As the demand to optimise overall site performance within quarrying operations continues to gather pace on a global level, the team here at EPC-UK has further developed its suite of safe, proven and effective crushing technologies accordingly to help meet growing requirements.

We’re renowned market leaders within the digitalized crushing field and have succeeded in providing operations with skilled product and system understanding by taking a collaborative customer approach. Explaining the technologies, principles and benefits of our digitalized route to crushing optimisation, Commercial Manager Ryan Ward and Explosives Engineer Dr. Liam Bermingham together detail the EPC Metrics team approach to improving crushing technologies using methods that are becoming increasingly pertinent to the industry’s wider, ‘future ready’ development.

Taking a progressive route

“A truly effective quarrying operation is reliant on advanced crushing technology to enhance its overall site performance,” Ryan explains, “however, to optimise ‘crushing’, progressive ‘blasting’ techniques have become essential.

“At EPC-UK, our Metrics team has positioned itself at the sector’s forefront in terms of developing and delivering targeted blast fragmentation using DYNAMIC fragmentation analysis – enabled by utilising drone survey modelling of post-blast results.

“We are fragmentation and blast performance specialists,” he continues, “and prioritise the need to look at projects in their site-wide capacity. We also introduce systems that become increasingly important further downstream, such as STATIC fragmentation tools for use at the crusher house as dumpers load in, or along the conveyer system at the pre-primary crusher stage.

“To achieve improved ‘crushing’ operations, we apply technologies – including those from WIPFRAG and Motion Metrics – that are capable of providing the STATIC systems required.”

An automated image based granulometry system that uses digital analysis of rock photographs and video images, WIPFRAG is a quick and accurate software solution designed to provide the size distribution measurements essential to managing fragmented rock. 

The EPC Metrics team can use the software solution to provide particle size analysis for shovels, conveyor belts and haul trucks in a portable format that neither interrupts production nor requires reference scaling objects.

“By utilising both STATIC and DYNAMIC crushing and fragmentation measurement tools, we can realise totally accurate data on the performance of blasting and crushing, and subsequently deliver customers ‘valuable and desired end-products’ in terms of sizing in the most cost effective way,” Ryan adds.

EPC Metrics’ research and testing of commercial and technological systems has been truly enabling and has realised significant and positive differences in terms of performance and results. Our team believes in the transparent benefits of working in partnership with customers, providing a ‘knowledge lead’ service made exemplary through the competence of our company’s highly experienced engineers.

“By collaborating with quarry operators, we together extract the information from both STATIC & DYNAMIC tools to produce and help users understand real trend performance and data,” Ryan explains. “Analysed collectively, the data improves blasting fragmentation the ‘Digital Quarrying Way’, supporting downstream performance, whilst saving money and improving productivity.”

With Digital Quarrying techniques now leading the way in advanced operational practice, our EPC Metrics team has realised its goal of developing a safer, more effective quarry through advanced digital means. From autonomous surveying to pre-planning of drill and blast activities and developments in operational software, the digital way is already succeeding in driving increased efficiencies across the entire industry and is providing significant benefit to crushing operations worldwide. 

“Our cutting edge and safety-focussed digital quarrying evolution combines the use of drone sourced information with critical software application analysis,” Dr. Liam Bermingham explains. “Combined, the technologies enable total measurement accuracy and provide both performance data analysis and recordings to benefit all elements of the quarrying operation.

“From the drill and blast to the load and haul, followed by the crushing and screening process, our digitalized technologies are safely equipping quarrying teams with recordable KPIs that can be monitored and reviewed – noticeably improving blast performance and delivering quantifiable results.”

Recording KPIs 

By analysing data in conjunction with KPIs recorded throughout various stages of the quarrying process, operators can make the correct decisions for future blast designs:

  • All key information is inputted into our online cloud-based database, ‘Explore’, from where engineers and quarry operatives can look at and analyse all data elements together.
  • The consolidated information helps improve fragmentation and betters loading times at the face.
  • Decreases in fuel usage of face excavators or front-end loaders indicate an improvement in fragmentation.
  • Increases in crusher throughput and the percentage of split materials scalped off at the primary crusher or oversize in the muck pile also indicate improvement.

“Expertly applying technical knowledge where it can benefit most, our EPC Metrics engineers use drone surveys and fragmentation analysis as part of their wider DYNAMIC tool capabilities,” Ryan notes. “This activity is further supported using systems such as the WIPFRAG and Motion Metrics tools, to create an overall ‘Mine to Mill’ crushing/fragmentation picture. By realising a total solution that can be linked back to the EPC-UK ‘Explore’ software system for analysis, we’re providing customers’ with both real-time and trend data, and the capacity to realise future positive changes.

“Used in conjunction, the technologies we’re successfully progressing are delivering improved crushing results, cost benefits, effective collaborations and heightened safety as they affirm our company’s operational SPIRIT core values of Safety, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork,” Ryan explains. He adds; “By ensuring that technological advancements support our existing expertise, we can continue to develop productive, safe quarrying environments as we strengthen relationships and confirm our market leading position as an industry innovator, transparent partner and proven safety ambassador.