Prototype design and volume blog
Typically charge up crews use an emulsion hose in one of two sizes. Development uses a hose with a 1/2" BSP nozzle, and Operations (stoping) for uses a 3/4" BSP nozzle. Our 64mm and 89mm prototypes fit both, as does the 102mm production version.
For those charging with Anfo, we are able to provide a poly pipe with either of the above nozzles on it. Typically we supply 6m, but we are able to vary the length to suit. In most instances the plug only needs to be placed in the collar of the hole, but of course it should be far enough in to be past the broken ground at the immediate collar.
On 3D printing... This allows us to trial and refine the design, getting the size correct for instance so the plugs will fit both resharpened and new bits, will fit both nozzle sizes, and will fit double primed nonel or electronic charges. However, the printing process is slow taking some 7 hours for an 89mm plug. We supply these to mines for testing at a subsidised price, a price that we think that would apply once they are in production by injection moulding. However, in the medium term, this comes at some cost to our business since the subsidised price does not fully cover materials, labour, and machine time to 3D print them.
Moulds are expensive, and require final designs since they can not be easily modified. We need volumes in the thousands or tens of thousands to get the critical mass to justify a mould in each size.
The quicker we can get to volume demand from underground mining companies then the faster we can move to injection moulding. So if you haven't trialed the plugs before, and you drill upholes or full rings, or slashing shots from time to time, get in touch and see what the benefits can be for your operation !
We are also available to work with larger organisations to customise or fast track solutions. The mould cost is high for a small business, but for larger companies that want to lead the industry it's not that much and there is scope for technical personnel to get involved and author a paper on use and effectiveness. Work with us to make this step change for the industry.
64mm Pineapple stemming plugs
64mm Pineapple stemming plugs are also being printed for site trials and ongoing operational requirements. One client uses them in a soft orebody with Isonol to help peel off the ore cleanly. Another is using them at 1400m vertical depth to precondition the decline face, that is push the stress window out so that personnel working at or near the face are not exposed directly to high stress ground. Feedback from both is excellent, we now just need the numbers to justify a mould. If you are drilling 64mm, get in touch for trials !
89mm Pineapple stemming plugs
The 89mm Pineapple stemming plug is being printed for site trials. This is a 7 hour print followed by assembly, with the aim of injection moulding these by the end of the year. Get in touch if you want to be part of the trials or are looking for the production version.
46mm Development stemming Pineapples
We are currently in pre-production with 3D printed development stemming plugs now available for testing. Testing will provide feedback on usability and will assist the final design. These will be ideal for stripping, and may allow separation of ore from waste in development headings - the benefit of which will far outweigh the cost for those mines developing ore drives in narrow ore bodies.
Please get in touch if this is of interest and we will make some available to you for testing.
Bleeding Bit virtual reality
Have a look at our new sister business Bleeding Bit for virtual reality in mining.
102mm Pineapple stemming plugs now available !
The first production plugs have just arrived. Some are going out to initial orders, but there are still some left. Contact Us for details.
First trial of our 102mm mould
We've just had the first photos of our new product arrive, with injection moulding taking place in Sydney, Australia. Good for Australian manufacturing and good for the global underground mining industry. Production numbers available shortly.
See us at the Underground Operators Conference in 2020 cancelled due to Covid, 2021
We'll be exhibiting our new range of production and development stemming plugs at the AusIMM Underground Operators Conference in Perth, March 2020. Details of the conference is here and the growing list of exhibitors here. We look forward to seeing you there.
February 2019 - 46mm development stemming
Our R&D program continues. We are now 3D printing a development stemming plug for 46mm development blast holes. These will be perfect for shot holes and easers in development rounds to ensure the full length of the round, and ideal for stripping. Expressions of interest for field testing welcome.
The mouldflow analysis on the 102mm plug is now complete and mould manufacture is underway.
We have now engaged a mould maker and manufacturer for production of the Pineapple stemming plugs.
After a considerable amount of in house design effort in the design for manufacture stage, we are now progressing to injection moulding with the 102mm Pineapple stemming plug. We are pleased to say we have some Australian based partners that will assist with flow modelling, mould making, and to carry out the injection moulding.
Thanks to those mines that have already expressed an interest in what we are doing. Please continue to contact us if you have not yet, it allows us to assess the level of interest for each size.
The final products are looking to be injection moulded from 30% glass filled nylon, which is extremely strong and tough, and should be ideal for the task. However, we will have the freedom to go with other materials should it be required, such as for a lower cost solution where the stemming task is not quite so onerous.
We now have some vacancies for field trials for those mines that have an interest in stemming upholes. Please contact us if you would like to assist in commercialising this revolutionary product.
We have 76mm, 89mm and 102mm plugs in limited numbers ready for field trials.
We are currently prototyping a range of uphole stemming plugs for underground hardrock mining.
The design is the result of significant research and development, including design for manufacture so that they can be made cost effectively.
Prototypes are being field trialed so we can implement any necessary design changes prior to full scale manufacturing.
In the interim, we are preparing a limited number of plugs available for purchase prior to full production. Please contact us if this is of interest to your mine site.