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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.