Who is Maurer & Scott?
Maurer & Scott is a blasting services and explosives supplier operating primarily in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. In 2017, Zach Tobias, their technical representative was charged with updating their terrestrial based mapping system to an aerial based one.
Zach is a technical representative to M&S' clients. He provides mine planning & mapping, explosives engineering, stockpile volumetric surveying and 3D photogrammtery services and so was uniquely suited to evaluating the various options available to M&S.
Initially, Zach was only interested in finding the best drone and 3D photogrammetry solution, since there were several companies offering these solutions available at the time, Zach was charged with deciding which was the best for M&S. After testing out several solutions, Zach was told to look into Strayos, an AI company. What he found blew his mind.
Having a Blast with Strayos
"Aerial profiling is hard to mess up, originally we were only looking for 3D photogrammetry software, but we got alot more- a plethora of different features that can be used."
There are a lot of companies out there that do drone surveying and photogrammetry, but in Strayos Zach found so much more- a comprehensive suite of features made just for the drilling, blasting, quarrying, and mining industries.
Strayos is an AI platform, drones are just one of the many tools that Strayos uses to gather data for maximizing the mining, drilling, and blasting industries.
M&S had decided to upgrade their mapping system to a drone based one for two very good reasons- accuracy and efficiency.
Accuracy When It Matters the Most.
"With a drone, you get exactly what the face shows and there aren't any hidden surprises, any sort of razor backs or cavities, that the drone won't pick up and by doing that you are reducing your error for any sort of mistakes"
"When you model with Strayos, with the 3d photogrammetry, it will pick up every crack and crevice. I know with a burden pole you may miss a lot of that and with a 2D laser maybe you can hit all of these points but the drone will take care of that work for you. So why make more effort on yourself when you have the new technology that's coming out that's making your life more efficient. You're being more productive and your reducing any sort of error risk that could happen on your behalf."
Nothing Gets in the Way- Increasing Efficiency with Flexibility
1. Drones Can Image Where Lasers Can't
Drones are able to map in many situations where a terrestrial scanner can't. One time Zach recounts, there was a conveyor belt very near a bench they were planning to shoot. While the base of the conveyor belt was roughly 100 feet away from the bench the top was so near, he said, "it looked like you could touch it" The drone was able to get in between the conveyor belt and map the face while the terrestrial scanner was unable to get a sufficient line of sight to map the bench.
2. No Interference with Work
Zach loves that using drones with Strayos he can do his work without interfering in site operations and conversely, site operations don't interfere with him doing his job. Drones fly above it all- including muckpiles that are being cleared- aloowing profiling shot planning and drilling to begin long before a 2D scanner would be able to get in to begin profiling.
"With the Drone you dont have to worry about any sort of equipment or quarry operations getting in the way of you doing your job as a blaster or technical representative unlike a 2dlaser, autoscanning laser or terrestrial 3d system."
3. Easy Collaboration
The other benefit that blew Zach away was the ease and convenience of the cloud- based software.
"Cloud based software was a vast improvement- before we needed a mobile workstation and I had to meet up with each blaster to confer. Now everybody just logs into the M&S domain to access, share, and download the data." "If I'm in New York I can communicate with a blaster anywhere and we can still communicate on specific models. I'm not localized to the hardware or to a specific laptop or desktop. This is great because there have been times I've collaborated with blasters in different locations and discussing blasts for specific benches."
4. Mapping Multiple Benches
Being able to map multiple benches at once saves Zach alot of down time- letting him use his time in the field much more efficiently.
"With Strayos you can model multiple benches or multiple profiles at once. Ive done at a single quarry, if i have multiple benches that are ready, I can go through setup those benches to be profiled, and as long as theres no material in front or the quarry operators have set up the face to be ready for me I can go up fly all those, have my sets of photo for each particular bench, upload all those photos to Strayos' cloud based system and they will both process at the same time once they are done uploading. Whereas in the past, if I had multiple models I would have to wait for one model to finish then go onto the next one, then go onto the next one which just reduces my effectiveness of being out in the field and reduces my productivity."
The unexpected benefit Zach discovered in Strayos was their dedication to their customer's happiness. "Their customer service is a big thing- they are easy to get ahold of and very responsive" Zach has Strayos' CEO's personal cell phone number and he happily recounted how Strayos is always eager to improve their product or implement new features based on their customers request and recommendations.
Zach's Favorite Tools
As a blasting services company M&S was most interested in Strayos' drill and blast related features. Zach has found his workflow has improved significantly by using a multitude of Strayos features including: Photogrammetry, 3D bench modeling, Shot plan layout with Front Row Burden Calculation,
"I have a blaster that shoots a quarry that crushes 4.5 million tons of rock a year- using this, he can do a 3D profile for every shot and keep up with production- much faster than using a laser."
After mapping the bench and creating the 3D model, creating the shot plan "layouts are a really quick and easy process with very precise results. I can calculate my burdens then export the drill plan, and the best part is every hole you put in the Strayos model gets geotagged. This allows you to find the hole locations later- for example if you have a hole in the center of a big shot that you were unable to load or didn't go off exactly and now you end up with a toe- now you can warn your loader-operator of potential nasty toes so they can be careful when digging."
Zach found the shot planning tool to be invaluable for collaboration with team members. "Strayos gives the inclination of the hole, the delta difference in height, and when you establish your floor you can give a clear report to the driller so they know where and how deep to put the hole rather than a messy report from a blaster."
"Another tool I've used has really changed how quickly I can establish a layout and design a shot. With the tool you can put in a set of parameters, like your optimal burden that you want to shoot, your minimum burden, neglection of stemming, maximum inclination and Strayos will adapt the bearing, the direction, inclination and distance towards or away from the crest to establish the burden you are comfortable with or have previously designated."
Zach feels the blast volume estimation is a little thing but very convenient. "By doing a shot layout you don't have to do any free hand work- it does the math for you."
"See the parameters you put in for the given bench or rock that you're shooting at a specific quarry such as the density, tensil strength of the rock, powder factor, and others you can see the shape of how the rock will move and how it ends up as a muckpile after the shot goes off you can re-fly the muckpile and use an AI comparison tool to see how close it was to the pre-blast prediction to the post blast to see exactly how it comes out. I've used the tool and it works really great and its really impressive to see how accurate it is."
For that extra confidence before a blast, Zach appreciates that Strayos also incorporates boretrack data into its model. After the "shot has already been profiled and drilled. I will come back at a later date and boretrack all the face holes and implement that data into my 3D model and we can instill confidence into the blaster knowing that there are no real mishaps that could possibly happen and we know that the face is exactly what I said it is with also the boretrack data we adapt to any hole deviation and any over drilling or under drilling."
What Does Zach Want Everyone to Know about Working with Strayos?
"The design parameters and how you lay out shots in Strayos is very easy. Even if you have people that are maybe not that technologically sound. Its still easy enough to pick up and it works very effectively so there's really nothing to worry about in that sense."
"If your boss is happy or your own company is happy with using Strayos and the productivity we've been able to push forward and it makes our customers happy because we've been able to do things we would not have otherwise been able to do. Strayos helps make you efficient, keeps productivity up, and overall makes the workflow much smoother. With that being said its a win-win situation. "
What's your story going to be?
The drill and blast industry is changing rapidly. It can be overwhelming. But those who can adapt gain huge competitive advantages. Innovation will empower operations to maximize productivity, efficiency, safety, compliance, and so much more.
What new AI feature do you think would best empower the drill and blast industry?
More from Zach Tobias:
Accuracy When it Matters Most
How Maurer & Scott increased production 10x for their client
How Maurer & Scott Helped their Client Prevent a Fly Rock Disaster using Strayos
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