Omnia Group company BME has launched a record-breaking blast using its latest generation AXXIS Titanium™, one of the world’s most advanced electronic blast detonation systems.
The Managing Director, BME – Ralf Hennecke hailed AXXIS Titanium™ as a significant advancement for the company’s ever-evolving technology, securing BME’s position as one of the global leaders in Electronic Delay Detonator (EDD) design.
“Our release of AXXIS Titanium™ globally raises the bar for the electronic detonator market. This flagship product reflects our continued focus on digital advancement in mines. This is designed to seamlessly integrate with BME’s software systems and hand-held digital tools,” said Hennecke.
BME’s Global Product Manager – AXXIS™ Tinus Brits underscored the enhanced features of the system, which allow mines to expeditiously and effortlessly counter increased production demands.
Key among the benefits of AXXIS Titanium™ is the short time at the blasting point; remote control; 5 km line-of-site; repeaters for sites with multiple pits; and frequency hopping modems.
AXXIS Titanium™ improves safety levels and manufacturing quality through enhanced communication with the detonator to avoid defects. Its performance is raised through the increased blast duration per detonator, with increased units per blasting box and precise firing accuracy. This allows up to 1000 detonators to be initiated by each blasting box – reducing the amount of equipment that is needed on-site and minimising the usage of energy. 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.
“Over the decades, BME has made regular advances in the performance, safety and reliability of this innovative solution. The AXXIS Titanium™ system is built for the blaster and blast engineers who work with the product every day. The robustness of the wire, the easy-to-use interface and the improved integration will undeniably improve efficiency in terms of time, data and reporting,” Tinus Brits BME’s Global Product Manager for AXXIS™ added.
Brits also emphasised the intuitive fault-finding capacity of the AXXIS Titanium™ system, which identifies detonators that have not been logged, as the operator is informed precisely where the relevant detonator is to be found, so it can be quickly logged without intruders.
He noted that the latest generation of BME’s popular and well-proven AXXIS™ system, AXXIS Titanium™ takes blasting safety and flexibility to a new level. This iteration builds on the accomplishments of the AXXIS GII™ model and raises the bar in many of the features that have served mines so well, including further refinements in safety, accuracy, flexibility, ease of use and speed.
The unique design of the AXXIS Titanium™ connector thereby allows blasters to log and test detonators without the need to open the connector, as the gel in the connector ensures a good seal, and is therefore not disturbed during testing and logging.
This makes it flexible, with advanced and unique clock technology, and complex timing designs that can be applied at 1 ms accuracy, even at the highest firing time.
It’s also important to note that safety and security have been given top priority in the design of the AXXIS TITANIUM system, with the incorporation of a Swiss-designed application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip in the BME detonators. This gives the system more internal safety gates against stray current and lightning, enhancing safety levels and permitting inherently safe logging and testing.
The system also has digitally encoded fire signals, with current and voltage protection that can withstand higher dynamic pressure; and a cutting edge firing-switch technology with robust communication protocols between detonators, loggers and blast boxes. The blast command is repeated and error-checked to prevent false firing.
Additionally, the system swiftly operates wirelessly with the controller box displaying every detail and control function.
The dual voltage basis of the new system allows detonators to be logged and tested as a single function. As a result, this record blast could be primed, charged, tied-up, logged, tested and programmed in just two days.
The system conducts low voltage logging to avoid any chance of detonation; and blasts are initiated by a robust, encrypted blast command ensuring that detonators all receive their respective commands and fire as planned in the encrypted firing sequence. Ideally, over-moulding of all components on the electronic board protects the detonators against dynamic pressures and isolates components from any induced ground currents – such as electrostatic discharge and lightning strikes.
“We have developed AXXIS Titanium™ to be resistant to electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) caused by the blast, which can affect the accuracy of detonators or even cause them to fail. Our intensive tests in conjunction with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) showed that our detonators can withstand a significant EMP without any impact on their timing.” Brits notes.
Speed and Timing
AXXIS Titanium™ has been proven in some of the largest mining blasts on record, allowing mines to conduct fewer blasts – thereby reducing downtime due to pit closures. The ultra-low energy micro-chip is also less susceptible to leakage plus cable resistance and extends the firing time to a maximum of 35 seconds.
The ASIC chip boasts of more memory and processing speed, facilitating easier timing and centralised programming. It also achieves lower power consumption with the incorporation of dual capacitors. The system can manage 1,000 detonators per blasting box and up to 20 blasting boxes can be linked and synchronised through hard wiring, enabling the possibility of initiating up to 20,000 electronic detonators in a single blast – doubling the capacity of the AXXIS GII™ generation.
The ease of use and on-bench logging is among the key benefits of AXXIS Titanium™ as it supports logging and testing of detonators, as well as the simple fault-finding and quick corrections on the blast pattern.
“Everything is built into the logger, which can now do the programming, scanning and testing. The market appreciates the speed at which you can now fire a blast. After the detonators have been programmed, you can start up the controller from the view site and blast within two minutes,” noted Hennie du Preez, BME’s Manager AXXIS™ Support.
The speed of the ASIC chip on the system’s board cuts the programming time by half, and simultaneous programming and testing for each detonator can be programmed before or after connecting to a trunk line. Passive logging is also possible on the bright colour screen.
Blasting for sustainability
The accuracy of the detonation delays has been further fine-tuned, reaching a 0.02% firing accuracy for consistent and quality blasting that results in better rock fragmentation. This ultimately supports mines to improve their carbon footprints as they pursue increasingly vital sustainability targets.
The system allows multiple seam blasts with long delays between each seam; trim shots or pre-splits with precisely ordered hole firing times and accurately separates ore and waste in complex geological environments.
Its accurate blast design and initiation also allows mines to ensure they are operating within regulatory limits regarding vibration control.
Commands from the operator are written into the detonator’s non-volatile memory so that it cannot be overwritten or deleted. This is very useful for post-blast analysis if required, as the blast command is recorded by the memory chip.
The technological integration of AXXIS™ with BME’s innovative solutions such as BLASTMAP™ blast planning software, XPLOLOG™ platform and cloud-based storage for post-blast analysis gives customers better control of the entire blasting process, including customised reports and data solutions to optimise efficiency and cost.
The commercialisation of AXXIS Titanium™ follows extensive laboratory and field testing in South Africa, leading to the recent award of an Inspection Authority certificate by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. Enthusiastic uptake of AXXIS Titanium™ has already begun in BME’s southern African market, and the system will soon be rolled out across BME’s extensive Africa footprint.
The system is already certified in Australia, Asia Pacific and the United States, and the necessary regulatory processes are underway to certify AXXIS Titanium™ in Canada and other global territories.