ISEE conference a blast for participants

By |  February 8, 2023
Komatsu, Montabert and Tramac had a joint booth at the International Society of Explosive Engineers' Annual Conference on Explosive & Blasting Technique. Photo: P&Q Staff

Komatsu, Montabert and Tramac had a joint booth at the International Society of Explosives Engineers’ Annual Conference on Explosives & Blasting Technique. Photo: P&Q Staff

More than 1,500 attendees were on-hand this week at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio for the four-day International Society of Explosives Engineers’ (ISEE) Annual Conference on Explosives & Blasting Technique.

One hundred-plus exhibitors participated in the event, as well.

Education sessions and workshops were again part of the ISEE event that presented the latest in drilling and blasting equipment and technology. Braden Lusk, president of Dyno Nobel Americas who also serves ISEE as president, was pleased with this year’s turnout.

“We’re happy to see over 1,500 attendees, the technical sessions have gone well, the trade show floor has been pretty busy and most of the vendors seem to be pretty happy with that,” Lusk says. “It feels like we’re getting back to normal. Last year we still had COVID impacts. We had just over 1,300 last year, so attendance is up and we’re hitting all the key metrics for the conference from an ISEE perspective.”

One change from last year’s event was the opening of the exhibit hall a day early – on Saturday – rather than Sunday. This allowed more blasters to spend time in and around the exhibits.

“That’s something that hasn’t happened in the past, and I think it’s good,” Lusk says. “Looking at that from a vendor perspective, it’s good to see the hands-on, physical blasters so they can tell us what they like about our products. You might not always get that if you’re dealing with procurement folks or mine management people. The blasters who are actually handling our products can say: ‘I like this feature or that feature.’ It’s good intel for marketing.”

Lusk and Dyno Nobel weren’t the only ones glad to get their products in front of end users. Greg Dombrowski, technical specialist at R.A. McClure (RAM) Inc., says having the extra time to showcase to blasters paid off.

“Typically, the blasters would have their training (on Saturday), there would be something for them Sunday and then those blasters are going home,” Dombrowski says. “It’s neat that the ISEE has seemed to be more inclusive with the guys who have boots on the ground. Those are the guys [who] all this technology is out there [for]. They’re pushing the button and making the day-to-day decisions on the ground. All this technology is trying to support them.”

Additionally, Dombrowski says having vendors and attendees from around the world makes it easier to work with new and existing customers.

“There are [about] 50 or 55 countries represented at the show this year,” he says. “RAM has customers in a lot of countries, and if you were to fly to all of those countries it’s a lot of expense. [Instead], everyone comes together [here].”

Technology offerings

While not every exhibiting company showcased new equipment or technology, an emphasis was placed on what’s currently available.

WipWare, an Ontario, Canada-based company specializing in photo analysis and image analysis systems and software, focused on its existing technology and how it can benefit operations.

“We hope to introduce people to the latest in technology,” says Thomas Palangio, owner and president of WipWare. “Image analysis has been around for quite a few years. Thirty years ago, it was a lot more difficult that it was today. Today, with neural networks and deep learning, we’ve eliminated all of the manual editing and all of the grunt stuff. Our goal is to make people aware of the technology and how good it can be for them.”

Having attended the annual convention for more than 30 years, Palangio was pleased with the excitement surrounding the 2023 event.

“It’s good to see things finally starting to open up,” he says. “From the people I’ve talked to, everybody is feeling the same sigh of relief that things will get back to normal. There is a lot to get caught up on. The technology is changing really quickly, and there are a lot of innovations and labor-saving devices that I’m seeing coming out on the market.”

According to Dombrowski, RAM’s presence at the show was centered around problem-solving capabilities. The Ohio-based company offers a variety of educational and technical services relating to explosives and blasting.

“Everything that RAM offers is [centered around] problem solving,” Dombrowski says. “Our group has a lot of experience in different fields of explosives. We come in and provide technical assistance to customers to help them out with problems.”

As Lusk describes, the ISEE convention continues to be a good resource for learning, training and development, as well as customer interaction for vendors.

“If you’ve got young engineers or blasting professionals, there is no greater place to get that education,” he says. “If you’re coming to do that, it gives an opportunity for customers to interact with companies like Dyno [Nobel] and understand what our offering looks like while they’re getting some training and education.”

Avatar photo

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or

Comments are closed