BME’s new AXXIS Silver aims at small mines and quarries

Ensuring that smaller mines and quarries can leverage the latest generation of its renowned AXXIS digital initiation system, Omnia company BME has recently launched AXXIS Silver.

According to Tinus Brits, BME’s global product manager – AXXIS, the AXXIS Silver offering is a powerful but slimmed-down version of the cutting-edge AXXIS Titanium product. 

“AXXIS Silver embodies the key technological advancements of AXXIS Titanium, while providing a cost-effective option for mines which blast on a smaller scale,” said Brits. “Most importantly, AXXIS Silver gives mines even safer blasting while saving time on blast preparation and initiation.”

The new AXXIS system employs a dual basis of safety – with a dual voltage and dual capacitor configuration. This further reduces the risk of uncommanded firings. BME detonators now contain a Swiss-designed application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip, giving the system more internal safety gates against stray current and lightning. 

“The ASIC chip enhances safety levels and allows for inherently safe logging and testing,” he said. “Blasts are initiated by a robust, encrypted blast command ensuring that detonators all receive their respective commands and fire as planned.”

Bennie van Nieuwenhuizen, BME’s AXXIS quality manager, highlighted that AXXIS Silver also speeds up the blasting process. 

“The logging, testing and programming is done with one unit and requires only one visit to the blast hole,” said Van Nieuwenhuizen. “There are also specific advantages that we have built into AXXIS Silver, such as the thinner wire which we’ve developed to suit small-diameter vertical blastholes.”

The carefully researched copper-cladded steel wire is idea for these applications, as it is able to straighten out even in these small holes. The user can therefore feel exactly where the booster is during the charging process, avoiding the problem of thicker wire that coils against the walls of the hole. This is achieved while still delivering the required strength and durability in the wire, he said, which is supplied in lengths up to 30 meters. In addition to being robust and quick to install, the reduced thickness also translates into a cost-benefit for the customer. 

He emphasized that the value added by the AXXIS Silver initiation system is enhanced by its integration with BME’s Blast Alliance suite of digital tools. “These include our BLASTMAP blast planning software, XPLOLOG data logger and online dashboard, and the Blasting Guide App for Android devices,” he said. “These tools enhance the ability of mines and quarries to design and implement customized blasting solutions with speed, accuracy and safety.”

Brits highlighted that small mining operations and quarries were steadily adopting electronic detonator technology, and AXXIS Silver was well-positioned to cater for this growing market. The accuracy and flexibility of electronically detonated blasts generate better fragmentation, for instance – making downstream processes more efficient. These include energy-intensive phases like loading, hauling, crushing and milling – where quality blasting helps reduce the mine’s overall energy consumption and carbon footprint. 

“We have seen considerable enthusiasm about AXXIS Silver among existing customers who are looking to upgrade from our AXXIS GII system,” he said. “Judging by the requests we have had for on-site testing and demonstrations, the uptake of our new generation of electronic detonation technology looks very positive.”

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