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Boral sites in the Brisbane and Gold Coast region were the first to trial the uni tronic 600.
Boral sites in the Brisbane and Gold Coast region were the first to trial the uni tronic 600.

New, affordable electronic blasting systems

Using Electronic Blasting Systems (EBS) as a primary initiation product in the mining and quarrying industry is still viewed as innovative, although the technology has been available for over a decade.
Orica has manufactured its own suite of EBS products since 2000 and has now released the first of the next generation of EBS products.

The uni tronic 600 electronic blasting system enables more users to experience the benefits of electronic blasting at an economical price. The system is easy to learn and will suit operations looking to reduce vibration, expand blast patterns, minimise back break and improve high wall stability, cast performance and fragmentation. These benefits can have a real impact on a quarry’s bottom line.


Transitioning from one product to another can often be difficult as it involves training personnel, changing procedures and equipment, conducting risk assessments and undergoing a product approval process. The latest EBS products are designed to have minimal impact to an existing operation. This is done through firmware upgrades of existing control equipment (scanners and blast boxes), thus reducing the capital cost required to move to a new product and minimise training for existing users. The detonator is also designed to look the same cosmetically and with the same wire characteristics, allowing loading techniques to remain unaltered.

In saying this, there have been changes made to improve system performance and usability, eg:
•    Improved circuitry safety structure, designed to be more resilient to extraneous electrical impulses and non-commanded initiations.
•    A new, improved Applications Specific Integrated Circuit that enables robust communications to and from the detonator with increased delay time accuracy.
•    An improved surface connector complemented by a duplex harness wire that enables faster hook-up with better connections and is also glove friendly.
•    On-bench testability, with the capacity to test detonator functionality and network integrity while personnel are still on the blast pattern.
Having on-bench testability means most issues can be solved well before firing time, minimising delays to the operations at firing time. The system also has the usual benefits of electronic blasting in terms of precise initiation and error detection, alerting the operation to potential misfires before they occur.

From L to R: The uni tronic 600 products including blast box, Scanners 200 and 125, detonator and test box.
From L to R: The uni tronic 600 products including blast box, Scanners 200 and 125, detonator and test box.

Boral’s quarry operations were the first to trial the uni tronic 600 system in Australia, particularly in and around the Brisbane and Gold Coast region. Boral uses EBS daily to its advantage. The transition to the uni tronic 600 system occurred swiftly, with Boral operators requiring a brief “in-class” theory training session followed by a day’s on-site training.

The training allowed Boral to experience the benefits of the uni tronic 600 system with minimal impact to its operations. Michael Long, quarry manager for Boral Petrie, said the major benefit of the uni tronic 600 is “the increased confidence” it provides the shot firer prior to firing, “with the potential to rectify a situation should a problem arise”.

Orica believes that Boral’s quarry operations should see fewer delays at blasting time, fewer misfires, improved efficiency in wiring and testing a shot and greater productivity in blast operations.

Experience has shown that converting a new customer to the uni tronic 600 system can be done efficiently and with minimal impact to a quarry’s operation. Orica says this is possible because of the wide technical, operational, manufacturing and management capability it has at its disposal in Australia and around the world. Orica continues to work on improving its range of EBS products with an experienced technology team.

With the introduction of the uni tronic 600, Orica anticipates an even greater uptake in the use of EBS as a primary form of initiation at most mines and quarry operations in Australia.

Source: Orica Quarry Services

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Thursday, 17 October, 2019 1:49am
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