Digitally enabled blasting platform sets out to optimise operations

Orica, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems, has released the latest version of its BlastIQ digital blast optimisation platform to the Australian mining market.

It is designed to optimise blasting outcomes by integrating data and insights from digitally connected technologies across the drill and blast process. Solutions enabled by BlastIQ can deliver predictable and sustainable improvements that can reduce the overall cost of drill and blast operations, improve productivity and safety, and facilitate regulatory compliance.

Orica chief commercial officer Angus Melbourne described how Orica’s digital technologies would assist operators. “The downstream impact of variable and poorly controlled blast outcomes today can impact as much as 80 per cent of the total mine processing costs. This presents a significant opportunity for the industry. The new BlastIQ platform enhances blast performance and outcomes for customers by seamlessly connecting data under a single platform,” he said.

“Soon the platform will link geoscientific, blast modelling and design data with measured field operations data, optimised blast delivery and advanced learning for continuous improvement.

“Orica wants to transform how drill and blast unlocks mining value for our customers, utilising digital and automated technologies to create safer, predictable and more productive blast outcomes. BlastIQ enables us to collaborate with customers to realise this transformation.

“Building on more than 140 years of experience and innovation in blasting, we have enhanced our ability to deliver value for our customers by adding world-class digital expertise and solutions to our existing suite of market-leading products and services. We believe Orica is uniquely positioned to unlock the value that digitally enabled blasting can deliver.”


Secure, cental location

According to Orica, the suite of enhanced technologies in the next generation BlastIQ empowers mine managers and engineers to make better decisions and increase control of blasting outcomes across mining and quarrying operations.

The platform’s information management component provides a secure, centralised online location for users to collate and collaborate on data from across the drill and blast process. This accelerates planning, analysis and auditing of blast data to satisfy regulatory requirements.

Optimised blast designs are developed using Orica’s SHOTPlus 3D design and modelling software. Evolved over 30 years, the advanced design tool has the capability to manage both simple and complex blast designs and initiation sequences.

Orica’s global digital product manager Angelo Labriola outlined the key benefits of the new digital platform.

“Our SHOTPlus design tool improves productivity by integrating seamlessly with the BlastIQ platform,” he said. “This allows blast loading instructions and rules to be communicated in near real-time to field operations, ensuring the right explosive type and quantity is used in the right place and subsequently initiated at the right time, every time.

“Improved in-field blast quality control and assurance is achieved using the new BlastIQ mobile device, enabling the efficient capture of auditable data direct from the bench. Blasthole condition data is captured with the BlastIQ mobile device in near realtime, allowing data to be shared between operations and engineering personnel from anywhere on-site, at any time, empowering rapid decision-making and improved operational efficiencies.”

Labriola said the complete blast control solution, enabled by the BlastIQ Platform, offered a complete integration between the explosives delivery control system, blast design and quality management systems.

“In a world-first, accuracy and efficiency of explosives delivery is significantly enhanced through the new BlastIQ-enabled delivery system, with loading and delivery to design now fully integrated,” Labriola said.


“Orica’s Mobile Manufacturing Unit delivery systems, in particular the recently released Bulkmaster 7 unit, can be integrated into BlastIQ to wirelessly receive blast designs updated with near real-time blasthole quality data, while on the bench.

“Using this data, Orica’s connected, smart delivery systems load the correct explosive type and quantity according to the original design, adjusted based on blasthole condition measurement data and the automated application of a defined set of rules managed by the drill and blast engineer.

“This unique, direct integration with the delivery control system automates process control, thereby eliminating errors in manual product selection, process control and incorrect logging of loading actuals, as well as, importantly, reducing overall explosives loading times.”

Where a BlastIQ-enabled delivery system is not available, a BlastIQ mobile device can be used to capture and record asloaded data during the delivery process. The system still updates instruction to the delivery system operator based on updated processing of design and in-field blasthole condition measurement that precedes loading.

“The powerful new insights and analytics engine incorporated into the BlastIQ platform presents near real-time, hole by hole, blastrelated data visually to the multiple users across the drill and blast process,” Labriola said.

“Delivering the necessary insights and analytics helps the drill and blast team to easily monitor and manage key blasting KPIs, providing with them an essential tool to optimise blasting outcomes.”


Customer success program

In addition to the new technologies, functionality and enhanced user experience in the next generation BlastIQ Platform, a comprehensive training, support and customer success program has been introduced.

It is aimed at tailoring each BlastIQ implementation specific to an operator’s needs, increasing the speed of implementation and, importantly, maximising their ability to realise productivity, cost reduction and regulatory compliance benefits.

The new platform has been integrated into several operations around the world, with operators experiencing its benefits and rewards.

Through easy integration into existing operational systems and processes, the BlastIQ Blast Control solution can improve blast quality control through autonomous and seamless data transfer and insights. This results in the elimination of rework, and the reduction of excess drilling and explosives consumption.

Multilingual support was to be introduced to the BlastIQ Platform in late 2018, as well as a new capability to optimise blast fragmentation through integration of drilling data, blast modelling and automated fragmentation measurement. In early 2019 the platform will connect third party mine planning, drilling and predictive modelling to deliver more blast control and optimisation for operators.

The scope for data-driven optimisation in the drill and blast segment of the mining value chain is significant and the next generation BlastIQ will continue to evolve rapidly to meet the growing demands of customers.

Orica will launch the next generation BlastIQ platform to the quarry industry in July 2019.

Source: Orica Australia


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