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Blasting solutions and alternatives for modern worldwide quarry operations

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe & International
September October 2016
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Sandvik Ranger DX800
Jens Weiß is operating the first fully remote controlled Sandvik Ranger DX800 surface drill rig in Germany
Blasting and blasting-linked software solutions are popular when it comes to winning material in quarries, but drills and large breakers are proving just as attractive alternatives, as Guy Woodford reports.

In order to stay ahead of the competition in a highly competitive market, Jens Weiß recently added to its fleet of surface drilling equipment. The company now operates the first fully remote controlled Sandvik Ranger DX800 in Germany, which is said to have significantly added to the flexibility, safety, efficiency and performance of its drilling operations.

Jens Weiß’s head office is located in Annaberg-Buchholz, Erzgebirge, a mountain region, which due in no small part to being nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is now a major tourist location. The company is a specialist provider of drill and blast services, with a hard-won reputation for excellence in Saxony and beyond. It now services the requirements of many different businesses, with current and recent projects being in the fields of civil engineering, demolition, underground construction, water management, drilling operations for anchoring, as well as the provision of consultancy services. Due to its expertise, the company is able to plan, prepare and execute all facets of often highly complex drill and blast operations.

Playing a key role in Jens Weiß’s success has been the relationship it has formed with Sandvik. This dates back to 1992, and has seen the two companies work successfully on a variety of projects. These included the construction of the Jagtbergtunnel, the fourth largest tunnel in Germany, where 10,000 anchors were installed in 2009 by the company, using three Sandvik drill rigs.

“We tend to concentrate more intensively on our region, in order to avoid high transport charges and to operate in an environmentally compatible way,” says Jens Weiß, the founder and managing director of the company. Therefore, Weiß decided to expand his business activities and to invest in the new radio remote controlled Ranger DX800. “The revolving superstructure was one of the outstanding features and the decision criterion for choosing this Sandvik model,” says Jens. His Ranger DX800 is the first fully radio remote controlled upgraded variant of the series in Germany, enabling it to drill, set-up and tram by remote control. The new Ranger, together with a DC125 and a DQ500, is now operating throughout Erzgebirge, Thuringia and the Czech Republic.
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EPC-UK has launched EPC-Metrics
EPC-UK has launched EPC-Metrics, which provides a dedicated remote monitoring service for blast vibration and air over-pressure measurement
“On site, this surface rig has a large drilling coverage from one position, in excess of 26m², without moving the rig. Further highlights are the environmentally friendly engine technology, the low fuel consumption per drill meter, as well as the new high frequency rock drill,” Jens adds, enthusiastically. Furthermore, the Ranger DX800 is equipped with the Sandvik designed safety features which brings the drill rig into line with EU standard EN 16228.

The new EU standard requires, amongst other things, a new type of protective cage for the drill mount. By developing this new safety cage, Sandvik has eliminated potential sources of danger caused by the moving parts of the drill mount on its surface rigs. Following successful development of the safety concept, all of Sandvik’s drill rigs, including DINO, Pantera, Commando, Leopard, and now Ranger, are designed to meet the new EU safety standard and are equipped with the new cage. This commitment to safety is matched by Jens Weiß, who has been particularly impressed by the rigs full radio remote control, enabling it to be operated from a safe distance when drilling in difficult terrain.

Jens Weiß has now been using the new Ranger DX800 for over six months, and the feedback is said to be excellent, especially concerning the low usage of fuel/metre drilled.

In order to reinforce its position as a market leader in commercial explosives and blasting services in the UK, EPC-UK has unveiled EPC-Metrics, a new entity which will provide a dedicated remote monitoring service for quarry blast vibration and air over-pressure measurement.

The innovative new service, developed in partnership with Datum Monitoring Services, aims to facilitate the immediate access of event data, via state-of-the-art fixed monitoring stations, removing the need to travel to and from a monitoring location and the time consuming manual download of results in the field.

Ideal for both short and long-term projects, these remote monitoring stations can be installed at both internal and external locations around a site, each with its own customisable and remotely settable trigger level. Once triggered, these stations automatically transmit data to a cloud-based server with results being published immediately to a web portal, providing users with instantaneous access to event information. Once the data has been received, the platform is also capable of sending alerts, via customisable texts and emails, to specified recipients.
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Sandvik Ranger DX800
Jens Weiß says its Sandvik Ranger DX800 has significantly added to the flexibility, safety, efficiency and performance of drilling operations
“EPC-UK has successfully provided traditional blast monitoring services for a while, but EPC-Metrics takes this offering to another level,” explains Geoff Adderley, commercial manager for EPC-Metrics.

“A fixed monitoring location provides a consistent point of reference for reliable results, whilst the real-time transmission of data saves our customers both time and resources as they no longer have to download results in the field.”

“The EPC-Metrics web portal also provides instant access to both current and historic events from a monitored location, providing a comprehensive life-cycle view of a particular site,” adds Adderley.

The advanced monitoring stations incorporate a GSM modem for wireless data transmission, together with the option for solar power, enabling the service to be used even in the most isolated of locations.  

“EPC-Metrics offers users a more efficient way of monitoring blast vibration and air over-pressure, aiding the tracking of compliance and providing a greater understanding of site characteristics” concludes Geoff.

EPC-Metrics is supported by EPC-UK’s team of skilled explosives engineers, who can provide detailed analysis of captured data, including site laws and predictive models, as well as the development of innovative blast designs to minimise environmental disturbance.

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