There is no such thing as business as usual when it comes to safety

October 2020

StemSafe pushes the boundaries of stemming and blast technologies by focusing on what matters to their customers 

 

Safety is everything on a mine site, but when leadership teams are flooded with choices, providing a simple solution that meets a range of needs is more difficult than it seems.

Troy Mundy is a Sales Manager at StemSafe, a stemming company that provides end-to-end blast preparation products and services for mines, quarries and construction sites across Australia.

The company was founded by Todd Woolley and Andrew Wheeler who’ve lived and breathed the drill and blast industry as shot firers for more than 20 years.

“Drill and blast practices can vary on site, which is why we took the initiative to provide smarter and safer solutions. 

“StemSafe’s goal is to make the blast preparation process smarter and more efficient,” said Mr Mundy.

Stemming trucks are responsible for delivering aggregate stemming in mining and some civil construction sites. StemSafe trucks are designed to make the delivery process more accurate. 

Once the explosives are detonated, the stemming locks the expanding gases and keeps the forces in the borehole until rock begins to break, making the blast procedure safer and more efficient. 

Working in blast preparation can take a toll on operators because of the amount of dust produced and their exposure to harsh conditions for long periods.

“Removing operators from exposure to silica dust is a big part of what makes our trucks different, which instead keeps them inside an air conditioned cabin during,” Mr Mundy said.

Todd and Andrew started StemSafe with their own fleet of stemming trucks, services and equipment operating from Mackay. 

While working with site supervisors in the Bowen Basin, the duo figured out that suppressing dust while creating blast stems efficiently was a dilemma worth solving both for operators and supervisors. 

With a strong belief their company cannot be successful by accepting what the industry’s currently doing, the StemSafe team decided to take their stemming trucks a step further. 

They found if they could attach a stand-alone water system to one of their trucks, they could not only reduce down-time of stemming trucks, but also provide a water back-up for major equipment breakdown.

The result is a dual-purpose truck that combines stemming with dust suppression and water truck capabilities, slashing costs for site supervisors while increasing safety at blast sites.

“The rear-mounted sprinkler system sprays water on blast patterns and access roads to suppress the dust which can be harmful to blast crews.

“A water cannon is also fitted to the truck to wash down equipment or to fill water injection tanks used by drills, increasing the amount of tools available in one unit and providing a back-up for operators on-site,” Mr Mundy said. 

StemSafe is now expanding into mine sites across New South Wales and Western Australia, but its multi-purpose applications have also opened doors in the construction and quarry industries, positioning the company against Australia’s booming infrastructure sector. 

Troy attributes StemSafe’s success to the team’s drive for new solutions, constantly pushing the boundaries of what their company can do by building a pipeline of new products and services into their business.

In July 2020, StemSafe launched another groundbreaking blast preparation technology called DipSafe that automates blast hole measurements.

DipSafe continues the company’s mission of blast safety by enabling operators to collect data such as hole depths, water and mud content in real time from the safety of their cabin. 

The technology tackles another major problem experienced by mine personnel who have had to measure or prepare a blast pattern by hand.

“This automated measuring unit provides a safer alternative by removing the risk of manual blast hole measurements while improving the consistency and accuracy of data,” Mr Wheeler said.

StemSafe has grown from a stemming truck supplier in the Bowen Basin to a national blast preparation company by continuing to explore new ways to improve the usability of its products.

Although the team at StemSafe have their eyes set on blast and drill sites across Australia, StemSafe’s new product pipeline will continue to drive its growth with a new stemming innovation slated to be announced shortly. 

 
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