Already proven as a field expert, in January this year EPC Metrics launched as its own standalone company. Still part of EPC-UK, the development has enabled our team of highly skilled engineers to focus upon delivering value-added, technically enhanced capabilities to customers, designed to achieve safer, digitized operations either as an individual service or as part of EPC-UK’s wider offering.

“Our digitalized expertise now has the capacity to truly accelerate data analysis and quarry and mine management services for customers,” Commercial Manager, Ryan Ward explains. “By applying the very latest ‘Fly, Monitor, Analyse’ processes, we are able to digitally measure, store and analyse data throughout the entire drill and blast procedure.”

Business enhancing consultancy 

We work with integrity, and access and analyse data to provide industry-leading advice, effective management and technical expertise to customers, regardless of a site’s size or application. From establishing operating procedures and meeting environmental compliance to resolving technical problems using analysed data, we can use Metrics’ expertise to effectively consult and achieve customers’ compliance, safety and value-added results within areas including:

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Environmental impact assessments

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Monitoring of vibration

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Regression line modelling

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Blast design

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Blast performance auditing

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Product development & testing

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Safety audits

Progressive technologies

From initial autonomous surveying practices, through to software enabled pre-planning of drill and blast activities, our analysis capabilities are driving increased industry-wide efficiencies. “EPC Metrics is leading the way, by using drone-produced photogrammetry to create accurate 3D site models and importing the information straight into our inhouse blast design software, ‘Expertir’, Ryan says. “This integrated, highly advanced drilling and blasting software package uses multiple streams of data to create complex blast designs and record information after probing holes.”

Expert analysis

“By utilising the KPIs that we record on site, we can monitor and review blast performance and the real effect processes have on a quarrying operation – from the drill and blast, to the load and haul, and the crushing and processing,” Ryan adds. “By collecting relevant data accurately and working with integrity, correct decisions can be made and implemented to deliver desired goals for customers and effectively analyse and consult regarding data to improve future operations.”

Dan Richards, EPC Metrics Explosives Engineer explains more:

EPC Metrics ‘Analyse’ 

“We carry out GPS RTK (Real Time Kinematics) surveys in conjunction with our drone surveillance data and record all drilling information to monitor and record the hole loading process of a blast,” Dan explains. “We also take data from remotely fired electronic detonators, all of which is then fed through digitalized fragmentation analysis tools.”

Recording KPIs 

“The data is inputted into our online ‘ExplOre’ cloud-based database, from where we analyse all the information together in conjunction with data recorded on site. Used together, these Key Performance Indicators can provide us with information such as whether loading times at the face are improving fragmentation, decreases in fuel usage of face excavators or front-end loaders have also enabled improvements, or if crusher throughput and percentage of split materials scalped off at the primary crusher or oversize in the muck pile have increased. Results from all these KPIs help us perform our consultancy service and make the correct decisions for future blast designs.” 

Performance monitoring of a blast

“We use high resolution 4K video camera footage taken by the drone to record the blast. Then, to quantify performance, we use a series of drone produced photographs to create a 3D model. This allows us to import a 3D profile of a muck pile into specialist fragmentation analysis software that can calculate the size distribution present and generate a fragmentation curve, allowing us to work out the percentage of undersize and oversize created by the blast.”

Technical expertise

“All the information we generate can be uploaded to our ExplOre platform from where we fully analyse a range of blasting parameters and the resulting performance. This allows for more efficient decision-making in the future. Digitization is enabling EPC Metrics to realise the possible benefits through our ‘Analyse’ principles, not just to the drill and blast process, but also to the overall quarry operation and its performance.” 

Real results 

GPS navigated smart drill rigs, staggered patterns and auto hole layouts generated by using EPC Metrics’ Expertir software has shown that primary crusher power consumption can be reduced by 0.13 kWh per tonne (850 mWh per annum) with an 11.5% reduction of scalpings – materials that could be retained at the primary crusher. Improvements have also been seen in the product split with fewer scalpings and less oversize.

Developing mill-to-mine studies 

As part of our analysis programme, which involves substantial data gathering from our own team, EPC Metrics is taking a collaborative stakeholder approach in driving advanced mine-to-mill studies. By benefit-sharing partner agreements and applying data from load and haul contractors and individual quarrying operations, we are mapping long term trends. We can adjust blasting parameters where necessary, measure the effects and analyse the results to determine whether a blast has had a positive effect on the overall quarry performance – truly demonstrating the benefits of accurately recording, measuring and analysing all relevant data.

    Drawing on SPIRIT values

    Concluding, Ryan adds: “EPC Metrics’ extensive capabilities have derived from EPC-UK’s technological achievements and drive. So too has its ethos. Influenced by and committed to the encompassing EPC-UK SPIRIT values of Safety, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Innovation and Teamwork, our Metrics analyse and consultancy services demonstrate a team passion for integrity, ensuring competence, and providing enabling data collection with effective interpretation.”

    To find out more about how EPC Metrics can add value to operations, please contact: Ryan Ward on 01773 832253 or email epc-metrics@epc-groupe.co.uk