Using data correctly separates effective companies from competitors, giving them the edge in improving and developing solutions and products that can add value to customers. However, if data is irrelevant, badly presented or left to saturate company processes, it can become a resource drain on a company, says Nicky Klacar, senior programmer at blasting company, BME.
“BME has devised a variety of soft¬ware solutions to streamline the production and application of its data. The benefits gained are passed on to customers through highly specialised services that complement BME’s explosive and detonator products,” says Klacar. “Locally developed software has the edge as developers are able to write high-level customisations for each customer. Relationships are simultaneously built between the development team and the user base. Improved communication is the result, which facilitates the delivery of products for customer use. For BME, this communications loop increases the software developer’s business knowledge and reduces the time required for software specification and design,” explains Klacar, adding that BlastMap, one of BME’s most successful software products, originated in such a manner.
Modifications were made to BlastMap for a customer in Witbank, which dealt with customising reports on vibration and fragmentation and the ability to view and manipulate a plan of the blocks on the mine, before selecting them and adding blast information to them. This was followed by further customisation when another buyer wished to interpret data output from BlastMap to predict the el¬evation below surface of a coal seam and so pre-plan the blast hole depths. From BlastMap, the use of data at BME has expanded to include the development of software solutions used to monitor and report on the development and manufacture of electronic detonators, as well as calculate and refine explosive formulations.
Accurate data management and subsequent analysis is a pre-requisite in providing a quality output – in this case, a cutting-edge electronic detonator or highly effective explosive formulation.
“The geometry of blast design has a major impact on blast performance. BME recognised this, and re-designed the cast algorithm initially used in BlastMap. This eventually led to more effective blast designs and ultimately to the release of AxxiSoft in 2011,” reveals Klacar.
AxxiSoft addresses the weaknesses of Blast¬Map and other algorithms by allowing multi pie nodes, and introducing a burden response time to replace the chevron angle required in the old cast algorithm. The burden response can be changed along both the x- and y-axes, allowing the user to create a cast angle that is not symmetric around the direction axis.
“This made it easy for the design of blasts with more than one initiation point. It also integrated virtual row with the cast module without having to group holes before applying timing,” explains Klacar. Since the introduction of Blast Map in 1998, BME has seen its offerings grow to a suite of nine products, she adds.
Development has also resulted in internal process benefits, says Klacar. “BME’s Axxis detonators are now monitored during each stage of manufacture to ensure a high level of accuracy and reliability.” BME has also invested in rugged touchscreen mobile device development, allowing an upgrade from the Psion – a handheld device that was used in conjunction with DeltaDets – to a much more versatile user interface for the Axxis Logger.
“BlastMap, DensDepth and BME’s other technical programs have been continually upgraded and improved in terms of software technology and add-ins. AxxiSoft, BME’s blast design code for electronic detonator blasts, is rapidly becoming more and more flexible and powerful. BlastMap remains BME’s stalwart ‘general purpose’ blast design code.”
This article was originally published in the March 2012 issue of Inside Mining