Curious about using drones on your worksite?
Start here

Easy-to-Understand Visuals Become the Bridge Between Blasting Contractor and Quarry

| 13.02.2020

We recently visited Orica, a blasting systems and commercial explosives service provider, to ask them how Propeller’s impacted their day to day.

As it turns out, they’re not the only ones benefiting from up-to-date worksite data. Propeller’s 3D site maps have become the bridge between Orica and their customers—helping them maintain total transparency, 100% of the time.

This is the story of their transformation.

The Challenge 

Because Orica’s daily tasks are inherently dangerous, they’re always searching for powerful new tools that reduce opportunity for error. This openness to digitization has helped keep their team of over 11,500 employees safe and vigilant. 

explosion blast on a mining site gif

Union Bridge Plant, a massive quarry producing 70,000 tons of inventory each week, is one of Orica’s more forward-thinking customers.  Lehigh Hanson, a HeidelbergCement Group subsidiary, owns and operates Union Bridge, and they’ve come to recognize that when you’re producing 10,000 tons a day, any micro-improvements to efficiency quickly add up into macro-level savings.

What were the major pain points?

• 2D laser profiles required Orica to be on the quarry floor, dodging equipment and delaying production (unnecessary risk). • Union Bridge only surveyed their site once a year with an airplan cstrongu (infrequent surveys = low visibility into site progress). • Mistakes would drag on for months because no one had up-to-date site data to pinpoint errors. • There was no way to measure or quantify progress.

Everyone was starved for more data—data that could create a safer environment for Orica, and data that could help Lehigh Hanson keep track of their mammoth amount of material movement. 

What Propeller Brought to the Worksite 

Since adopting DJI’s Phantom 4 RTK drone and Propeller’s PPK workflow, Orica’s seen major improvements in their quality of work. Now they’re consistently delivering on and exceeding the results their customers expect. 

Orica's Cara Rosen using the Propeller Platform on a quarry site

When they started leveraging drone technology to up the ante with their takeoff reporting, Union Bridge Plant was eager to reap the benefits. They’ve since become Orica’s  “technological jewel,” managing to embrace and indulge in all the opportunities Propeller brings to the worksite. 

Propeller’s helped Union Bridge go from disjointed yearly site surveys to mapping out their quarry on a monthly basis. They’re getting interactive 3D models of their site each month, and from those maps they can measure stockpiles and track inventory.  

What features is Union Bridge using?

Measurement Tools
Measuring stockpile, pit, and blast volumes in just a few clicks.
DXF Uploads
Upload DXF files to compare progress against blast designs.
Progress to Design
Analyzing cell progress to see what’s done and what’s left.

No more data silos, no more contractor-customer disconnects. Propeller’s helped Orica and Lehigh Hanson integrate their tools and align under one easy-to-understand platform. By centralizing their data,  they’re staying connected to what work’s been done, where they need to go, and how they plan to get there. 

The Lasting Impact   

By going from yearly to monthly surveys, Lehigh Hanson finally has the progress data they need to audit their site regularly. Now, when their quarry walls happen to fall out of alignment, they can correct it within the month, minimizing negative impact and avoiding millions of dollars in losses. 

For Orica, the benefit of Propeller PPK’s is two-fold. It’s taken Orica out of harm’s way for good since their operators no longer have to spend extended periods of time on the active floor, in the way of heavy equipment. But, it’s also armed them with the up-to-date worksite data they need to be more strategic with blast planning. 

Where’s the ROI?

• Orica’s staying out of Lehigh Hanson’s way on the active floor. This means they’re both operating as safely and efficiently as possible at all times. • Union Bridge is auditing their quarry month by month, rather than yearly. Up-to-date data has allowed them to catch mistakes that would have cost them millions of dollars in the past. • Lehigh Hanson and Orica are actively collaborating more than ever. The Propeller Platform is the single source of project data for both teams. • Both teams are u003cstrongu003emeasuring and quantifying progressu after every flyover.

With Orica out of the pit, Lehigh Hanson’s staying active and productive throughout the day. No more pausing operations while Orica collects the data they need to plan blasts. 

blast volume calculations
Calculating bench volumes in the Propeller Platform

On top of the operational side of things, Propeller has also become a competitive advantage for Orica. They’re using Propeller to show customers like Lehigh Hanson that they’re committed to investing in all the market has to offer and dedicated to bringing the best solutions to their customers’ worksites. 

Easy-to-use, easy-to-understand visuals on blast dynamics, site progress, and material movement have become the bridge between contractor and quarry—a newfound transparency that’s empowered everyone at Union Bridge. 

Ready to track progress and minimize rework?

How Drones Can Help Protect Your Workers from the Summer Heat

Heat-related safety doesn’t always gather as much attention as other safety concerns on construction sites, but the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) plans to change that this year. The three-year average of workplace deaths caused by heat has doubled since the early 1990s, marking a growing hazard for millions of workers in the United…

Continue Reading How Drones Can Help Protect Your Workers from the Summer Heat

Two New Propeller Platform Features That Help You Visually Track Site Progress

Managing site work via drone surveying continues to grow among professionals in the earthworks and civil construction industries. Today, it’s not just the tech-savvy, early adopters who are using drone data to better understand how their job sites are progressing. As a result, Propeller is often asked to provide more ways for companies to share…

Continue Reading Two New Propeller Platform Features That Help You Visually Track Site Progress

How DJI’s Phantom 4 RTK Delivers Reliable and Accurate Site Surveys

The Phantom 4 RTK drone, DJI’s first survey-focused UAV, has become a workhorse for the civil construction, aggregates, mining and waste management industries. So, what has made the Phantom 4 RTK popular among site work professionals? The answer: a precise imaging system capture ability that tags images with positional data in real time.  The difference RTK…

Continue Reading How DJI’s Phantom 4 RTK Delivers Reliable and Accurate Site Surveys

Subscribe to The Dirt e-newsletter

Get the latest dirt from Propeller, including industry news, customer stories, webinars, videos, and more.