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MAXAM Foundation - MAXAM Chair - Blasting solutions - Using drones to optimize blasting operations

Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) represent an unprecedented advance in the application of traditional surveying and engineering technologies and in sectors such as mining.

One of the many functions of this new technology can be found in topography and planning of mining activity, most notably when designing, charging and evaluating blasting operations.
The combination of unmanned vehicles and 3D photogrammetry allows high-precision profiling of the blasting area, in order to make accurate evaluations of vital aspects such as safety.

Using drones in blasting services has a range of benefits:

  • Improved operational safety, as there is no need to deploy personnel to the active part of the mine in order to obtain specific data.
  • Enhanced quality results, since the sensors fitted in the drones provide very precise, high-quality data and images from angles which are not accessible from the ground.
  • Improvements in productivity, by reducing the time and personnel required to take data and images.

Services performed with drones

Blasting involves controlling a large amount of information in order to ensure optimal design of the explosive's energy distribution. This requires a series of checks before and during the charging process and after blasting, which is where drones can be highly useful..

Before blasting
Topography and cartography: Generate orthomosaic and digital terrain models faster than with conventional topography. Safety of personnel is significantly improved, especially when implementing models in areas which are unstable or difficult to access.

Bench geometry: Obtain high-precision 3D geometric models of the blast bench. The models obtained allow geomechanical analysis of the bench which is compatible with RIOBLAST software, thus ensuring optimal blasting design based on actual conditions.

Positioning blastholes: Actual position can be determined precisely without the need for conventional topography. The information obtained by the drone is used to update the RIOBLAST model and optimize the blasting design, while allowing better prediction of both results and any possible collateral effects such as vibrations and projected material. Safety inspections: Help reduce the time and risks of the safety zone inspections carried out before and after blasting, inspecting a larger area without the deployment of personnel. Overhead views allow better recognition of the terrain, avoiding blind spots.


Bench blast modelling with RIOBLAST software

During blasting

High-speed photos and video:MAXAM's drones allow for capturing high resolution images and film high-speed video from angles that would be impossible on land, with the added bonus of having the operator located in a safe area. It is therefore possible to analyse blast behaviour and material flow, along with any incidents during detonation.

Gas measurement: Real-time measurement of the gases generated in the blast (CO, NO and NO2) guarantees safety conditions in the bench and a faster return to work, without the need to send anybody to control the area beforehand.

After blating

Bench volume measurement: Measuring bench volumes before and after blasting provides quick, direct information to effectively secure the area.

Blasted material pile volume measurement: Accurate calculation of blasted material pile and ore stockpile volumes. The work can be carried out without interrupting the charging process and without the need to send personnel to the area.

Fragmentation analysis: The images obtained with drones are optimal for semi-automatic analysis of the fragmentation obtained in the different blasting areas, without the need for scale references. Accurate results can be achieved more quickly and without the need to deploy personnel to the bench. Be sure to contact MAXAM if you would like to add value to your mining project through the use of drones.


Blast safety áreas.

Blasting Solutions. April 2018





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Last update 2019.10.23
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