Epiroc, Orica co-create semi-autonomous explosives system

Front impression of Avatel. Image: Orica.

Epiroc and Orica have come together to develop the world’s first semi-automated explosives delivery system, Avatel.

Avatel will provide safer, efficient and more productive development blasting, advantages miners will be able to look forward to as early as 2021.

The solution will give operators access to execute the development cycle from within the cab, reducing reliance on conventional controls and removing workers from one of the highest risk areas of underground mines.

Based on Epiroc’s Boomer M2 carrier, Avatel uses Orica’s latest explosives technology for a twin boom semi-autonomous development charging solution.

This allows for a single operator to complete the entire charging cycle.

Orica’s WebGen automation technology provides a fully autonomous wireless initiation system and is combined with its LOADPlus smart control system for complete and repeatable control of blast energy.

Avatel’s feed design builds on Epiroc’s design experience and is adapted to match the conditions this new solution will face.

Other key advantages of Avatel include flexibility through Epiroc’s dual diesel/electric plug in power solution and flexibility to ensure the right explosives will be safely delivered into the right holes to achieve optimal efficiency.

“With this partnership, we continue to raise the safety bar by combining world leading technologies that will make a difference in underground mines,” Epiroc president, underground division Sami Niiranen said.

“The Avatel prototype represents the first step towards autonomous charing, a vital step in the journey towards safer and more productive blasting operations underground.”

Epiroc and Orica will start trialling Avatel during 2021 before making the first systems commercially available to enter service.

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