Blasting solutions provider, MAXAM is continuing its automation and digitalisation drive with the development of its X-Energy innovations, all of which are aimed at ensuring the proper use of its explosives’ energy to optimise downstream outputs, according to MAXAM Technical Senior Advisor, Vicente Huélamo.
As part of this, MAXAM has developed a “powerful and structured” digital platform called MAXAM Blast Center for storing, managing and sharing blast-related data. The platform is a user friendly, customised web-based system that can be accessed remotely.
Users can track information and generate reports detailing blasting activities in real time, since the platform enables the full integration of MAXAM digital tools to design, plan and conduct efficient drilling and blasting operations, the company said. The MAXAM Blast Center can include downstream data from the mine to track and optimise drilling and blasting, with the process commencing with blast design information generated in RIOBLAST, MAXAM’s blast design software, and transferred to the Blast Center platform.
RIOBLAST takes into account rock characteristics and blasting requirements to define the blast loading plans, timing configuration and the bulk explosive density profile for each specific rock layer along the borehole.
The complete blast design is then transferred to the Blast Center from where it can be assigned to the specific Mobile Sensitising Unit (MSU) and the X-Logger. On the bench, the blaster can gather actual data with the X-Logger, such as stemming length and hole conditions, while the MSU loads the boreholes according to the blast loading plan, MAXAM explained. The actual loading data is transferred back to the Blast Center where the information can be shared and processed.
“Innovative solutions using data science, business intelligence, equipment utilisation and blast optimisation can be developed as a consequence of the digitalisation of blasting processes,” MAXAM says. “The application of artificial intelligence and machine learning are key to generating value at each stage of the mine production cycle.”
The new generation of MAXAM’s fully digitalised MSUs, X-TRUCK, represents state-of-the-art technology for the manufacturing and loading of bulk blasting products, according to the company.
X-Truck offers a means of communication between the MAXAM Blast Center and the MSU control system, the company said. Loading plans can be sent directly to the loading units via a high-speed Wi-Fi network, allowing each MSU manufacture the specified quantity of product and load it directly into each borehole.
“The sensitising and loading of explosives is an operation that requires the highest quality standards to achieve the desired results,” the company explained. “MAXAM Blast Center ensures that the entire process, from blast design, data exchange, to final product application and blasting outcomes, is consistently performed safely, correctly and efficiently to always produce the optimum blasting outcomes.”
X-Logger, meanwhile, is an application for portable devices designed to collect and digitise actual data on the bench, such as borehole parameters after drilling, the amount of product loaded in each borehole, stemming control and other attributes. The device is fully integrated into the MAXAM Blast Center in a way that the data retrieved from the field is automatically updated in the platform using the internet connection. In the absence of such a connection, the data is synchronised when the connection is re-established.
MAXAM concluded: “The integration of geology, blasting design and drilling information into an innovative explosive application technology contributes to the mine optimisation program. These optimisation capabilities involve the ability to continuously model and measure all related phenomena and operational performance and consolidate them into a continuous improvement program of all the mine operations.”