Recently introduced blast-planning products from explosive suppliers Maxam and BME are aimed at providing mines with improved capabilities for customizing individual blasts for maximum
Spain-based Maxam now offers X-Energy, which, according to the company, can help blasters optimize total cost of ownership in mining operations by integrating selective energy application in a fully digitalized mine cycle. X-Energy employs Maxam’s Smart RIOFLEX technology along with complementary digital capabilities available in Maxam’s Blast Center platform.
Maxam said the modular structure of X-Energy enables users to develop a customized solution for each operation through selective application of explosive energy as dictated by rock properties. X-Energy is claimed to allow a mine to design and execute individual blasts for maximum adherence to the requirements of downstream operations. Stated benefits include enhanced safety, reduced impact to the environment, optimized rock fragmentation, efficient use of energy, higher production and reduced costs.
Maxam said its Smart RIOFLEX technology can instantaneously adjust explosive density to match a wide range of rock mass conditions with just a single matrix and sensitizing unit. Its mechanical sensitization provides more control than chemical gassing, ensuring the exact product quantity at the right stemming length and saving operational time.
Maxam describes Blast Center as a cloud-based platform enabling full digitalization of blasting services. It integrates a range of Maxam digital tools to design and conduct drilling and blasting operations, enabling selective energy application as per rock characteristics. Maxam said Blast Center is envisioned to include third-party data for downstream impact tracking and optimization.
Other modules within the X-Energy application include RIOBLAST, a blast design and simulation suite, which now integrates data from measurement while drilling; FMS (Fleet Management System), to plan, control and optimize MSU (Mobile Sensitizing Unit) operations; FDL (Field Data Logger), to verify, correct and record data on the bench; and RIOTRONIC X+, an electronic initiation system and detonator to produce a broad range of precisely timed blasts.
Meanwhile, South Africa-based BME enhanced its BLASTMAP blast planning tool by adding a burden relief timing module.
“BLASTMAP now has a powerful burden relief feature that gives the blaster better control over the shape and movement of the blasted rock muckpile,” said D. Scott Scovira, global manager, Blasting Science at BME.
Scovira explained that burden relief is fundamental to good blast design; a blaster needs to shape the muckpile to optimize the efficiency of the excavation fleet. “If the mine is using a loader and truck fleet, for instance, the blasted rock will need to be laid out lower — and longer burden relief times tend to be used in the blast,” he said. “For a truck and shovel configuration, on the other hand, the muckpile would need to be stacked up higher, usually requiring tighter burden relief times.”
The new feature, said BME, augments its suite of blasting tools that include the AXXIS and XPLOLOG systems. AXXIS allows blast technicians to program a detonator with the desired time delay, while XPLOLOG allows users to view, capture, and sync drill and blast data to a cloud database for real-time access to preparation progress on the blast block.
BLASTMAP’s capabilities include initiation timing design, initiation sequence simulation, blasthole loading design, fragmentation distribution predictions, vibration prediction and blasted rock range prediction.
While initiation timing design enables the design of blast initiation sequences and facilitates programming of the AXXIS system, the initiation sequence simulation allows the user to check for correct hole firing sequence and detect potential out-of-sequence firings. The blasthole loading design module — covering the explosive load, booster and initiation system — is also capable of designing decked hole loading.
For fragmentation prediction — where one of three equations may be chosen —the software allows site-specific or general rock properties to be entered into an editable rock properties database. Additionally, the fragmentation models may be calibrated with data from physical fragmentation distribution measurements.
“Fragmentation distribution is vital to quality blasting, going hand in hand with a mine’s machine productivity in loading and hauling,” said Scovira. “One step further is to optimize fragmentation distribution for the crushing and milling circuit, to improve throughput and recoveries.”
The vibration prediction tool, which generates a predictive isomap of vibration levels around the blast, ensures that blast vibrations do not exceed regulatory or self-imposed environmental constraints. BLASTMAP also includes an advance through-seam design module, to design explosive loads and initiation times in multiple dipping coal strata.
Tinus Strauss, senior software engineer at BME, noted that BLASTMAP can use data from a range of sources. “Data can easily be imported from third-party software through our import wizard,” said Strauss. “This allows any text-based file to be used — as well as specific formats like DXF files — conveying data on parameters such as block-out lines on benches, hole depths and charge.”