Orica and Epiroc collaborate to launch Avatel explosives delivery system

Orica and Epiroc have successfully developed Avatel, a first-of-its-kind, industry-driven semi-automated explosives delivery system, one year after announcing their collaboration in November 2019. The Avatel prototype which is undergoing trials is expected to be commercially ready by the end of 2021.

 Avatel at Epiroc’s factory in Örebro, Sweden

Avatel at Epiroc’s factory in Örebro, Sweden

The innovative charging solution, enabled by Orica's WebGen wireless initiating system technology, addresses the final step in the underground development cycle yet to benefit substantially from mechanisation and automation. Today, physical wired connections remain a necessary part of underground development charging, introducing extended exposure times to workers in one of the highest risk work areas in an underground mine.

The highly anticipated introduction of Avatel will bring a step-change in safety by eliminating the need for wired connections and subsequent exposure to crews at the face. Instead, the entire charging cycle can be completed by a single operator from within the safety of an enclosed cabin, several metres from the face.

Avatel will deliver significant efficiencies and improvements in productivity to customers in the underground mining segment by enabling continued, safe access in poor or seismic ground conditions to accelerate the development cycle while reducing costly and time-consuming temporary face support systems put in place to manage exposure under traditional charging methods.