Impeccable approach to drill and blast operations

Hummingbird Electronics is a master of instrumentation when accuracy is needed, committing no slip ups or bad angles when inclinometers are used for drill and blast activities.

Many components work together to achieve the full, intended goal of a drill and blast operation.

With unwavering precision key to the impact of drill and blast activities, the sales of Hummingbird inclinometers are “going through the roof”.

This momentum is indiscriminate to the slowdown of activity fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hummingbird’s industrial range of inclinometers and angle detection are applicable to mining activities.

Australian made in the Hummingbird design facility in New South Wales and produced at its Adelaide advanced electronics manufacturing facility, the inclinometers help ensure that a drill rig has been positioned correctly.

They were first designed for heavy machinery working on slopes and uneven surfaces, without the intention of being used in a drill and blast operation.

Their practicality has extended to drill and blast operations, thanks to a proven ability to data log pitch, roll, GPS location, speed and time to internal memory off the back of an incline sensor. Its display can be positioned at an optional angle for operator visibility, while allowing for accurate angle measurement.

The inclinometers have evolved from a black and grey display to today’s full-colour version, with icons of machinery such as an excavator or dozer providing greater personalisation.

Operators can also place a sensor on the drill mast and another on the body to display both angles at the same time. This is particularly relevant when an operator needs to be on absolute flat ground and drill on a slope.

The ball bubble, too, helps operators get to a level platform by adjusting the ball to the middle.

Operators will hear warnings when reaching a critical angle, as well as having the knowledge that they are drilling at the most precise angle required.

“If they drill into the ground at horrible angles, the blast might not go as planned. That is how critical our inclinometers are to a drill and blast operation,” Hummingbird mining and industrial sales manager Scott Montgomery tells Australian Mining.

“A majority of drill operators are pretty good at what they do today, but the inclinometer gives that extra level of efficiency.”

The inclinometer is further applicable to a drill shaft. It helps ensure all forward, back, left and right angles are 100 per cent correct so an operator can drill in a perfectly vertical or horizontal position.

GPS speed detection and display are complemented with an accelerometer that can identify machine vibration as part of detection whether a slow moving machinery is on or moving in a drill and blast operation.

“Hundreds of mine sites are using our inclinometers, not only for their drill rigs but also for their trucks, dozers, excavators – there’s a wide application for this product,” Montgomery says.

“The inclinometers are getting a lot of take up in many places. Our sales are going through the roof and we’re combatting COVID-19 supply issues with the increasing demand.”

The versatile inclinometers can apply to any mining equipment that operates on a slope and therefore attracts a safety hazard. Combined with Hummingbird’s audio alert system, it can emit warnings in a human voice instead of a standard buzzer in the cabin.

In the event an alert is made, that time is data logged with a GPS location, time and date stamp.

This information becomes critical to a safety analysis, post-accident investigation or upon developing the mine site.

“The number of accidental rollovers that have happened on mine sites are identified as a critical area of safety for any machinery,” Montgomery, who has 30 years’ experience in the electrical industry, says.

“We work very hard to make sure that this device, as well as many of our other devices protect the operator as well as the machinery.”

Hummingbird has proven its ability to keep up with the sector’s increasing move to autonomous mining by custom designing its outputs to meet customer needs.

Technology and occupational health and safety have increasingly become a focus during Montgomery’s extensive career.

“Everyone is looking for improved efficiency, reliability and machinery and worker protection. Devices such as inclinometers bring all of those together,” he concludes.

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