Africa-based blasting and explosives leader BME has taken its first steps into the US market with a number of successful test blasts making use of its cutting-edge digital initiation system, blast planning software and electronic detonators.
According to BME global product manager Tinus Brits, six blasts were successfully conducted in these recent landmark tests, providing an important indication of satisfaction and acceptance by US blast experts.
“We collaborated with the experienced blasting firm Controlled Blasting Incorporated (CBI) in Georgia, who employed our AXXIS digital initiation system, our BlastMap III software and our locally manufactured electronic detonators,” said Tinus Brits.
“CBI president Larry Gilmore was impressed with the results and the added benefits of using our planning and initiation systems.”
Gilmore has over 30 years’ experience in blasting and has served as president of the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE); he also serves as chairman of the Georgia Blasting Safety Advisory Committee in the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s Office.
CBI conducted the blasts in a variety of applications, one of which was very close to the Piedmont Hospital in downtown Atlanta; this was a particularly stringent test of the equipment’s ability to facilitate careful control of both fly-rock and vibration levels.
“The CBI blasting team appreciated the testability of our systems – where any problems with detonators are picked up before the blast – as well as the ability to simulate the blast before it is initiated,” he said. “They also enjoyed the ease of use of both the BlastMap software and the AXXIS blast box.”
The use of electronic detonators allows detonations to be precisely timed within milliseconds of each other, reducing out-of-sequence blasts for more controlled blasting and lower vibrations. To further enhance this vibration control, BlastMap can pick up any instances where two holes are inadvertently set to fire at once - avoiding this simultaneous firing also controls vibration and improves the quality of the blast.
In blasts that used between 24 and 121 detonators each, BME and CBI worked together to ensure all tests were carried out within the specified vibration levels.
“In line with US regulations, the contractors ran seismographs during each blast – which could transmit vibration reports to a mobile phone application for real-time monitoring,” said Brits. “All the blasts – which also included a housing development site, a building site and a road-widening project – were performed within the legal vibration limits set by the authorities, confirming the blasters’ confidence in our products.”
Product was supplied to CBI by Powderman Products. The technical services for the blasts were provided by international blast engineering and consulting firm RA McClure, Inc, whose president Robert McClure is a regular speaker at BME’s Annual Drilling and Blasting Conference in Pretoria. McClure is also a recipient of the ISEE’s Presidential Award for his contribution to the industry.
BME strives to remain at the forefront of technology by regularly participating in the research and trials of new blasting techniques and products, as well as attending and presenting at technical conferences worldwide.