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Lead-free detonator range safer for environment

A detonator and charge placed on the wall of an opencast mining operation with

EXEL-ENT RESULTS The new Exel Neo range of non-electric detonators are a global first lead-free detonator which offers excellent results

20th October 2023

     

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Commercial explosives and blasting systems developer Orica is taking another step towards its purpose to sustainably capitalise from the Earth’s resources by commercially launching what it claims is the “world’s first” lead-free nonelectric detonator range – Exel Neo.

The company announced last month that it has upgraded its premium Exel range to a safer and more sustainable product by removing lead while maintaining the same consistent and reliable product performance.

Neo is Orica’s new brand for environment-friendly, sustainable initiation system products.

“With our Neo range, we are offering a product that is free of substances of very high concern,” states Orica chief technology officer Angus Melbourne.

Before being placed on the market in Europe, the Neo product range was successfully assessed and approved by the Explosive Notified Body as part of CE-marking certification in the European Union (EU).

The new fully lead-free products do not contain any ‘substances of very high concern’ according to the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals regulation.

The Neo range of Exel nonelectric detonators is produced in Gyttorp, Sweden, with no lead or lead compounds used in the manufacturing process of the pyrotechnic delay compositions.

The Exel nonelectric blasting technology range, manufactured based on the non-primary explosive detonator (NPED) technology, has been successfully used by Orica for the past 30 years.

With the Neo addition, Orica has successfully developed, independently tested and trialled a lead-free alternative that can burn with the same accuracy as its current lead-based delay compositions.

As with the original Exel range, the newly launched Exel Neo range is designed for use in surface and underground mining operations, as well as for civil infrastructure applications.

“Orica’s strategy is to deliver solutions and technology that drive productivity for our customers across the globe,” he says.

He explains that with nearly 150 years of innovation and expertise, Orica continues to solve the industry’s challenges through its offering of the latest lead-free solution, while maintaining the same trusted performance, storage and handling benefits associated with detonators.

Among some of the key benefits, the new product range is manufactured close to Orica’s customer base in Europe and includes distinct safety and environmental benefits, with lead or lead compounds being removed from the production process and thus eliminated from being released into the environment.

“After many years of good cooperation between Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and Orica, I can only congratulate you on the launch of your new product,” says RISE electrification and reliability department engineer Johan Arnell.

Orica group executive and Europe, Middle East and Africa president James Bonnor adds that Orica is taking decisive steps to enable the industry’s transition towards a more sustainable future.

“We have invested in state-of-the-art equipment in Sweden, including assembly machines and control systems, to ensure the high quality of our products,” he says.

“Importantly for our customers, independent external tests on timing accuracy and scatter patterns confirm that this new technology performs with the same reliability,” Bonnor concludes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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