Blasting tech takes center stage at demo day

By |  November 11, 2019

Vulcan Materials’ Don Kraupa, left, with Sauls Seismic’s Jeff Taylor. Photo by Kevin Yanik

Representatives from some of the nation’s top aggregate-producing companies gathered in Franklin, Tennessee, for Technology Demonstration Day, an intimate industry event co-sponsored by Sauls Seismic and Nomis Seismographs.

The invitation-only event, which occurred for the sixth time this year, featured presentations from a number of blasting vendors who detailed their latest technologies and services to producers. Among the vendor companies participating were Dyno Nobel, Nomis, Orica, Respec and Sauls Seismic.

“It’s a data-oriented world these days,” says Jeff Taylor, president of Sauls Seismic. “Blasting is called a strict liability in legal terms, which means if someone comes down [on you] then you’re guilty until proven innocent. So the more data you’ve got to back up what you’re doing, the better. That’s what it’s all about.”

That’s also one of the reasons the blasting vendors continuously come together for Technology Demonstration Day. Another common goal of vendors is to enhance producer efficiency and safety through technology.

“It’s been pretty amazing to see the changes in technologies the last five or 10 years,” Taylor says. “It keeps getting better and helps our industry be safer and more efficient.

“Like electronic detonators – 10 years ago they were barely used,” Taylor adds. “Now, most of the top companies use them at almost all of the sites.”

Top producers with representatives at Technology Demonstration Day included Vulcan Materials, Martin Marietta, CRH, Cemex, Rogers Group and Carmeuse. In addition to presentations, some attendees toured an underground Vulcan facility to see some of the concepts discussed at Technology Demonstration Day in action.

“There’s a statement that blasting is 50 percent art, 50 percent science,” Taylor says. “With all of the new technologies with monitoring and tracking, it’s become a lot more science- and technology-oriented.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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