WorldWide Drilling Resource

45 DECEMBER 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® A Digital Step for Blasting Science Adapted from Information by BME BME is a manufacturer and supplier of explosives based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company created a product called Xplolog to help mines achieve optimal blasting results with realtime data from blasting blocks. “The digital revolution is giving mines valuable stepping stones toward progressively smarter mining,” said Christiaan Liebenberg, BME product manager of software development. “As blasting is an early-stage activity in the mining cycle, it can impact significantly on the efficiency of subsequent stages. Mines are looking to fast-evolving blasting technology to do this.” Liebenberg highlighted the importance of quick access to data on boreholes, explosives, and other blast-related indices to ensure quality blasting on a regular and consistent basis. If blast engineers and management can see progress of blast preparation in real time, they can quickly respond to deviations which might compromise control and fragmentation of each blast. “The new generation of Xplolog - part of our BLAST ALLIANCE suite of digital blasting tools - builds on our cloud-based data storage principle, giving users quick and detailed insight into all critical aspects of blast block preparation,” explained Liebenberg. “From hole depths and priming, to charging and stemming, this data can be logged on an Android tablet and sync to a cloud database.” The ground-up redesign was done in collaboration with a technology partner who conducted one-on-one feedback sessions with existing users allowing customer priorities to be built into the design. With the Android device provided by BME, users log a range of data from the blast block. Starting with the drilled depth of the hole, the application is populated with data on priming, charging, and stemming. The application accommodates various scenarios to trigger the relevant action. Where water is identified in a hole, for instance, a sleeve may need to be inserted. Unplanned holes may also need to be drilled where rock hardness or a collapsed hole prevents continued operations on the original planned hole. “As data is being input, Xplolog is doing the necessary calculations in the background,” said Liebenberg. “If a hole has been overdrilled, for example, the app will calculate the new volume of explosive required to be pumped by the mobile manufacturing unit.” If the device is within range of a Wi-Fi signal - or if it has a SIM card to link to a cellular signal - the data can be uploaded to the cloud instantly. This feeds into a redesigned and enhanced Xplolog dashboard which other users can access on their mobile devices or computers, giving up-to-date progress on work being conducted on the blast block. While default templates are available, users can also configure their own reports and save preferences for future use. This can help increase productivity by equipping blast engineers and management with professionally designed reports ready for presentation. Xplolog technology is currently being put to work at a large opencast mine in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. Xplolog users can explore specific data on each hole - such as comparing the design and charge versus actual depth and charge. EXB