Issue 4.1 | February 2000 | Information in this issue may be outdated. Click here to link to the most recent issue.
Evaluation and Certification of Humanitarian Demining Detection Equipment
By Vjera Krstelj,
Josip Stepanic, Jr. and Irena Leljak
number of humanitarian demining detection equipment (HDDE) in the development
phase requires a well-established set of testing facilities. A combination
of enthusiastic and scientific testing exists throughout the majority of these
facilities. During the last several years, the process of humanitarian demining
(HD) in Croatia has begun under the intense effort of the Croatian Mine Action
Center and other institutions. The success in starting and performing the
clearance of various mine-affected regions was a combination of mechanical
demining and a systematic approach. Mechanical demining has given good results
on the agricultural terrain and in the fields of homogeneous soil compositions
with smooth surfaces. In other situations, where the terrain is impenetrable,
the pyrotechnicians have conducted manual demining. Manual demining, however,
is a risky task that requires more time and causes more victims.
The slowest part
of the demining process is the actual detection. Anti-personnel landmines
are harmful because of their unknown positions. To lower the risk in HD, the
anti-personnel landmine positions need to be determined slowly and carefully.
The languid speed of this demining process has prompted the scientific community
to consider existing detecting methods, and to try to establish new ideas
and suggestions using its scientific potentials in HD speed increment. The
community's response united an obsorbant number of experts and groups on the
development of various methods, equipments and procedures for HD needs, but
only few of the methods and equipments reached the implementation phase. The
procedures, although sometimes contradictory, were used for their detection
methods or equipment reliability. A question arises, then, how to perform
the capability test in order to have a reliable, globally accepted procedure
for HDDE assessment? Unfortunately testing methods do not always follow the
HD procedures. For example: a demining machine which is frequently damaged
and pieces of high metal content fall into the soil, make metal detectors
more difficult to use.
performance demonstration of metal detectors is one of our main focal points
because such a procedure should be considered as a part of a complex HD process.
In designing a procedure we have to consider many
different aspects, including peculiarities of a soil type, the details of
the equipment performance demonstration, and the equipment needed for the
demining process control. In other words, after thorough testing in laboratory
conditions, the personnel involved in the development of the demining equipment
should go to the field and apply the technique and equipment in a real mine-affected
of Humanitarian Demining Detection Equipment Testing
HD detection methods and techniques do not exist yet, as all prospective candidates
are still subjected to theoretical and experimental work in various proportions.
While the theoretical part of research and development is a never-ending process,
the experimental part, the key part of the development process, incorporates
the two mutually. Researchers must perform experiments in an atmosphere of
complete concentration in order to accurately guage the development and improvement
of the equipment. Researchers' manoeuvers must be limited as little as possible,
and therefore testing should occur at HDDE testing sites. The highly controlled
experimental environment minimizes the risk for equipment deterioration during
however have to be carried out in conditions that closely follow those of
the mine-affected areas. In such circumstances, risk is augmented considerably
and the researchers' concentration on the equipment performance could be lowered
drastically, influencing the overall observation and opinion essential for
conclusions regarding the equipment's performance and development. The safety
procedures invoke additional limits to the researchers' mobility, but all
the relevant characteristics of the system consisting of the landmine and
its environment are still unknown. Only by means of this type of experiment
can the insight into reliability performances be estimated in HD.
testing, therefore, should consist of two parts. First, experiments are to
be performed in a controlled laboratory environment or related test sites.
Then, experiments are to be conducted in the representative setup of real
mine fields. With that combination, we expect predominant conclusions about
the equipment development and a strong rate of effciency on reliability. The
second part involves tallying every possible and unintentional variable. For
the equipment tested, this part serves as a final control point. The testing
laboratory should be organized according to the experience gained, taking
into consideration each parameter influencing mine-affected areas. Relatively
soon we will be in the position to combine laboratory and field condition
for the Standardization of the Demining Equipment Testing
There is a clear
difference between scientifically based equipment testing and testing out
of necessity. In order to minimize risk and maximize the reliability result,
relevant results existing already in the scientific field should be incorporated
with the new testing. This method should give a clear view of the particular
set of testing equipment, which serves both its manufacturer and end-user.
Additionally, it gives the final user preliminary confidence in the equipment
performance. Past casualties in various performance testings were caused by
the improper usage of equipment or by unprepared personnel. The scenario of
the proper experiments designed for the equipment testing, described in the
previous section, will minimize these accidents.
In HDDE testing,
we worked by using the iterative approach so that quality improvement of our
procedures is constant. The basis of this approach is a collaboration of expert
groups, members of scientists with experience in those fields that conincide
with HDDE needs. In order to establish the quality assurance for HDDE preliminary
testing, a confirmed relationship between the laboratory and field part of
testing was created. The testing of important parameters defining landmine
detection equipment is covered in all important aspects, and the evaluation
of this testing is judged by a critical mass of experts. HDDE testing should
be performed only by using a controlled laboratory and test sites to establish
the quality assurance for all HDDE.
help from the Croatian Mine Action Center. This work was financed by Croatian
Ministry of Science and Technology under the contract No. MZT 120098.
Faculty of Mechanical
Engineering and Naval Architecture
I. Luèiæa 5, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia