I never planned to work in drill and blast.
I went to school to become a Civil Engineer (Go University of New Hampshire! and the Granite state!). While studying a friend of mine shared a job opportunity with me at Maine Drilling and Blasting. I got the job and my foot in the door. Maine Drilling and Blasting is a drilling and blasting contractor on the East Coast and New England.
Immediately, I was immersed in the industry. They put me to work as a field engineer supporting the shot crews by flying a drone and using photogrammetry software. When I started there were very few drone pilots and we were a small team covering a large area. Flying the drone was one of my first trained tasks and responsibilities. I was responsible for providing the crews and contractors with profiling and survey information regarding burden and quantity reports.
My favorite projects were those where I got to work on remote wind farms, technical blasting within feet of inhabited structures, and large quarry shots that needed big team effort to pull off.
One of the tools I was most impressed with was Borehole probes. This is a common technology used in quarry operations, giving blasters real time face burden measurements by lowering a probe with sensors down a borehole before loading it. The importance of this information, not just for effective blasts, but also for safety, was just mind blowing.
Before long I was working on a diverse portfolio of construction projects and quarry sites. As my role and experience grew, so too did the software we were using- Strayos. As Strayos and its software developed, the benefits of profiling faces, surveying job sites and designing drill & blast plans became a standard practice for my own operations transitioning to Quarry Blaster. Several years of flying a drone to provide critical operational reports, led to a smooth transition to using the information I used to provide to individuals. Moving from traditional methods of laying out shots with a pole and tape, I was able to adopt digital drill plans that could be laid out with assurance that burdens were more accurately measured.
I really enjoyed flying the drone- it was able to collect a large amount of information in a fraction of the time that a ground survey crew would take. On top of that, Strayos has built a cloud platform that allows individuals to carry out several tasks at once, creating a workflow that saves critical time in a busy operational schedule. From sharing information with drillers, including the 3D profiles and drill plans, showing cut depths and drill angles in areas of rough to extreme terrain to GPS integration and volumetric measurements. Strayos served many needs on the user level, clearly translating to the field. Having this efficient workflow on one platform created an opportunity to show drillers & blasters, contractors, and customers the scope of the work being done. It also paved the way to show what could now be done with a drone to address their issues and provide appropriate solutions.
Using technology to help others see the benefit of time savings and risk mitigation in their operations soon became my mission.
I saw a great potential to optimize operations on not only a personal level, but also on a large scale. I believe there is always room for improvement, especially in the mining industry. Collecting data to analyze in a timely manner will have direct effects on the bottom line, while also improving safety and measuring the uncontrollable factors.
In a job environment where time is your greatest asset, blasters need to constantly be aware of their surroundings and what they are putting into the ground. There are many controllable factors blasters have influence on, like explosives products, patterns and hole sizes, however the greatest uncontrollable factor will always be the geology they work in. Understanding where seams and voids may be from drill logs, visual face inspections pre-blast, and loading according to a desired powder factor are all standards of practice. Now, with accurate 3D face profiles along with digital drill & blast plans, prediction models can show outcomes only to be measured and adjusted to achieve mine to mill optimization, and the perfect ton.
All the field work helped me understand how critical the drilling and blasting industry is to the construction process and providing the materials our communities need.
I chose to join Strayos because I saw a unique opportunity within the industry to grow a platform that I saw huge potential in. I want to share the technology that helped me in my own work. Joining Strayos is letting me see the mining industry on a global basis and how the drilling and blasting industry is applied in so many different ways.
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox