Blasting is often used in mining as an effective way to clear large areas of material. Bores are drilled and explosives are carefully placed to ensure a safe and predictable blast. When positioning explosives the temperature in the bore is a critical factor to take into account. A higher temperature can make the explosive charge more volatile causing it to detonate sooner.
We designed and prototyped a temperature sensor for an Australian mining company. The temperature sensor was designed to be on the end of a long cable reel and transmit readings using a data bus to a handheld unit. We implemented an opposing dual infrared temperature sensor head to accurately read the temperature of the earth and rock on both sides of the drilled bore as the sensor was reeled deeper down. This data, combined with reel position information maps temperature and depth giving the blast technician the information required to precisely set and position explosive charges.
The sensor head PCB was designed for efficient manufacturing. The IR sensors are snap-off boards – the entire electronics can be processed as a single unit, and broken apart for final assembly.
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