Tag Archives: Adam Mooney

Orica helps clients target specific blast outcomes in real time with 4D bulk explosives tech

Orica has, today, launched 4D™, its latest bulk explosives technology at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas, USA.

The 4D bulk system enables the real-time tailoring of explosives energy to geology across a blast, delivering improvements in fragmentation, on bench productivity and an overall reduction in drill and blast costs, according to the ASX-listed company.

The 4D bulk explosives technology will enable Orica’s customers to, the company says, seamlessly match a greater range of explosives energy across a mine’s geology and target specific blast outcomes in real time.

By combining emulsion blended with ammonium nitrate porous prills, 4D supports both pumped and augered loading methods across dry, wet and dewatered hole conditions. An outcome of this unique capability is greater on bench productivity by Orica’s fleet of 4D-enabled Mobile Manufacturing Units (MMU™), without the need to change raw materials in the MMU, Orica says.

Orica Chief Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne, said: “Our 4D capability demonstrates the convergence of our new technologies and solutions, allowing our customers to think differently, mine more efficiently and operate more precisely. By combining our range of advanced digital, formulation chemistry and explosives delivery technologies with our technical expertise, we are able to offer this breakthrough solution that will unlock greater value for our customers across their operations.”

Delivering up to 23% more relative bulk strength for hard-rock applications and up to 43% reduction in soft-rock applications, 4D will enable a broader range of applications, according to Orica.

In hard rock, the extra energy can be used to improve fragmentation in ore blasting, or to expand patterns while maintaining the same energy per bank cubic metre to substantially reduce drill and blast costs, the company claims. In softer geology, the potential of loading significantly lower energy products into wet holes leads to reduced cost and fume risk, as well as better management of blast vibration.

Orica Vice President – Blasting Technology, Adam Mooney, described the solution and the significant change in the application of explosives, saying: “Traditionally blast designs are often driven by powder factor, which is the overall consumption of explosives for the blast, rather than the energy required for different parts of the blast based on geology, resulting in the same type of explosive being applied across a blast pattern regardless of changes in geology or the required blast outcome.

“4D now enables us to consider another dimension – the application of energy in real time matched to the rock strength of the blast pattern as well as the desired blast outcomes, such as consistent fragmentation, fume risk reduction or better vibration control. This is a really powerful technology that will allow customers to manage their drill and blast operations and achieve improved blast outcomes.”

4D will be delivered through MMU’s equipped with LOADPlus™, Orica’s proprietary in-cab smart explosives delivery control system that, it says, enables the ease of manufacture and accurate and efficient delivery of formulated explosives products to plan.

Integration with Orica’s suite of digital blasting technologies including BlastIQ™ and SHOTPlus™ will further enable customers to leverage seamless digital workflows including blast designs and blast quality assurance and control, as well as BlastIQ digital insights to continually optimise blasting outcomes, Orica says.

4D is currently being developed across Orica’s Fortis™, Fortan™ and Aquacharge™ bulk systems. The technology will eventually be applied across Orica’s suite of bulk systems.

The first release of 4D™ will begin with Australia from the end of the year with other regions to follow from 2022.

MINExpo 2021 runs from September 13-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Orica to unveil WebGen 200 wireless blasting initiating system at MINExpo 2021

Orica says it will unveil its latest through-the-earth, fully wireless initiating system, WebGen™ 200 at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas next week.

A development based on more than 2,300 successful WebGen 100 blasts around the world, specifically in underground mines, Orica’s WebGen 200 technology has been designed with customers’ needs and feedback built-in as they look to further improve safety and productivity across their operations, the company says.

WebGen technology provides for groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that communicates through hundreds of metres of rock, water and air. This completely removes constraints often imposed by the requirement of a physical connection to each primer in a blast and importantly allows the removal of people from harm’s way, it says.

“Engineered to deliver market-leading safety and reliability, WebGen 200 has been built with enhanced capabilities, security and versatility, ensuring it meets the extreme mining conditions faced by surface and underground customers pushing the boundaries of mining’s next frontier,” Orica says.

MINExpo 2021 will take place on September 13-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Orica Chief Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne said: “We know that as our customers go deeper and move into more complex mining, they are requiring more advanced technology to help them mine differently and continue to extract their orebodies safely and efficiently. That’s where WebGen 200 and our broader technology roadmap comes in.”

WebGen 200 harnesses digital technology to allow advanced features including digital inventory management, delay adjustments before blasting, an improved user interface and increased quality assurance, according to the company. Reliability is further improved with the WebGen 200 primers available to endure even greater dynamic pressure.

Orica Vice President – Blasting Technology, Adam Mooney, said: “We’ve co-developed our second-generation wireless initiation technology, WebGen 200, with customers from across all segments and regions around the world.

“We developed WebGen primarily to reduce or remove employees’ exposure to hazardous environments and improve overall operational safety. But we are also seeing the technology delivering unparalleled improvements in productivity and improved recovery for our customers – it is enabling a step-change in blasting and mining like no other.

“We are excited about what the future holds for the industry with WebGen 200 and know the enhancements made to this second-generation product will improve the customer experience, broaden its application and deliver significant value for customers while enabling the first stages of blast automation.”

The hardware, software and the WebGen 200 units come together as a system that, Orica says, is easily integrated into any operation. It will be available in four product variants and include a wider range of booster weights, opening up new segments, applications and opportunities in both surface and underground mining.

The complete product range now includes the WebGen 200 Surface, WebGen 200 Surface Pro, WebGen 200 Underground Pro, and WebGen 200 Dev. All four variants will be on show in Las Vegas.

The new WebGen 200 suite of fully wireless initiating systems

WebGen 200 Surface and WebGen 200 Surface Pro are specifically designed for surface mining applications, with the Pro version designed for extreme blasting conditions, including revolutionary blasting techniques like Multi-Stratum Blasting, Mining Schedule Flexibility and Lightning Risk Reduction. The WebGen 200 Underground Pro is suited to production blasting, while the WebGen 200 Underground Dev has been designed for mechanical assembly and will enable the automation of underground development charging with Avatel™.

Orica and Epiroc have been developed Avatel, billed as a first-of-its-kind, industry-driven semi-automated explosives delivery system, with a prototype machine currently undergoing trials ahead of being commercially ready by the end of 2021.

The charging solution, enabled by Orica’s WebGen wireless initiating system technology, addresses the final step in the underground development cycle yet to benefit substantially from mechanisation and automation.

It is expected to bring a step-change in safety by eliminating the need for wired connections and subsequent exposure to crews at the face, according to Orica. Instead, the entire charging cycle can be completed by a single operator from within the safety of an enclosed cabin, several metres from the face.

The WebGen 200 development program is progressing to plan with comprehensive verification and validation product testing completed, according to Orica. Field trials are planned and will be completed across multiple mining segments and regions in Australia, Canada, Latin America and Europe, ahead of being commercially available from December 2021.

Orica reaches electronic detonator milestone at Brownsburg facility

Orica, a leading manufacturer of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems, says it has now produced 100 million electronic detonators out of its manufacturing facility in Brownsburg, Canada.

The milestone Electronic Blasting Systems (EBS) detonator rolled off the production line on April 30.

Orica, Vice President, EBS, Adam Mooney, said: “Reaching the 100-million-mark demonstrates our commitment to customers in delivering a high quality and reliable supply of innovative blasting systems.

“Our state-of-the-art Brownsburg facility produces the full range of EBS systems for surface and underground operations, including i-kon™, uni tronic™, eDev™ and the world-first wireless initiation system, WebGen™. These market-leading EBS technologies, combined with our technical expertise on the ground, is how we deliver value to our customers every day.”

Since the first generation EBS manufacturing in 2006 at Brownsburg, Orica has continued to make advances in initiation technologies, supporting customers to enhance productivity with larger blasts, achieve faster deployment and blast set-up for both small and large scale blasting, and improve overall fragmentation and vibration control, it said.

Orica said: “The safety and reliability of Orica’s EBS systems are the best in the industry, the products are designed to perform safely and reliably even under extreme conditions. This includes extreme events such as detonators being struck by lightning, which customers face every day around the world.”

Orica’s EBS detonators are specifically designed with multiple safety features which enable protection against high-voltage electrostatic discharge, which occur in lightning strikes. These safety features were highlighted recently when an i-kon III detonator (pictured) in the Hunter Valley region of Queensland, Australia, was struck by lightning. The in-built safety features of i-kon performed as designed and did not result in an un-intended initiation of the explosive column, according to the company.

Today, Brownsburg has expanded production to include WebGen technology in the mining industry. This wireless initiation technology is breaking barriers in the mining industry, according to the company, through elimination of exposure to high-risk activities and enabling new mining methods and blasting techniques capable of delivering faster loading cycles, lower cost of production and improved, more flexible blasting reliability and management.

“The system provides for groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that communicates through rock, water and air, removing constraints imposed by the requirement of a physical connection to each primer in a blast,” Orica said.

WebGen™ is a critical pre-cursor to Automation and Orica is proud to be leading the reimagination of the mining industry through digital, automated blasting with products and solutions like the BlastIQ™ Platform, a cloud-based digital platform designed to enable continuous improvement of blasting outcomes through insights and data integration.

Orica Vice President, Initiating Systems & Packaged Explosives Manufacturing, Leah Barlow, said: “The Brownsburg facility prides itself on being a safety leader in Orica, with an excellent focus on robust safety systems and a proactive view to managing risk. Our robust quality control procedures coupled with a strong working relationship with our critical suppliers enable us to deliver EBS detonators that ensure safe, precise and reliable fires around the world.

“This 100-million-mark milestone achievement is testament to the Orica commitment to safety, excellence and innovation and is as much an achievement to be shared with the local community for their support over the years.”

With the recent addition of a new EBS assembly line in Helidon, Australia, another key global manufacturing site for Orica, customers in the Australia Pacific and Asia region are now benefitting from a stronger and more efficient manufacturing and supply chain operation that ensures reliable and quality supply of EBS within the region, the company said.