Tag Archives: fragmentation

Orica and FRAGTrack recognised for innovative streak in AFR list

Orica’s fragmentation measurement technology, FRAGTrack™, has again gained recognition in the innovation community after being named in the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies List 2020.

FRAGTrack and Orica’s entrenched culture of innovation were behind the company’s second place ranking in the list under the Agriculture, Mining & Utilities Service sector.

The annual list, published by The Australian Financial Review (AFR) and Boss Magazine, is based on a rigorous assessment process, led by a panel of industry experts and innovation consultancy Inventium. From a pool of over 600 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand, Orica’s FRAGTrack was recognised as a pioneering technology in the Agriculture, Mining & Utilities Service industry, delivering significant value for customers, Orica said.

FRAGTrack, Orica’s automated fragmentation measurement device, accurately and reliably measures rock size and fragmentation following the blasting stage in mining and quarrying. While traditional methods are prone to operator bias and cannot generally operate in harsher mining environments, FRAGTrack captures, analyses and reports real-time data digitally, according to the company. Designed in collaboration with Design Anthology, Newie Ventures and Your Engineer Mechanical Engineering, the technology can be installed and upgraded remotely – creating safer, more accurate mining outcomes.

The latest award follows FRAGTrack receiving a Good Design Award accolade in the Engineering Design category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation earlier this year.

When judging the innovation, the AFR industry panel considered three key elements – how valuable the problem is that the innovation is solving, the quality and uniqueness of the solution, and the level of impact that the innovation has had. However, the organisation must also be able to demonstrate a truly innovative culture and a sustainable and repeatable approach to innovation across the business.

Orica’s Chief Commercial and Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne, said: “Innovation underpins everything we do at Orica, and it’s our pioneering spirit, amazing people and commitment to working collaboratively with our customers that allows us to continue to deliver products and technologies that are shaping the future of mining.

“Customer collaboration is key to our innovation process. By understanding our customer’s challenges and sharing their goals and aspirations, we can deliver better outcomes on site today, and use these insights to create new technologies that will deliver value tomorrow.

“FRAGTrack is an excellent example of this innovative spirit on show. This technology has evolved through collaborative innovation between our experts, customers, technology partners and the industry.”

He concluded: “At Orica, we’re proud to be leading the change in digital, automated blasting. The convergence of these technologies is allowing us to think differently, mine differently, operate more precisely and most importantly, remove people from harm’s way. FRAGTrack exemplifies all of this, while ultimately delivering significant value for the industry.”

Maptek brings fragmentation analysis option to PointStudio 2020

A powerful fragmentation analysis tool is a highlight of Maptek’s new PointStudio 2020 geospatial modelling and reporting software.

Better understanding of fragmentation can account for downstream cost efficiencies, with implications for many aspects of an operation, according to Group Product Manager Mine Measurement, Jason Richards.

“Sub-optimal fragmentation is immediately associated with inefficient excavation and haulage,” Richards said. “Undue damage to crusher parts is another impact. Excessive energy usage, crusher downtime due to wear and tear outside of planned maintenance and delivering out-of-specification product are directly linked to operational performance.”

PointStudio Fragmentation Analysis, released to customers this week, allows key performance indicators to be achieved consistently, Maptek says.

Individual rocks can be modelled from scanning of muck piles and draw points to provide accurate fragmentation S-curves from blasting or caving operations.

The new tool allows blast engineers and surveyors to quickly assess the condition of blasted rock, ideally before the material heads to the crushing process, while oversize rocks can be isolated for more effective haulage and processing, the company says.

“A simple scan-analyse-report workflow provides a table where rocks outside of spec can be identified and dealt with before the material gets anywhere near the plant,” Richards said. “A unique feature allows editing rocks or fines in the 3D view and characterising any that are not correctly defined.”

Visual and tabular reporting is immediately understandable so rock can be fed with optimal dimensions for crushing, according to the company.

Fragmentation analysis on 3D data is considerably more powerful and intuitive than methods that rely on analysing imagery. For operations with Maptek BlastLogic, the digital output can be used to compare actual with predictive fragmentation for continuous improvement of drill and blast processes.

While Fragmentation Analysis is a paid add-on in PointStudio 2020, many other new and enhanced features will be delivered to existing customers for free in the update, Maptek says.

One of the new options allows field surveyors using R3 laser scanners to complete scan registration immediately after scanning has finished.

“We’ve made it possible for fully registered scans to be imported from the scanner controller tablet into PointStudio,” Richards said. “Subsequent scans can then be registered with a single click as they are acquired.”

Surveyors can immediately start interrogation, analysis and modelling in PointStudio. An additional benefit derives from field access to aligned scans, allowing timely checks for survey coverage before moving to the next position.

Mine operations commit significant effort to the capture and measurement of as-built data for working faces and stockpiles, Maptek says.

“They can’t afford to let data inaccuracy and inefficient processing prevent them from getting full value from their survey data,” Richards added. “Bad data can lead to poor productivity and risks bad decisions based on incomplete information.”

Orica’s FRAGTrack recognised for outstanding design and innovation at Good Design Awards

FRAGTrack™, Orica’s innovative fragmentation measurement technology, has received a prestigious Good Design Award accolade in the Engineering Design category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.

The award was recieved by Orica and design partners, Design Anthology, Newie Ventures and Your Engineer Mechanical Design, who supported the development of the technology. FRAGTrack captures real-time fragmentation measurement data for optimising drill and blast operations and improves downstream efficiencies in the mining process, Orica says.

The annual Good Design Awards is Australia’s oldest and most prestigious international awards for design and innovation with a history dating back to 1958.

“The awards celebrate the best new products and services on the Australian market, excellence in architectural design, engineering, fashion, digital and communication design, design strategy, social impact design and young designers,” the company said.

The Good Design Awards Jury praised FRAGTrack, commenting: “An innovative design that has the potential to improve commercial and safety outcomes in the mining and extractive industries that use drill and blast techniques. An excellent piece of engineering design using scanning and multi-camera technologies with extensive software engineering in a highly innovative application.

“The robustness of the design and its adaptability are also commended. This is a clever solution to the tedious problem of quantifying fragmentation after blasting. It ruggedises cameras and processors to survive in harsh mining and environmental conditions. Overall, a solid piece of industrial and engineering design that deserves to be recognised and celebrated.”

In accepting the award, Orica’s Vice President of Digital Solutions, Rajkumar Mathiravedu, acknowledged: “We’ve been able to develop this unique digital solution by combining more than 20 years of customer input, internal expertise and collaborations with market-leading specialists Design Anthology, Newie Ventures and Your Engineer Mechanical Design to make it a reality. This award is recognition of the extraordinary people and partners behind this innovative and value delivering technology.

“Throughout the development process we’ve taken the time to listen to the needs of our customers, and then work with them to evolve the design and engineering to suit harsh mining conditions, delivering real impact and outcomes for them – it’s what makes this such a unique and impactful innovation, especially as our customers strive for greater competitive advantage in these challenging times.”

More than 55 Good Design Awards Jurors evaluated each entry according to a strict set of design criteria which covers ‘good design’, ‘design innovation’ and ‘design impact’, Orica says. Projects recognised with a Good Design Award must demonstrate excellence in good design and convince the Jury they are worthy of recognition at this level.

Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia, said: “Receiving a Good Design Award is a significant achievement given the very high calibre and record number of entries received in 2020.”

Following last month’s ‘Australia’s Most Innovative Manufacturing Company’ and ‘Best Industrial IIoT Application’ awards, this latest recognition further cements FRAGTrack as a pioneer product in mining innovation, Orica said. “It is one of the key value-adding technologies that is reinforcing Orica’s differentiated position in the marketplace,” it added.

BME looks to improve load and haul efficiency with new BLASTMAP tool

As part of its continuous development of digital solutions, BME says it has further enhanced its BLASTMAP™ blast planning tool with an added burden relief timing module.

D Scott Scovira, Global Manager Blasting Science at BME, said this new burden relief feature gives the blaster better control over the shape and movement of the blasted rock muck pile, adding that this has knock-on benefits for 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 muck pile would need to be stacked up higher, usually requiring tighter burden relief times.”

The new feature augments a range of BLASTMAP tools that have added value to BME’s customers for many years, integrating with BME’s AXXIS™ and XPLOLOG™ systems, the company said.

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 allows for initiation timing design, initiation sequence simulation, blasthole loading design, fragmentation distribution predictions, vibration prediction and blasted rock range prediction.

BME said: “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 pick up any 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, according to BME. Additionally, the fragmentation models may be calibrated with data from physical fragmentation distribution measurements.

Scovira said: “Fragmentation distribution is vital to quality blasting, going hand in hand with a mine’s machine productivity in loading and hauling. One step further is to optimise 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, the company said. BLASTMAP also includes an advance through-seam design module, to design explosive loads and initiation times in multiple dipping coal strata.

And BLASTMAP can use data from a range of sources, according to Tinus Strauss, Senior Software Engineer at BME.

“Data can easily be imported from third-party software through our import wizard,” Strauss said. “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.”

Zyfra leveraging AI for bucket tooth, fragmentation detection and analysis

Zyfra says it has developed an automated system using artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor the condition of excavator bucket teeth based on its machine vision BucketControl system.

The system is designed to detect the presence or absence of excavator bucket crowns quickly and features functions to alert the excavator operator if a crown is lost or ceases to work.

The application, developed jointly by the AI and Mining divisions of Zyfra, uses an on-board controller to acquire images from the camera, process and analyse them using internal software and sends a signal to the operator if a crown is lost or ceases to work. The wear of the tooth is also assessed, and when a critical value is reached, a notification is sent to the dispatcher, according to the company. This data is transmitted to the server in real time, Zyfra added.

Alexander Smolensky, Business Development Director of Zyfra, said: “With the help of machine vision, you can locate a broken tooth immediately and prevent it from getting into the crushing compartment, whose breakdown threatens the company with a loss of up to $200,000.”

He added: “When mining ore, a broken tooth may cause damage to the bucket, which would entail additional damage worth several million rubles. Our BucketControl system will ensure a cost reduction of 90% when finding a broken tooth.”

The automated system to monitor excavator bucket teeth has been further developed to look at fragmentation. This application measures continuously the size of the pieces of rock in the excavator bucket. “Correlating that size with the location coordinates yields a performance map of rock which measures the efficiency of rock blasting to balance the cost of blasting against the quarry output,” the company said.

Smolensky explained: “In contrast to images taken after the blast, the entire depth of exposed rock is analysed. That enables us to increase excavator productivity by up to 3%, minimises the chances of oversized pieces hitting the crushing compartment, makes it possible to track the quality of blasting operations and ultimately increase rock removal by up to 10%.

“Using the system to analyse previous blasting operations will also help determine the amount of explosives required for future blast works.”

DynoConsult expands its reach and looks for closer mining company collaboration

Dyno Nobel Americas has announced value-added enhancements to its DynoConsult® business that, the company says, has a wider reach and includes programs to increase “saleable yield”, manage regulatory compliance and neighbour relations at customer sites, and reduce overall operating costs.

For more than 20 years, the DynoConsult team of experts has developed technical solutions to assist with customers’ operations.

The new and improved DynoConsult has specific offerings designed around improving blast performance through tried and true techniques, while collaborating with customers to meet specific blast outcome needs, the company says.

“The process begins with a rapid diagnostic assessment of the overall operation to determine cost drivers and potential areas for improvement,” Dyno Nobel Americas explained.

Drill hole planning and execution

Many customers experience poor field conditions and lack standard operating procedures, which prevent accurate drill-to-plan size, and angle and burden, the company explains.

“This results in sub-optimal blasting results, poor fragmentation, and excessive downstream costs (eg processing),” Dyno Nobel Americas said. “Expert assessments from DynoConsult of process deficiencies utilising a range of software and hardware measurement tools are part of the drill hole execution offering to measure drill-to-plan error and assist in implementing best practice methods.”

Optimisation tests look at the accuracy of drill-to-plan implementation, measurement of results downstream with telemetry, plant analytics, power consumption and other customer-specific metrics.

Detonation optimisation

Detonation issues, such as imprecise timing, vibration control, misfires and poor blast control are common for customers and can create operational inefficiencies, suboptimal throughput and safety hazards.

Dyno Nobel’s suite of detonation products and software services will be used by DynoConsult field engineers to enhance detonation practices and combat inefficiencies.

“Many of these software tools are proprietary and only available to DynoConsult team members,” the company said.

Explosive product selection

Some customers also face explosive selection issues that involve suboptimal choice or combination of explosives, services, and delivery systems that result in poor fragmentation or inefficient operations.

DynoConsult experts will prescribe the optimal explosive product(s) for the specific geological, logistical, or operational considerations of the site in order to optimise blast outcomes. “These recommendations are driven by evaluating overall operating costs and, specifically, costs downstream of the blasting process,” the company said.

Community relations and regulatory support

“Customers are often met with other issues involving safety, regulatory compliance, and surrounding community relationship issues dealing with vibration, fly rock and/or airblast,” Dyno Nobel said.

These issues can result in complaints from residential neighbourhoods or other problems, like on-site injuries, penalties, fines or shutdowns. DynoConsult experts can advise on mitigating issues with vibration, fly rock and overpressure that result in complaints. In addition, consultation on legal or regulatory issues can be provided with the intent of minimising disruptions to site operations or productivity levels, the company said.

Stockpile measurement

Measurement methods resulting in inconsistent volumetric accuracy, poor standardisation and substantial lag-time often strain customers’ ability to satisfy regulatory requirements. This impedes their ability to effectively manage inventory logistics.

The company said: “Using Dyno Nobel’s range of measurement software and drone imaging technology, a DynoConsult technical expert can provide stockpile measurement service that is accurate, fast, replicable and cost-effective.”

Fragmentation optimisation

“When customers have an overly aggressive or conservative drill plan, it results in suboptimal fragmentation,” Dyno Nobel says, explaining that optimal fragmentation must be defined by the customer and is unique to every operation, based on geologic conditions, local market and processing plant design.

“Limited onsite resources can make it difficult for customers to ensure equipment and resources are available in the right place at the right time,” the company said. “DynoConsult will use Dyno Nobel technologies and products to analyse baseline drill plans, identify inefficiencies and implement best practice solutions to provide site specific optimized fragmentation.”

Software solutions

DynoConsult now has the capability to offer Dyno Nobel’s full suite of technology applications and software. This includes tools like DataMiner, Dyno42, SignaShot and ShotReport.

Drones continue to make mining activities safer, Anglo American says

Anglo American, in its 2018 annual report, says its use of drones for safety, surveying and security is continuing to expand as it looks to remote-control more of its mining activities.

The company has used drones attached to manned aerial-reconnaissance planes for many years and, today, considers itself an industry leader when it comes to drone use.

Anglo said it has an expanding fleet of drones, from fixed-wing aircraft to quadcopters, with about 50 skilled operators and another 30 people working in drone maintenance across the group. This is spread across its platinum group metal operations in South Africa, the Kumba iron ore mines (also in South Africa), and at De Beers diamond asset sites in Canada, Namibia and South Africa.

“Drones are an important part of our drive to remote-control many of our mining activities while gathering enhanced data and real-time operational performance metrics,” Anglo said. “They provide rapid visual access and multiple views, with smaller drones being used to inspect confined spaces on mines and in processing plants, while bigger aircraft are able to fly at night and stay aloft for up to eight hours.”

Drones are being used in varied tasks such as exploration, mine mapping and calculating the volume of stockpiles, Anglo said, adding that they are proving to be cost effective.

“The deployment of drones is assisting in making our activities safer. Crucially, their use avoids the need for people in potentially hazardous areas,” the company said.

Drones are now being used to inspect and monitor high-risk areas, including stockpiles, mine slopes, ore passes, tailings dams and chemical-storage facilities, Anglo said. They can check for the presence of personnel in a blast area, and measure fragmentation or the direction of dust movement after a blast. By employing them in such applications, it removes the possibility of Anglo personnel entering dangerous areas.

Other applications the company is using them on include traffic management at operations, as well as monitoring rehabilitation activity, including in areas where it can be difficult and risky for people on the ground to gain access.

Frans Kruger, Anglo American’s Global Aviation Safety Principal, said: “Drones increase our safety and efficiency, and they let us take human beings out of potentially dangerous environments.”

Anglo concluded: “Drone technology is evolving fast and, as a responsible operator, we are working closely with other drone operators and South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority, for example, to develop appropriate standards, while also serving with other mining companies on the technical advisory committee of the Flight Safety Foundation.”