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Land mines are a very real menace, and have been used more and more in the last 30 years as warring nations have had less to spend on military hardware. War goes discount, so to speak. Unfortunately for those living with the remains of warfare, mine clearance is expensive and agonisingly slow.

PL Brake came up with an idea for mine clearance in 1996, and developed it along a very stringent set of specifications:

  • Low cost
  • Portability
  • Easy operation by one person
  • Safety first

The inventors' consortium PL Brake works as the idea generator, carrying out the initial R&D and prototype building for a given project. Later in the process, a project company is formed to commercialise the idea.

The R&D process for the mine detector has been conducted in close cooperation with Danish Demining Group, Danish Defence Demining Centre (DANDEC/HIAS), and Danish Defence Research Establishment (DDRE), as well as invaluable assistance from Roger Hess, Hendrik Ehlers, the MgM network, and several  NGOs such as YADC, ICBL, and HALO.

How the minedetector works

The basis of the detector is sound waves. Sound bouncing off solid objects is different from sound bouncing off hollow objects, such as mines, as well as UXO. With pattern recognition software to receive the signals, the 'false' hits are sorted out. Combined with radar, the PL Brake detector will both detect and recognise objects. And unlike the old-fashioned metal detector, which will also find every scrap of shrapnel, the PL Brake mine detector will find both plastic-shelled and metal cased mines.
The detector pinpoints depth and position of objects by using a sonar-analogue signal, and an image indicating the depth, position and nature of detected objects is generated on the operator’s display by interfacing a recognition unit and a compact database. The mine detector is operated at levels between 10 and 35 centimetres above ground. This enables the detector to work in terrain with for instance marked ridge-and-furrow features without necessitating vertical movement.