Hummingbird Electronics sensors focus on driver safety

The Hummingbird audio alert system when combined with any dual axis inclinometer offers and unmatched safety solution.

Modern vehicles and machinery have more lights and alarms than ever before – their purpose is to inform the operator of any impending danger, however often these visual and audible warnings are ignored, and the result can be catastrophic.

Part of the Redarc Electronics Group and based in New South Wales, Hummingbird Electronics specialises in bespoke sensor products focused on driver safety, both for trucks and construction equipment operators in the Australian civil construction and mining industries.

National sales and marketing manager Mark Bruce said Hummingbird’s products encompass all aspects of driver safety: “Our products measure everything from the temperature, pitch, roll, speed and force of a vehicle or machine, our products can be the difference between a near miss and an accident.”

One of Hummingbird’s latest products is a prime example of how an effective warning system can bring intrinsic benefits to machine operators.

The Hummingbird dual axis inclinometer – elite (HMDS8000) enables operators to monitor the pitch and roll of their machines, it is perfectly suited to customised and large vehicles such as mining vehicles, earthmovers, excavators and heavy transport vehicles.

“These machines are large and can be very dangerous on mining and civil sites as they have a high centre of gravity, this means a large portion of the machines weight is carried high up off the road surface, making them top-heavy and vulnerable to roll overs,” Bruce said.

“Many of these vehicles are also carrying large loads which can have a dramatic effect on the centre of gravity. The operators of these machines are often unaware how dangerous these angles can be.”

The inclinometer kit offers users a visible pitch, roll and speed display that shows the angle of the machine and can alert when a potential danger is imminent via a sensor on the vehicle.

“The coloured display shows an image of the machine that initially turns yellow and warns the operator via a repeated alarm, if the driver continues, the screen goes to red and it emits a continuous beeping noise. The unit gives you the option to customise the angle at which the warnings start for both pitch and roll,” Bruce said.

The dual axis inclinometer – elite features GPS technology which is used to provide the speed reading and locations where over-speed events occur.

In years gone by, heavy machine operators have used a ball-in-tube type warning system to alert them to potentially dangerous angles however these systems have become increasingly antiquated.

It is also the only type of inclinometer that integrates two sensors, making it ideal for articulated machines. It allows a secondary sensor to be installed and monitored simultaneously via the in-cab screen which can also provide autonomous pitch and roll information for a second vehicle such as a prime mover and its trailer.

Another recent innovation from Hummingbird is the audio alert system which has been designed to alert vehicle and machine operators of safety warning via a verbal readout.

“We have all been guilty of ignoring various alarms and buzzers in our cars and vehicles, it is something that is easy to get complacent over. In machines these warnings and buzzers can become very ineffective for those operating the machines,” said Bruce.

Hummingbird determined the need for an alarm system that went beyond the traditional ‘buzz’ and visual light warnings after an incident where a bus caught fire on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

An alarm went off on the driver console, but the driver was confused as to the nature of the alarm and passengers were told to stay on the bus. Only when smoke started entering the cabin did the driver give the instruction to evacuate.

Similar incidents have been reported in the mining industry where fatigue has often led to bad or ill-informed decisions that compromise vehicle and operator safety.

The audio alert system has been designed to give vehicle and machine operators clear and precise audible, verbal alerts when an input trigger has been detected, rather than delivering the message via a crowded dashboard full of warning lights, symbols and buzzers.

You can customise up to 16 individual triggers, if one of the triggers was for the handbrake, the device would emit a verbal warning such as ‘warning, handbrake has been left on.’

“The number of customised alerts is endless, for example we could have a message that plays every time a vehicle is turned on: ‘have you done your pre-starts?’, ‘warning, oil pressure low’. It could be anything from a machine alert to a message alerting them to contact the site manager,” Bruce said.

The audio alert system features a 9-36-volt input range, enabling it to be used in 12/24-volt vehicles. Most important the both the dual axis inclinometer and audio alert system work together – the inclinometer can issue a verbal message when a roll over is imminent.

Hummingbird Electronics products are designed and manufactured in Australia to the highest standards of quality and will provide many years of reliable service. For these and many more safety focused products for trucks and machinery, please visit the Hummingbird Electronics website at www.hmbe.com.au or contact them directly on 1300 155 541.