Tag Archives: AXXIS TITANIUM

BME set to showcase innovations and North America presence at ISEE explosives and blasting event

BME is gearing up for the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE) Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique in Texas, USA, with the company saying its “solid presence” is a signal of the exciting growth phase it is going through in North America and other global markets.

An official supporter of the ISEE Annual Conference, running from February 3-8, BME says it will highlight its innovative offerings – with senior leadership and technical experts on hand to engage with the market.

Aaron Austin, BME General Manager Americas, says the ISEE event comes at a time when the company has distinguished itself from competitors by growing its investment in the region.

“Our presence at the ISEE conference will give us the chance to share not only our latest technology solutions, but our important developments and plans,” Austin says. “Our presence at the conference will demonstrate our latest generation AXXIS Titanium™ electronic initiation system, alongside our range of solutions that give us full-service capability.”

South Africa-based BME, a member of the JSE-listed Omnia Group, has built its presence in North America through BME Mining Canada Inc – a partnership with local player Consbec.

Austin notes that leadership attending the ISEE event will include BME Managing Director, Ralf Hennecke, Omnia Group Chief Executive Officer, Seelan Gobalsamy, and BME Mining Canada Inc Vice-President, Richard Walker. Key global BME representatives from Indonesia and Australia will also join the conference.

“The group has demonstrated its intent in the Americas over the years, and most recently through the establishment of our production and service facilities in Nairn Centre, Ontario,” Austin says. “To be launched later this year, this facility gives us the infrastructural base to rachet up our growth plans.”

Delegates at the ISEE event will be able to engage directly with BME’s AXXIS Support Manager, Hennie du Preez, who will also showcase AXXIS Titanium on the ISEE Demo Bench.

D. Scott Scovira, BME’s Global Blasting Science Head, will once again present a conference paper at the event.

The level of blasting technology and expertise in BME has already been recognised by ISEE expert panels, noted Austin.

“This will be the second year in a row that we have had a conference paper voted in the top three by an independent panel,” he says. “This is a clear measure of the value of BME’s technical contribution at the ISEE conference and in the sector generally.”

BME Mining Canada Inc has already established itself as a local player through a recent five-year full-service contract with a Canadian open-pitt gold producer.

“In addition to our organic growth in North America, we will also be talking to delegates about our blasting solutions that contribute to customers ESG drives,” Austin added.

BME pushes the boundaries with AXXIS Titanium electronic delay detonators

Blasting and explosive solutions provider, BME says it is once again pushing the boundaries of safety with its initiation system, this time testing the resistance of its AXXIS Titanium™ electronic delay detonators (EDDs) to high current AC voltages.

“There are a number of different voltages that underground mines employ for their various machinery and equipment,” Tinus Brits, BME’s Global Product Manager – AXXIS™, said. “The tests we carried out with an independent research partner were able to show that the AXXIS Titanium EDD is very resistant to high current AC voltages.”

South Africa’s Department of Minerals Resources ARP1717 certification is relevant to this aspect of blasting, providing a foundation for the safety levels expected from blasting equipment, according to Bennie van Nieuwenhuizen, Quality Manager for AXXIS.

“In line with our innovation focus and our commitment to safety, the tests we conducted were to push the boundaries even further in the interests of safe blasting and mining,” van Nieuwenhuizen said. “We were therefore interested in characterising the response of our detonators at far higher currents and voltages than the standards require.”

The context for these tests is that EDDs are typically deployed in mining environments where the range of energy levels is difficult to predict – as every mine will have their own preferred power supplies. In some mining applications, EDDs are used near electrical wires or electric initiation systems.

Andries Posthumus, AXXIS Product Development Manager, explained: “This gives rise to the risk that the EDDs could be exposed to high voltages and currents due to human error or equipment failure. It is therefore important that EDDs should have resistance to initiation when unintentionally exposed to high voltage and current.”

He highlighted that the AXXIS Titanium EDD consists of an encapsulated electronic module, with an electronic printed circuit board that is over-moulded with a plastic material in a proprietary shape. The area closest to the explosive part of the detonator forms a friction fit, as the detonator tube is tapered to the bottom. This forms a seal mechanism, isolating the electronic components from the pyro-technic head and base charge.

The testing protocol required specialised high-power inputs, so BME partnered with the National Electrical Test Facility, according to BME Electronic Engineer, Hendrik van Niekerk.

“The tests involved a high current AC voltage source consisting of a live node, connected through a resistor to the one wire of the detonator, and the neutral node to the other wire of the detonator,” he said. “A remote contactor was used to start the AC exposure, while we measured the voltage with a high voltage probe and measured the current level with a current probe.”

The test levels were pushed to extreme levels not expected in normal operating conditions and, in all the samples tested, no initiation occurred.

“We were pleased with the results of the tests, which showed that BME continues to operate at the highest levels of safety,” Brits said. “Our innovative approach ensures that our ongoing research and testing finds new opportunities for safe and efficient blasting.”

BME’s AXXIS Silver electronic initiation system passes the test in Lesotho

High in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, explosives and blasting specialist BME recently achieved the first blast outside of South Africa with its new AXXIS Silver™ electronic initiation system.

BME, a member company of the JSE-listed Omnia Group, is assisting a diamond mine customer to conduct quality blasts in all weather. According to BME’s AXXIS™ Support Manager, Hennie du Preez, BME has been active on this mine since 2016. Located at an altitude of over 3,000 m, the operation frequently experiences snow and sub-zero temperatures.

“This means blasting under challenging conditions, including extreme cold, snow and ice,” du Preez said. “BME provides everything from the emulsion explosive to the detonation equipment, which all continues to function well under these conditions.”

The AXXIS Silver initiation system employed at the mine is a leaner version of BME’s flagship product AXXIS Titanium™. The company conducts the priming, logging and firing of the blasts, and ensures a regular supply of emulsions to the site.

“Among the benefits of AXXIS Silver is its thin, copper-cladded downline wire, which de-coils easily for use in small diameter holes – even when they are waterlogged,” Du Preez said. “Due to their robust quality, our electronic detonators were able to remain in the holes for two days before blasting, in temperatures below zero where the hole collars froze solid.”

Despite the conditions, there were no issue encountered with the wire or the connector. BME’s latest logger, the TDC 600, also performed as normal in these cold and wet conditions, with no signs of screen lagging. Its battery lasted the entire duration of the logging and the firing of the blast, according to the company.

“We kept our blasting boxes in the vehicle until blasting time, and they switched on without any problems,” du Preez said. “Neither did the cold conditions cause any sluggishness of the screens.”

He confirmed that firing the blast went ahead as planned, with smooth communication between the logger and the blasting boxes. In the final communication check, there was no instability detected.

“This was another confirmation of the resilience of our system in cold climates and freezing weather,” du Preez said. “We have had AXXIS successfully tested in the US for operating in temperatures below minus 40°C, in anticipation of growing business opportunities in the US and Canada.”

AXXIS Silver allows up to 1,800 holes to be detonated in a single blast, initiated from two blast boxes linked.

du Preez noted that mines are increasingly asking for larger blasts to reduce downtime from pit stoppages during blasting. BME is expecting to apply AXXIS Titanium at the Lesotho operation, which can raise the number of detonators in a single blast to 20,000 – or 20 blast boxes firing up to 1,000 detonators each.

An added benefit of the copper-cladded wire, du Preez said, is that the steel wire responds to a magnetic field. After a blast, this allows remnants of wire in the blasted material to be removed by magnetic separators on the conveyor belts before entering the crushing and milling phases. It, thus, prevents potential damage to comminution equipment and contamination of mined material.

BME has also been supplying various Lesotho mine with up to 500 t of emulsion explosive each month. This involves the monthly movement of over 15 tankers through steep mountain passes to keep them supplied with fresh emulsion.

Blasting’s role in making mining more sustainable

Blasting technology – alongside advanced low carbon emission emulsion explosives – is helping pave the way on mining’s sustainability journey, according to BME.

“The digital age has given us the opportunity to leverage the quality of our people, products and service – to optimise blast technology,” BME Managing Director, Ralf Hennecke, says. “Building on the flexibility and accuracy of electronic detonation, our digital tools can make mining more efficient and less carbon intensive.”

By collaborating with customers and technology partners, BME says it has developed solutions that can enhance output and are easily integrated – both between BME’s digital products and externally.

Hennecke emphasised that software platform integration was key to ensuring innovative digital tools could operate seamlessly with a mine’s existing systems.

An innovation that has received global attention is BME’s electronic detonation system, AXXIS. Developed by an in-house team of specialists, AXXIS improves the quality of blasts and mine productivity.

Tinus Brits, Global Product Manager for AXXIS, says: “The entire system was designed in South Africa and built by our own engineering department. All the support and maintenance on the system is conducted by our dedicated in-house technicians.”

Applied in conjunction with BME’s Blastmap blast planning software, AXXIS demonstrates the value of product integration, BME says. Complex blast designs can be easily and quickly transferred from the Blastmap planning platform to the AXXIS initiation platform. Brits noted that Blastmap can also export to third-party initiation systems that a mining customer might already be using.

Among the capabilities that BME has brought to the mining sector are longer blasting windows to allow for larger and more productive blasts.

“The increased firing window of AXXIS Titanium – the latest generation of the AXXIS system – gives mines the opportunity to conduct larger blasts,” Brits said.

The company can also design more complex blasts.

The quality of these blasts ensures better fragmentation, so that less energy is consumed in downstream stages like loading, hauling, crushing and milling. Less energy converts directly to lower carbon emissions when coal- or diesel-fired electricity is used. Larger blasts also mean fewer mine stoppages, facilitating a more streamlined mining process.

“Safety remains a key focus in mining, and a safe mine is a productive mine,” Brits said. “Our digital initiation systems innovate constantly to raise the level of safety in blasting – such as the dual basis of safety in our latest AXXIS Titanium system.”

These safety improvements build on the high-level safety of emulsions when compared with Class 1 explosives. Emulsions are inert until sensitised in the blast hole, so can be more safely transported and stored.

BME’s emulsions also contribute to environmental protection through their inclusion of used oil as a fuel agent. The company has developed a large collection network for used oil, which responsibly transports waste oil from users for its production process. After being incorporated into the emulsion, the used oil is safely disposed of when the emulsion explodes.

So extensive is this network that BME today collects around 20% of South Africa’s used oil, it says.

Sachin Govender, BME’s Used Oil Manager, said: “By using this waste oil in our emulsions, we are eliminating the use of diesel, which is a high carbon source. This plays a positive role in helping our mining customers achieve their ESG goals.”

Where customers have their used oil collected by BME, the initiative delivers a double benefit, according to Govender. On the one hand, it deals responsibly with a waste product that presents an environmental risk; on the other, it reduces the need for diesel as a fuel agent.

“There is also a positive social impact from our used oil initiative,” he said. “We engage small enterprises to collect the oil, which has an economic ripple effect in local communities.”

BME now has about a dozen approved suppliers across South Africa, according to Govender, which have created around 300 job opportunities.

“As we empower small businesses to create an income from this waste, we are conserving the environment while also promoting social upliftment,” he said.

BME Mining Canada readies advanced emulsion, blasting tech for Canada’s UG mining sector

BME Mining Canada Inc, a 50:50 joint venture between South Africa-based BME and Canada-based Consbec, is to use the upcoming Canadian Mining Expo to further highlight its blasting technology and other services to the Canadian mining industry.

Being held in Timmins, one of Canada’s important mining hubs, the event, running from June 8-9, provides BME Mining Canada with a valuable opportunity to reach particularly the underground mining sector.

According to Neil Alberts, BME’s International Underground Business Manager, Ontario presents exciting opportunities for the business.

“We look forward to engaging with small, medium and large mining companies at the expo,” Alberts said. “Our advanced emulsions and blasting technologies is well suited to this market, which is embracing high-tech mining and blasting operations.”

At the event, BME Mining Canada will display one of its Emulsion Charging Units for underground applications. This will be part of showcasing its emulsion loading technology, which has been proven in a variety of mining applications globally, the company said.

It also expects considerable interest in its dual salt emulsion products, its AXXIS Titanium™ electronic detonation system and its Blast Alliance suite of blasting technology tools. The company has recently established manufacturing and processing facilities at Nairn Centre – just west of Sudbury, Ontario.

“Among our strategic targets will be those large, remote mines who are on the look-out for economical and reliable ammonium nitrate supply lines,” Alberts said. “We are positioned to serve customers across Canada from our network of approved bulk explosive facilities from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, and up to Labrador in the north.”

BME to showcase AXXIS Titanium electronic initiation system at Mining Indaba

Omnia Group company, BME is set to showcase its breakthrough electronic initiation system, AXXIS Titanium, at next week’s Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa.

Globally launched in November last year, AXXIS Titanium is one of the world’s most advanced electronic blast detonation systems, the company says.

BME Marketing Manager, Michelle Fedder, says the wide international audience at the Indaba will be inspired by the advanced features of this electronic detonator system.

“Buoyed by strong commodity demand, mines in Africa nonetheless face a range of compliance demands in terms of sustainability – and are constantly in search of efficiency solutions,” she said. “AXXIS Titanium, in concert with BME’s ongoing innovations across its offerings, is helping mines drive down their energy costs and carbon footprint.”

She said AXXIS Titanium boasts improved safety levels enhancing communication with the detonator during manufacturing to avoid defects. Performance is raised through the increased blast duration per detonator, more units per blasting box and precise firing accuracy.

Safety remains BME’s priority, with the incorporation of a Swiss-designed application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip in BME detonators, delivering several added benefits. The ASIC gives the system more internal safety gates against stray current and lightning, enhancing safety levels and allowing for inherently safe logging and testing, according to the company.

“With our sustainability-aligned offerings, we are feeling very enthusiastic about the mining industry and its prospects – especially as it forges the commodity path to a lower-carbon future,” Fedder said.

International Mining is a media sponsor of the Investing in African Mining Indaba, which is running from May 9-12.

BME’s achieves another record-breaking blast with AXXIS Titanium electronic detonators

Another record-breaking blast has been notched up by Omnia Group company BME using its latest generation AXXIS Titanium™ electronic detonation system.

The blast of 5,209 detonators was conducted recently at a chrome mine in South Africa’s North West province, according to Tinus Brits, BME’s Global Product Manager – AXXIS. Brits highlighted how the enhanced features of AXXIS Titanium allows mines to respond quickly and easily to raised production demands.

“While a record blast is always an achievement to be celebrated, this was a standard production blast requiring nothing different or extra from the mine,” he said. “The ease-of-use of AXXIS Titanium, the speed at which blasts can be prepared, and its rapid testing features make this possible.”

The dual-voltage basis of the new system means that detonators can be tested while they are logged in, with the logging and testing conducted as a single function. As a result, this record blast could be primed, charged, tied-up, logged, tested and programmed in just two days.

“With AXXIS Titanium, the logger does everything for you,” Brits said. Multiple loggers were used on the blast, with each operator logging a portion of the blast to speed up the process; the log files were then seamlessly combined.

By consuming less energy, AXXIS Titanium allows up to 1,000 detonators to be initiated by each blasting box – reducing the amount of equipment that is needed on site.

“This helps improve the reliability of blasts, as there are fewer items of equipment to communicate with each other,” Brits said. “These high levels of reliability ensure a quality blast with no misfires, even in single-prime blasts – where there is just one detonator per hole – as was the case in this record blast.”

He also emphasised the intuitive fault-finding capacity of the AXXIS Titanium system, which identifies those detonators which have not been logged onto the harness wire. The operator is informed precisely where the relevant detonator is to be found, so it can be quickly logged.

“It also solves the problem of ‘intruders’ – those detonators that were accidentally missed during the logging process,” Brits said. “Again, the operator can speedily fix this issue wherever it occurs, ensuring that there are no misfires in the blast.”

The design of the AXXIS Titanium connector is another important factor, allowing blasters to log and test detonators without the need to open the connector. The gel in the connector that ensures a good seal, therefore, is not disturbed during testing and logging.

“It only gets opened up once you connect it to the surface wire, which is why the sealing of our connectors is so good – eradicating resistance or leakage on the block,” Brits said.

BME looks to regain growth in Australia/Asia as COVID-19 lockdowns ease

Having sustained its supply chain through initial COVID-19 lockdowns, BME, a member of the Omnia Holdings Group, says it is looking ahead to continued growth in Australia and Asia.

Brad Bulow, BME’s General Manager Australia-Asia, says its Australia and Indonesia blasting and explosives clients continued to efficiently operate through the initial lockdown period, being successfully supported by BME’s Brisbane and Jakarta offices, which applied a work-from-home policy.

Bulow noted that the company has been able to maintain the supply of AXXIS™ detonators to its customers over the lockdown period by using a combination of “agile manufacturing planning, air and sea freight solutions” along with leveraging inventories in “strategic locations”.

BME recently commissioned a new emulsion plant in Indonesia in support of existing down-the-hole blast loading operations, which helped the situation.

“We are forecasting strong growth for our AXXIS offering in Australia and Asia and have recently introduced two new customers to the product,” Bulow said. “Currently, our mining customers are producing good volumes, and their demand for our products remains high.”

Such strong growth projections will no doubt factor in the release of the latest generation of BME’s AXXIS system – AXXIS TITANIUM™. Expected to launch later this year, it will be the most advanced electronic blast initiation system on the market, according to Tinus Brits, BME’s Global Product Manager for AXXIS.

Back in May, the company said trials of the system in South Africa had proven successful with a 100% success rate to date.

BME to capture blasting efficiencies and cost savings with AXXIS TITANIUM

BME says its advanced electronic blast initiation system is undergoing final trials in South Africa, with a 100% success rate to date.

The AXXIS TITANIUM™ system, the latest generation of BME’s AXXIS™ blasting platform, is expected to be launched later this year as a successor to the company’s GII version. According to Tinus Brits, BME’s Global Product Manager for AXXIS, the latest product is certified for trials in terms of South Africa’s Authorised Recommended Process 1717 standard and is being field tested with the permission of the country’s Department of Mineral Resources.

“The upgraded system has achieved trial certification from the first phase of testing, receiving a six-month trial period confirming that it is safe to use,” Brits said. “Trials are now proceeding under the control of BME, so that we can build up a history of performance data – which, to date, has been faultless.”

He said the trials have been conducted on seven relatively small sites around the country since February 2020, using up to about 500 detonators per blast. These trials will continue as and when COVID-19 lockdown restrictions allow, BME said.

“After about six months of trials are completed, application can be made for final certification from the regulator,” he said. Trials were also likely to be extended to international locations as travel regulations open up, according to BME.

Andries Posthumus, Product Development Manager for AXXIS, said AXXIS TITANIUM’s functionality – with a three-in-one blasting box that can also be configured as a control box or as a repeater box – allows a larger number of boxes to be easily linked, as well as many more detonators. This improves efficiencies in blasting and saves time and cost for customers, Posthumus said.

“Even with this additional capacity, the system speeds up the logging process, while allowing on-bench logging and testing of up to 500 detonators,” Posthumus said.

The robust blasting box also benefits from even stronger shell technology, which is matched by tougher downhole cables, according to the company. In terms of digital data transfer and storage, the system’s NFC communication protocols allow faster wireless transfer of files between loggers, with data stored and managed in the cloud.

The latest upgrade promises to provide mines with a significant productivity opportunity, Brits said, while demonstrating BME’s commitment to safety and continuous technological innovation.