Alberto Calderon, Managing Director & CEO
Toyota City, Japan, home of the car manufacturing giant, Toyota, had low-lying areas that were prone to floods during heavy rainfall. The construction company Kajima Corporation was contracted to excavate the 1.86km Anei river tunnel to increase the city’s drainage capacity. The presence of hard granite rock made it extremely arduous for mechanical excavation; using pre-programmed detonators for blasting remained the only feasible solution. With time, Kajima received numerous complaints from local residents because of the blasting activities. As reducing the blast effect was expensive, the administrators and decision makers of the city and Kajima were finding it hard to address the complaints.
Kajima approached Orica, a reputed name in mining and civil services, for a solution to reduce the vibrations and enable them to stay compliant with the regulations. Orica implemented their eDev II tunnel blasting system equipped with millisecond programmability to provide both flexibility and precision required to achieve challenging blast outcomes. Combined with Orica's SHOTPLUS T Blast Design software for design, modeling, and vibration analysis, Kajima could customize their blast sequence to suit the local residents' perceptions of low vibrations. Orica’s competent team helped Kajima fire Japan’s first-ever Multi Deck Tunnel Blast to achieve an astounding 4.0m round with a MIC, a rare feat difficult to achieve through conventional blasting techniques. In the words of Sueyoshi, the Deputy Project Manager, Kajima Corporation, "Ultimately, eDev II and the Multi-Deck blasting technique enabled fewer blasts, and subsequently, our overall efficiency and rate of advance increased." And this is just another day at work for Orica.
"One of orica’s competitive advantages is our long-standing commitment to innovation and technology"
Today, Orica is helping numerous organizations across the globe in solving their unique operational challenges. Founded in 1874, the East Melbourne, Australia-based company is the world's largest supplier of chemical explosives to the mining and manufacturing markets. A specialist provider of ground support services in tunneling and mining, as well as a popular name in supplying sodium cyanide for gold extraction, Orica, has a rich portfolio of services. With a diverse workforce of around 11,500 employees and contractors, the company has been operating in 100 countries across the world. From surface mining to underground mining, quarrying, and construction, Orica's mining solutions cater to all the pieces to the blasting puzzle.
Operating in regions such as Australia/ Pacific and Indonesia, North America, Latin America, and Europe, Africa and Asia, Orica manufactures and supplies commercial explosives and blasting systems to the mining and infrastructure markets. Besides, it supplies mining chemicals for gold extraction.
In 2015, Orica restructured its ground support operations under a new team under a new brand. Dubbed Minova, Orica’s subsidiary started to manufacture and supply specialty bolts, accessories, and chemicals for stabilization and ventilation systems in underground mining and civil tunneling works. Its global support division is engaged in the operation of the Botany groundwater treatment plant and non-operating assets.
Throughout its history, Orica has prioritized the development and adoption of innovative technologies that create safer, predictable, and more productive blast outcomes. With robotics, automation, and big data, Orica brings step changes in productivity and safety in the industry. Having evolved consistently with time, the company has strategically positioned itself to transform drill and blast processes with an aim to unlock high mining value for its customers. The company has been implementing these latest technologies to deliver intelligent and automated blasting through a range of solutions. “One of Orica’s competitive advantages is our long-standing commitment to innovation and technology. We believe we are the clear industry leader in providing innovative, value-add products and services with a proven track record in improving customers’ productivity,” Alberto Calderon, Managing Director and CEO of Orica.
Orica's products feature programmable electronic blasting systems along with bulk and packaged explosives and measurement tools. One of Orica's principal offering is the next generation BlastIQ™ Platform, a cloud-based digital solution designed to enable continuous improvement of blasting outcomes by integrating data and insights from digitally connected technologies across the drill and blast process.
From pre-blast modeling to post-blast measurement and analysis, the BlastIQ Platform delivers the data, benchmarks, and insights needed to ensure sustainable, cost-effective improvements in blast performance. It automatically generates standardized visuals of key parameters from blasting data for rapid analysis and insights, both within and across blasts, for new levels of understanding and efficiency measurement. Drill and blast engineers, operators, mining, quarry, and civil engineers can digitally manage drill and blast information and processes. The centralized online platform is used for collection and interpretation of data and insights across the entire blasting process. Advanced user and version control, with tailored workflow management, allows for rapid access to control and audit blast-related data, facilitating better decision making and adherence to compliance. SHOTPlus, Orica’s advanced 3D Blast design, and modeling software allow engineers to design, analyze, and optimize every blast across the surface and underground mining, quarry, and construction applications.
SHOTPlus provides engineers with the right tools and support required to improve productivity, safety, and environmental performance. Orica's BlastIQ Mobile solution enables an accurate and efficient recording of blasthole data. Blast pattern designs can be imported from SHOTPlus or created in real-time during dipping or loading operations. Blasthole parameters such as depth and hole condition are electronically captured on the bench. This enables quality assurance of drilling operations and confirmation of hole status, before initiating loading. The volume of explosives and stemming material loaded is recorded and can also be used to adjust the loading instruction at point-of-load. BlastIQ Mobile can also be utilized for loading instruction provision for non- Orica delivery systems.
The company has enhanced their mobile manufacturing units and delivery systems with the addition of Bulkmaster 7 which not only carries an increased payload but is also a step ahead toward automating drill and blast operations in the days to come. Orica's Bulkmaster 7 is integrated with the BlastIQ enabled smart control system technology that allows the delivery of products in accordance with site requirements. Product data is automatically recorded and sent back to BlastIQ in real-time for reporting and insights. With direct integration and synchronization of data between the office, bench, and delivery system in real-time, the BlastIQ enabled delivery system delivers explosives with precision and efficiency.
Orica has constantly been working to make its products safer, more reliable and efficient to achieve optimal blast results. Over the years, Orica has always kept safety as a top priority. The company has introduced in its arsenal WebGen 100, an innovative Wireless Electronic Blasting System for mining. WebGen 100™ removes the workforce from harm's way and redefines the possibilities for efficiency gains in mine planning. It helps teams in overcoming the constraints imposed by wired connections. The WebGen™ 100 solution includes wireless in-hole primers which are initiated by a firing command that communicates through rock, water, and air. It can fundamentally change the way blasting, and mining is approached–particularly underground. Unlike traditional “wired” systems where a firing command travels from the blast box through harness wire and into the detonator, WebGen™ 100 communicates with the in-hole primer via ultra-low-frequency signals. "It will fundamentally change how our customers think about mine planning. The safety and productivity gains it will deliver for our customers will be significant," says Calderon.
With the goal to be the trusted partner of choice in the industry, Orica invests time to listen to the needs of its customers and finds ways to deliver change that positively impacts them. The company is looking forward to new contracts in the Asia Pacific region. "The outlook in demand for our products and services is strengthening, we are finding new ways to lift returns from our global asset base, and our new technologies and expertise will drive value and lasting returns for shareholders into the future," says Calderon.