Drill & Blast, HR, Management

Innovation awards celebrate silver anniversary, drive solutions

MAXAM, the global technology company specialising in energetic materials in mining, quarries and civil works, recently celebrated the 25th edition of its Santa Barbara Innovation Awards, an initiative in the blast solutions industry that promotes a culture of innovation at all levels of the organisation.

Some of MAXAM’s solutions – such as the RIOBLAST design and simulation software and the RIOSENSOR device – blossomed from these awards.

The awards are aimed at the company’s 6500-plus workforce in 80 industrial facilities and subsidiaries across more than 50 countries on five continents. They are open to any employee who can identify and propose new ideas and solutions that generate a differential value for the company and its customers.

“MAXAM’s professionals in the field face complicated and extremely differing environments such as a mine in Siberia in -40 degrees, underwater blasting machines in Panama, or projects in sub-Saharan Africa in more than 40 degrees of heat,” MAXAM’s chief technology officer Miguel Àngel Flórez said.

“It is they who can quickly detect any new challenge to improve the security and efficiency of operations. Thanks to them, to the non-conformist, innovative spirit of our teams, some significant technological advances have emerged from Santa Barbara that respond to the specific needs of our customers.”

Fernanda Cardama, the company’s global head of people and resources, said: “Innovation is one of our fundamental values as a company and a distinguishing mark of each and every one of MAXAM professionals.

{{quote-A:R-W:225-I:2-Q:"Innovation is one of our fundamental values as a company and a distinguishing mark of each and every one of MAXAM professionals."-WHO:Fernanda Cardama, MAXAM's Global Head People & Resources}}“We have a global, multicultural and diverse team that drives us to innovate every day. Constantly exploring new paths and possibilities is the only way we know to continue creating value for all our stakeholders, while still contributing to the progress of society.”

In its 25-year history, the Santa Barbara Innovation Awards program has been the starting point for some of the company’s important technological advances. In the past 10 years, the prototypes of innovative developments have featured in the awards, aimed at increasing the efficiency, precision and security of blasting solutions for mining and civil engineering.

For example, technologies such as RIOBLAST and mobile assembled explosive units played key roles in MAXAM’s successful Panama Canal extension project, completed in 2015. Both innovations evolved from the presentations of MAXAM employees at the Santa Barbara Innovation Awards.

Other significant developments arising from winning ideas have included the BER system for the real-time visual inspection of boreholes and the RIOSENSOR device, which contribute to clear security, efficiency and productivity improvements in mining projects.

RIOBLAST is a blast design and simulation software package for managing a one-off blast or complete campaign. It enables the optimisation of explosives and initiation systems, and accurately predicts aspects such as the fragmentation that will be obtained, vibrations in the field and reach, allowing the delimitation of the security perimeter. Additionally, it can be used to analyse results and generate blast reports with details of fragmentation and vibrations.

RIOSENSOR is a device designed by the company’s technicians to identify and measure deviations in blastholes before proceeding with the blast. It means corrections can be carried out or the effects of deviations on the final result can be anticipated, therefore improving operational productivity.

BER is a visual and real-time borehole inspection system that can remain inside the borehole while the explosive is loaded, unlike other devices where it is necessary to extract and clean it. In addition, this system transmits real-time images that can be seen from anywhere in the world. Information obtained on every borehole via the BER allows adjustments to be made before executing the blast, contributing to improvement of the end result.

During works for extending the Panama Canal, part of MAXAM’s technical team developed a device for packaging the stored explosive on trucks that pump the bulk product into the boreholes. This conversion of trucks into mobile explosive units generates significant economic savings for the customers, and significantly increases the security of an operation. It enables the use of an assembled product in unstable areas or areas with difficult access for pump trucks.

Source: MAXAM Australia

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