ˇTable of Contents
ˇWorkshop - Landmine Detection Equipment
System for Assessment of Demining companiesM. Dzapo, Centre of Technology Transfer, Zagreb, CROATIA
Keywords: demining, equipment, machines, questionnaire, documentation
Humane demining is done in various climates as well as geographical environment, using various technologies and equipment for detection and protection. It is important to mention the accordance with the existing laws on Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations: " an area is cleared when all mines and munitions have been removed and/or destroyed". Also, "the area should be cleared of mines and UXOs to depth which is agreed to be appropriate to the residual/planned use of land, and which is achievable in terms of the resources and time available. The contractor must achieve at least 99.6 % of the agreed standard of clearance. The target for all UN sponsored clearance programmes is the removal of all mines and UXO to a depth of 200 mm".
In this particular part of process we are facing a lack of standards, testing criteria and legislation for certification of equipment and personnel, so it is crucial to obtain technical and technological improvements.
In accordance with the requirements, which may be different for different geographical areas, the available, corresponding and affordable technology must be assessed. A number of crucial questions have influenced this process:
Until now, no internationally agreed standards for the assessment of mine clearing tools have existed, nor for mine detectors, equipment, personnel qualification nor for mechanical mine clearing devices. Therefore, any evaluation of demining companies undertaken so far was not related to common procedures. The process was not undertaken by independent and neutral organisation. The results were not reported together with the evaluation criteria in order to provide vital information for other deminers.
Former experience as well as the above mentioned, confirm that the standardisation of the following sections of demining is necessary:
Organisation and implementation of quality assurance in demining companies will increase not only the security of personnel involved in demining, but also the quality in demining itself.
As the existing legislation for demining only partially defines quality assurance, it is necessary, while organising the system, to include experiences from other fields. Non-destructive Testing and QA with its ISO 9000 standards were taken as the closest systems for initial organisation of Demining standards.
To improve the conditions of clearing mines and to reduce the number of accidents in the Republic of Croatia which are unavoidable despite the undertaken precautions and proficiency, CROMAC and "CTT" (Centre of Technology Transfer-Zagreb) have started a project called: "Qualification of Demining Companies".
Building of the system for assessment of the Demining Companies is the main activity, and it requires establishing multi-discipline teams of experts for evaluation of segments or/and of process itself. Each group of experts (5 to 6 people) has filled the questionnaire, which checks the relevant technical characteristics on detection or protection equipment. It is important to say that one of the main instances of creating the questionnaire was humans' acceptability and usage of the equipment and vice versa, as well as adjustment to the use under certain circumstances and the ergonomic aspect of the equipment.
During the first phase of the project some groups were formed and the questionnaire was made for the following:
The main reason for establishing the group was that, most companies in Croatia are using this type of equipment and dogs. People who are in charge of the equipment usage and maintenance or dog guides filled the questionnaire. Also, there was another questionnaire evaluating the deminers and technical staff as well as the procedure evaluation.
What does the staff evaluation involve?
During evaluation of the demining process the following aspects were examined:
2.1. Demining machines questionnaire
The goal of the questionnaire is to evaluate technical characteristics, reliability and efficiency of the mechanical Demining machines. Its utilisation within the framework of the whole process of evaluation that, in the sequel, involves 'garage examinations' and minefield testing, allows for the first scanning of the machines' characteristics.
Beside scanning of the significant technical data, the questionnaire is intended to be used as a basic document by means of which further evaluation procedure is to be planned (based on the questionnaire, priorities for the 'garage inspections' and field testing can be determined, strategies for the machines' sub-systems operational tests can be established etc.).
Basically, machines for demining activities can be divided into two groups:
The first group includes all demining systems (machines with rotating tool cylinders and flails, ploughs, etc.) and vehicles that detect and destroy mines and other explosive devices. After demining session, the system should have only minor damages on the executive subsystems and tools that can be replaced easily. Working conditions are very severe and demanding (landmines dimensions vary in the range of ca. Ć68 mm - Ć 315 mm, containing different amounts of explosive, 35 g - 6.5 kg), so that system construction must be robust but modularly designed. The questionnaire is primary intended to be used as an evaluation tool for the machines for landmine detection and mine clearance operations.
The machines for terrain preparations are used as auxiliary devices for demining session support activities (cutting of vegetation, access line preparation, trash transport etc.). The tools for these operations are sometimes added to the mine clearance systems as secondary devices.
Beside general technical data (manufacturer and year of manufacture, type and purpose, nominal working capacity, operation hours, demining depth, machine efficiency, main dimensions etc.) which are to be provided at the beginning of each evaluation process, the questionnaire itself is focused on determining important pieces of information on particular machine subsystems. Although the text of the questionnaire is not divided into topic sections, this conception allows for the fast scanning of the significant data. Besides, it gives opportunity for direct comparison of demining systems at the subsystem level.
The group of subsystems that are particularly analysed includes steering subsystem, engine and transmission, undercarriage, cabin and armour, demining unit (executive tools) and standard equipment. Sensor systems for mine detection and data processing (if any) are not covered by the questionnaire.
Utilisation of the questionnaire provides preliminary information whether and to what extent the analysed machine can be successfully applied for the planned demining session considering the expected type of landmines, soil and geomorphologic characteristics of the terrain, ground penetration requirements, needed working capacity, session time deadlines etc. The operability of the machine is estimated in the nominal working regime but also in the cases of possible damages or subsystem (undercarriage, steering, control system) failures. Operator protection issues are specially investigated, along with ergonomic aspects of the analysed demining system.
Perhaps it would be suitable on the global level to consider accreditation and certification of companies, in the way as ISO 9000 has already performed.
Finally, by integrating all that has been said, with all relevant world factors, institutions and organisations, it is possible to make a big step into the area of demining and humanity as a whole.
|© AIPnD , created by NDT.net|||Home| |Top||