are also a large part of the package.
With Australian designed and manufactured parts, which can be easily integrated into many different machines, these solutions are a simple choice to improve operations.