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BME unpacks the benefits behind its new-generation electronic detonator

BME's AXXIS Titanium system

BME's AXXIS Titanium system

19th January 2022

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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Mining explosives and blasting technology supplier BME has unpacked the benefits of its latest and most advanced electronic blast detonation system called AXXIS Titanium.

The company hails this system as a significant advance for both the company and the country, as it improves South Africa’s competitiveness in the blasting space.

“The release of AXXIS Titanium has raised the bar globally for the electronic detonator market,” says MD Ralf Hennecke.

He adds that this flagship product reflects the company’s continued focus on digital advancement of mines, and is designed to seamlessly integrate with BME’s software systems and hand-held digital tools.

Technology advancement has become particularly accelerated since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with rapid developments in modernisation, automation and digitalisation, Hennecke notes.

In keeping with these global developments and to remain competitive, BME’s technology is focused on process optimisation, which also advances environmental, social and governance prerogatives.

Hennecke says the AXXIS Titanium system is safer, more flexible and more accurate than its predecessors.

Particularly, with it operating more accurately, it ensures less fragmented blasting and, thereby, a reduced environmental impact, since it saves on mining cycles having to handle more material.

Additionally, more accurate blasting has the effect of less vibration, which is better for surrounding communities.

The manufacturing of the system supports local supply chains, since it is a South African designed and made product. 

AXXIS Titanium improves safety levels and manufacturing quality through enhanced communication with the detonator during manufacturing to avoid defects.

Performance is raised through the increased blast duration per detonator, more units per blasting box and precise firing accuracy.

“The robustness of the wire, the easy-to-use interface and the improved integration will improve efficiency in terms of time, data and reporting,” notes product manager Tinus Brits.

BME puts safety at the heart of its products, particularly the AXXIS Titanium system – it incorporates a Swiss-designed integrated circuit chip in the detonator, which affords the system more safety gates against stray currents and lightning and allows for safer logging and testing.

“A unique innovation is our use of dual capacitors and dual voltage, allowing us to conduct low-voltage logging to avoid any chance of detonation,” Brits points out.

Blasts are initiated by a robust, encrypted blast command, ensuring that detonators all receive their respective commands and fire as planned. He emphasises that the detonator will only react if it receives the correct, encrypted firing sequence from the blasting equipment, not from any other source.

“We have developed AXXIS Titanium to be resistant to electromagnetic pulses caused by the blast, which can affect the accuracy of detonators or even cause them to fail.”

Brits explains that underground blasting – within confined spaces – makes detonators particularly susceptible to re-setting and misfiring owing to voltages from electromagnetic pulses, as well as from dynamic pressures.

Moreover, the application-specific integrated circuit chip boasts more memory and a faster processing speed, facilitating easier timing and centralised programming if the timing needs to be changed after being conducted on the bench. It also achieves lower power consumption with the incorporation of dual capacitors – so more detonators can be initiated per blast.

The system can now manage 1 000 detonators per blasting box, doubling the capability of the previous generation.

Brits adds that 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.

The AXXIS systems have been proven in some of the largest mining blasts on record, giving mines the choice of conducting fewer blasts and thereby reducing downtime owing to pit closures.

BME product support manager Hennie du Preez notes in a press statement that the ease of use and on-bench logging are among the key benefits of AXXIS Titanium.

“Everything is built into the logger, which can now do the programming, scanning and testing,” he says.

“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.”


The accuracy of the detonation delays has been further fine-tuned with the AXXIS Titanium, reaching a 0.02% firing accuracy for consistent and quality blasting that results in better rock fragmentation and consistency.

Du Preez highlights the positive impact this has on the efficiency of key mine measurables like loading rates and crusher throughput. This, in turn, helps mines improve their carbon footprints as they pursue increasingly vital sustainability targets.

In this way, BME’s technology innovation is closely aligned with its parent company Omnia Group’s ongoing focus on sustainability, which prioritises zero harm and positive impact to build a better future.


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.

The system is already being taken up in BME’s Southern African market and it will soon be rolled out across the rest of Africa.

Further afield, Australia is also an important market for this AXXIS upgrade, especially owing to the complexity of its coal seams and methods – such as through-seam blasting, says Du Preez. 

The system is already certified in Australia, Asia-Pacific and the US, and the necessary regulatory processes are under way to certify AXXIS Titanium in Canada and the rest of the company’s global territories.

For customers with smaller mining operations, quarries, construction and demolition, there is also a slimmed-down version of this system in the form of AXXIS Silver, for applications that do not require such large blast capability.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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