The need for innovative support tools has never been more necessary than in these challenging times caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Access to Mines has been restricted and this required suppliers to think out of the box.
For the last decade, AECI Mining has been at the forefront of innovation with its Electronic Initiation Systems. (EIS) Fortunately, digital systems allow for data capture, which gives the user blasting intelligence which would not be possible with analogue systems. AECI’s DigiShot blaster has the ability to store data of up to 100 blasts and in this case has proven to be a game changer.
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A client operating in West Africa was experiencing difficulties with initiating an electronic blast. Needless to say that this resulted in costly delays and much frustration. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, AECI’s electronic initiation support team could not travel to the customer site as it would traditionally do.
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This is where innovative digital systems came to the fore. AECI Mining’s LogShot was employed to extract data from the detonator units in question. Sebotse Nkoana, Electronic Technician at AECI’s Head Office in South Africa and part of the electronic initiation support team, talked the Customer through the process via a phone call. She then accessed the extracted data remotely and proceeded to analyse functionality, user actions as well as error messages.
Through the interpretation of the extracted data, it was discovered that the blast initiation difficulties may have been a result of high voltage cables and heavy electrical machinery that was recently introduced close to the blasting area. These installations had the same effect as installing a high powered RF transmitter in close proximity to the harness wire, which would obviously interfere with electronic data transmission. The client confirmed the finding after conducting an investigation along the lines of the suggested root cause of the problem.
Through ViewShot and LogShot, customers are equipped with pre- and post-blast tools that enables blasting functionality and accuracy. The software duo enables improved blast planning and reconciliation processes, ultimately making blasting the science that it is supposed to be.
Benefits to the customer are numerous. The obvious benefit is getting effective support on the electronic detonators remotely, but blast delays are costly and therefore it was more important to limit any further delays. More benefits, like the effective tracking of the blast execution process and identification of learning gaps, systematically allows us to eradicate time consuming processes during blast preparation.
While our Engineers prefer to have face-to-face interactions with customers and get out onto the bench, the option of employing AECI Mining’s digital platforms for remote customer consultation is a crucial advancement in Customer support. It enables a new era for miners and allows AECI Mining to effectively support its Global customer network through software systems and related digital platforms.