CEA-Leti and Davey Bickford Enaex, a worldwide leader in blasting solutions, have extended their joint laboratory project for another three years to, they say, “continue development of innovative radio-frequency communication systems that remotely control networks of high-tech wireless electronic detonators”.
The common lab will build on the partners’ recent success in developing an electronic initiation system without using surface wire that offers increased safety, flexibility and productivity to the blasting market. Like the earlier partnership, the ongoing work will take place in the frame of IRT Nanoelec, a Grenoble-based consortium focused on R&D in the field of semiconductor devices and ICT technologies.
The recently developed system consists of DaveyTronic® electronic detonators with bi-directional radio modules placed on the surface of an open-pit mine. The wireless network communicates with a digital blasting system located a few kilometers away from the blasting zone and is controlled by a wireless communication protocol specifically developed and optimised to ensure safe, reliable and synchronised operation of hundreds of detonating elements in open-pit mines. A key innovation of the new blasting solution is the wireless activation of the detonators, the companies say.
“Most mining operators around the world are striving to cope with the challenges of always guaranteeing the safety of their personnel during blasting operations and always searching for ways to increase productivity,” they said. “One of the ways to do that is limiting the time spent on the bench while priming the blast.”
The main safety benefit of a wired electronic initiation system is offering bi-directional communication between the detonators and the blasting equipment. The challenge for CEA-Leti and Davey Bickford Enaex was to remove the surface wire, generating a significant reduction of the operations on the bench (connecting, troubleshooting), while keeping this two-way communication.
“This new system, called DaveyTronic Edge, is paving the way to teleoperated/ automated priming operations,” the companies said.
Nicolas Besnard, Technologies and Systems Director of Davey Bickford Enaex, said: “As a global leader in blasting solutions, our company is committed to developing innovative pyrotechnic-initiation systems for mining and blasting companies around the world.
“Our collaboration with CEA-Leti has been a strong, two-way partnership that has helped Davey Bickford maintain its position in the blasting industry, and this extended common lab will help ensure we continue to offer our customers the latest in productive, safe and reliable systems in the digital era.”
Swan Gerome, Business Development Manager at CEA-Leti, said: “CEA-Leti’s expertise in radio technologies for industry, including radio-frequency system characterisation and channel-sounding tools, is a good match for Davey Bickford’s vision of providing digital technologies to the mining and blasting industries.
“This extension will open the way for us to continue innovating to bring new solutions to those markets.”