Blast From The Past | Global Mining Review

Orica Digital Solutions develops technologies which seamlessly connect customers’ physical…

Orica Digital Solutions develops technologies which seamlessly connect customers’ physical and digital worlds, so they can readily understand and optimise operations at every step of the value chain, from exploration to processing.

Blast From The Past

SHOTPlus™ is a core application embodying the Orica Digital Solutions vision, with operations around the world utilising the technology to optimise blast designs and streamline drill and blast processes. Featuring charging and initiation design tools, optimal visualisation, and blast analysis functionality, the application also facilitates regulatory compliance, improves productivity, and reduces the overall cost of drill and blast operations.

Transformation of blasting practices

SHOTPlus has been at the forefront of revolutionising blasting practices in the mining and quarrying industry.

Its story began in 1989, when Initiating Explosive Systems (IES) Australia Pty LTD released their range of EXEL™ signal tube detonators. Most quarries and mines at the time were using electric delay detonators or detonating cord with dog bone delays. Signal tube systems therefore offered great improvements in terms of timing accuracy, blast control, and misfire prevention. The use of a standard down-the-hole delay, combined with a range of surface delays, now allowed engineers to design larger, more complex blasts.

With the release of conventional initiating systems onto the market, there became a need for a program which allowed engineers to design and analyse their pyrotechnic initiation sequences. SHOTPlan™, an MS-DOS based application, was developed by Mark Irving, and allowed users to position up to 1000 blastholes, applying up to 12 different surface delays to their plan. Once the sequence was designed, users could implement six different calculations for analysis of their design.

Engineers could review the angle of initiation and burden relief of their design, adjusting the sequence as required. They were also able to view the time envelope to assess the number of holes firing in a time window (typically 8 msec.). Timing contours were displayed based off a calculated surface, which allowed engineers to assess if they were achieving evenly spaced and smooth contours in their timing design.

Being able to complete iterations of a pyrotechnic timing design on a computer empowered shotfirers and engineers to quickly assess and evaluate complex designs and obtain solutions to drill and blast problems without the help of domain specialists. SHOTPlan was successful in its initial objectives, and, by 1995, 400 copies of SHOTPlan had been distributed (by floppy disk) in Australia.

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