Explosives manufacturer and distributor AEL Mining Services launched what it claims is its most advanced electronic initiating system, the intelliShot, in December.
The electronic initiating system is designed to work in partnership with the company’s DetNet technology.
“The current economic climate leaves no room for error in mining and companies are unwilling to compromise on safety, expecting the most state-of-the-art and cost-effective solutions,” says AEL’s global portfolio manager Dirk van Soelen.
“AEL’s extensive experience and expertise are what sets us apart as industry leaders in innovation“, bringing electronic blasting technology to Africa.”
A subsidiary of chemicals corporation AECI Group – a participating sponsor of the 2017 Investing in African Mining Indaba – AEL has developed the intelliShot system with a view to innovating and modernising mining practices. By bringing technology and innovation into the mining landscape, AEL says it can help its customers achieve superior and cost-effective blasting results.
The initiating system is equipped with unique features that simplify blasting and guarantee users the best results every time. Designed to accommodate different blasting complexities, intelliShot can either be adjusted to work with a ‘tag by plan’ deployment methodology for advanced and complex blasting, or a ‘time-assignment’ option for noncomplex blasts.
The intelliShot Detonator
The fully programmable intelliShot 4G detonator builds on the safety principles of the DigiShot and DigiShot Plus ranges. Its key feature is the ability to write a delay time into the detonator’s memory during tagging from the hand-held CE4 tagger. Allegedly, the best of its kind in the mining industry, the CE4 tagger has the capability to wirelessly control the intelliShot commander to tag and test up to 300 detonators per line.
The detonator also has a redesigned application-specific integrated circuit with 15 times more memory capacity. It is able to store and track critical information such as delay times and unique ID information, GPS coordinates and the times and dates of tagging and blasting activities.
“This is an unprecedented benchmark in blasting,” Van Soelen says, adding that the tagger is inherently safe and allows users to troubleshoot the bench before leaving.
The intelliShot Commander
The system is completed with the intelliShot commander – a safe, robust, usercentric, multifunction device that can be used as a remote unit controlled from the bench, a repeater or a base station. Automatic detonator detection and continuous testing mean that less user interaction is required, providing seven times faster programming than existing systems.
The intelliShot commander is wirelessly controlled from the CE4 tagger and monitors the energy stored in the last detonator right up to the point of blasting. This allows the intelliShot system to easily blast through dense levels of leakage.
“Through our innovative solutions, we aim to play a role in modernising the mining industry on a global scale. Our products offer our clients technology that will save them time and money, while offering a modern solution that is on a par with global best practice,“ Van Soelen comments.
Portable Charging Unit
December also saw the launch of AEL’s latest addition to a series of underground bulk delivery system products, the PCU011 portable charging unit.
Designed with narrow-reef mining spaces in mind, AEL has developed a charging unit that is easily deployable in confined spaces. By developing a more compact charging unit for its clients, AEL is able to help save time and keep operational costs low.
The PCU011 was designed with ease of use foremost in mind, boasting manoeuvrability in confined spaces and allowing users to concisely measure how much emulsion is charged. The unit is specifically engineered to effectively pump AEL’s range of bulk explosives products in conjunction with relevant sensitisers. Its robust and lightweight design is made to fit into narrow working spaces where heavy equipment is difficult to operate and transport. The pump is also operational in low compressed air pressure environments, which are typically located in narrow-reef stopes.
The pump is suitable for the application of emulsion explosives in short, small-diameter holes of any inclination and eliminates the requirement for a primer in short-blast holes.
To guarantee accurate dispensing, the PCU011 comes fitted with a trigger that dispenses at a fixed rate of 240 g per pump stroke. Quality control is carried out prior to, and periodically during, charging by checking the density of the sensitised emulsion produced by the pump.
“The expertise of AEL’s research and development team . . . allowed [the company] to develop this simple and cost-effective solution, which presents a way forward for navigating narrow-reef mining complexities,” Van Soelen concludes.