Frequently asked questions

Note that all information and content on this website is subject to local law, permits and certifications. Product variations may apply. For availability and regulatory constraints, please read our website disclaimer or contact us for advice.

General
What is Royex?
What is the purpose of Royex?
What are the advantages of Royex?
Is Royex an conventional explosive?
What is the difference between conventional explosives and Royex?
What is the difference between detonation and deflagration?

Application
I am doing conventional blasting today, what benefits would Royex offer me?
What are the benefits of Royex in civil engineering blasting?
What are the benefits of Royex in an aggregate quarry?
What are the benefits of Royex in a dimensional stone quarry?
Can Royex be used to blast tunnels with strict vibration limits?
How effective is Royex in tunnel slyping and development?
Can I control fragmentation with Royex?
What drilling equipment is required with Royex?
What additional accessories do I need to use Royex?
How do I stem Royex efficiently?

Technology
What is the difference between a normal fuse head initiator and the Maxfire?
What are the benefits of the timing offered by the Maxfire system?
Why is the Royex propellant mix an advantage?
How do I mount the Maxfire igniter into a Royex cartridge on site?
What is the efficiency of Royex cartridges?
May I obtain drill pattern and load plans from Royex support staff?

Safety
What ground / rock vibrations are generated by Royex?
Are vibration reports available?
What effect does Royex have on the surrounding environment?
What coverage do I need to use with Royex?
How do I check the tie up to ensure no disconnection?
Will Royex cause fly rock or shrapnel?
Can Royex be used safely underground?
What are the recommended safety distance when using Royex?
Are gas reports available?

Demonstrations, sales and orders
How do I get a quote for a Royex product?
Is it possible to get samples?
Is it possible to get a demonstration at my site?
Is it possible to get advice and help tenders and ongoing projects?
How does the order process work?
How do I contact a local Royex distributor?
I am interested in becoming a local distributor, how does the process work?

Transport and distribution
What permits are required to import Royex?
How is Royex delivered?
What are normal delivery times?

General


What is Royex?


Royex is a innovative rock breaking system consisting of non-detonating cartridges and a unique initiation system. The Royex Gen II deflagrating cartridge is based on a non-detonating propellant mixture encased in a plastic housing. Initiation is achieved via a unique initiation system, the Maxfire igniter. This system is exclusive to the Royex System and is unmatched by any of our competitors, being capable of individual hole timing. It is available as a shock tube or electric initiation system. Igniters are either pre-assembled or assembled on site*.

Upon ignition, the propellant mixture generates a fast expanding gas consisting mainly of nitrogen, steam and carbon dioxide. If properly applied inside a drill hole, the expanding gas will penetrate into natural fissures present in the rock and thereby fragment the rock into the nearest free face.

What is the purpose of Royex?

Royex was developed in response to the increasing need for a safe alternative to conventional explosives. In situations where conditions require delicate handling, conventional explosives may be difficult or impossible to use due to the risk of collateral damage and rock / ground vibrations. The risk of fly rock and blast damage is a persistent problem in excavations and blasting in built up areas or near sensitive infrastructure. Royex offers a solution where the intended result of using explosives can be obtained without the risk of blast damage, fly rock and ground vibration. The Royex System has been comprehensively tested in numerous rock situations and formations and can be tailored to suit almost any challenge.

What are the advantages of Royex?

The benefits of Royex are among others:

General Operations
- Pre-defined sequentially timed blasting patterns are possible via shock tube or electric initiators
- The Modular initiation system allows for customized timings and loading patterns*
- Continuous blasting is possible
- Good fragmentation control
- Greatly increased operational and handling safety
- No explosives are present at work site
- Transportation, storage and general logistical control minimised by the product's 1.4S rating
- Air shipping allows for faster deliveries and relaxes stock requirements
- In EU, P2 classified product, no track and trace management required
Production blasting
and tunnelling
- Proven reduced dilution in fold, platinum and diamond mining
- Continuous mining possibilities
- Oxygen balanced - no noxious gases, rapid re-entry
- Slyping and secondary blasting operations can take place during shift
- Viable alternative for secondary blasting in block caving
- No crush zone around holes after blasting, thereby reducing fines and dust while improving recovery rates
- Improves hanging wall conditions thereby improving safety
- No throw leads to easier and quicker cleaning, less damage to support, no need for blasting barricades in narrow reef mining operations
Quarrying
- Continuous mining possibilities. Optional configurations using the timing initaiton system allow for multiple decking
- Extended pit boundaries due to no vibration, no fly rock and less dust during blasting operations - prolonged pit lifetime
- Reduced fly rock
- High precision breaking for dimensional quarries, less wire sawing or downstream cutting
- Reduced safety distances for machinery and personnel
- No track and trace required
- Complete 1.4S solution - less demanding storage, transport and product

Civil engineering
- 1.4S timing solution and smoother breaking allows for greatly reduced vibration levels and precision blasting close to infrastructure
- Low compromise on traditional drilling patterns
- Timing and simplified design of shock tube connection speeds up preparation of blast
- Less fly rock - significantly lower risk for damage

Is Royex an conventional explosive?


No. Conventional explosives are designed to detonate when initiated. Royex deflagrates and when unconfined is very safe if set-off unintentionally. The Royex Gen II cartridge is classified as a pyrotechnic product of class P2 (in the EU).

Royex conforms to 1.4S UN classification, the same class as fireworks and small arms ammunition. This classification is given to products that do not explode when ignited in their original housing or packaging. This makes Royex a non-explosive by definition for transport and storage. The propellant responsible for the gas expansion in the Royex cartridge burns (or deflagrates) at a velocity related to the cartridge confinement. This means, that if the cartridge is initiated in a poorly confined environment, for instance, in the products initial packaging, the burning velocity is so low that the expanding gasses are unable to cause an explosion. Conventional explosives, with a far faster burn rate, will explode (or detonate) in their original packaging with serious consequences. With these considerations the 1.4S cartridge is radically safer to store and transport.

What are the differences between conventional explosives and Royex?


Conventional explosives explode or detonate in their original state if initiated. This is not the case with Royex. The cartridge will only burn if initiated freely or in its original package. Conventional explosives generate far greater ground and rock vibration than Royex products making them either difficult or impossible to use near sensitive structures and populated areas. Royex Systems generate negligible ground and rock vibration and therefore have no effect on adjacent structures.

The results of rock breaking with Royex are restricted to a small area and tailor made rock breaking can be achieved. Conventional explosives cause largely un-controlled explosions making them a much less sophisticated tool for sensitive operations.

Even without coverage the Royex system causes minimal fly rock which can be completely eliminated with proper coverage. In contrast, conventional explosives can result in dangerously large amounts of fly rock and require far more onerous safety precautions. Drilling and rock breaking can be carried out concurrently because of the clearance distances permitted with Royex Systems. Significantly higher production output is possible with substantial impact on related costs whereas the clearance of personnel and hauling equipment required for conventional explosives occupies a large part of the operational time cycle.

Noise levels using conventional explosives are unhealthy and potentially harmful. Environmental concerns, the proximity of residential areas, places of cultural heritage or particular sensitivity such as schools and hospitals have to be protected. Royex emits very low sound levels and operations are possible with no interference or disturbance to nearby facilities.

What is the difference between detonation and deflagration?


The difference in rock breaking between explosives and propellant-based cartridges is that explosives function by detonation following shock ignition whereas propellants burn steadily at a rate determined by the design pressure of the confining structure. The rate of burning or deflagration of a propellant in a drill hole will typically be in the range 200 – 500 meters per second, compared to the typical burning or detonation rates of explosives in the range of 3000 – 8000 meters per second.

Since the rate of gas emission from either the detonation of explosives or the ignition of propellant, confined in a drill hole, is proportional to the rate of burning, the build up of pressure in the hole is directly related to the burning or detonation rate. At the point in time at which the rock surrounding the drill hole starts to dislodge, the gas contained in the drill hole is released. In the case of explosives, the pressures in the drill hole are so high, due to the rate of detonation of the explosive, that the release of the gases is a violent event that results in a high level of fly rock, shock waves and a high overpressure which produces a destructive concussion effect especially in confined spaces such as are found in underground mines.


Application


I am doing conventional blasting today, what benefits would Royex offer me?


To professional blasters, Royex offers a perfect tool for perimeter blasting, underground and surface secondary blasting. When close to sensitive infrastructure, Royex is an excellent addition to any blasters toolbox. This is especially true in urban environments where conventional explosives cause excessive vibration and noise.

The system attracts fewer regulatory obligations and logistical issues. In EU, no track and trace management is required and being 1.4S the storage and supply chain is much easier to control. The products can be transported by ordinary air cargo and delivery times are normally less than 14 business days to any approved airport. (Therefore it is possible to operate with far reduced product inventory).

What are the benefits of Royex in civil engineering blasting?


Vibration, noise and logistical management is significantly easier in civil engineering blasting when Royex is compared to conventional explosives. The unique Maxfire timing ability ensures efficiency comparable to conventional explosives/initiation in small borehole blasting and bench blasting.

Storage and local transport is simplified by the Royex 1.4S certification and the absence of track and trace requirements eliminate the prolonged lead times associated with conventional explosives.

What are the benefits of Royex in an aggregate quarry?


The Royex cartridge generates minimal fly rock and noise upon initiation. This means that sensitive equipment such as drill rigs, crushers and loaders can remain in situ thereby increasing operational efficiency. The product also extends quarry life length as blasting is possible close to structures like offices, roads and housing. In the EU, no track and trace costs are entailed and furthermore product application training may be done on site within a few days allowing quarries to manage their own blasting without the cost of hiring certified blasting personnel.

What are the benefits of Royex in a dimensional stone quarry?


Apart from all the benefits achieved in aggregate quarries, Royex small dimension cartridges may be used in place of black powder to cut dimensional stone efficiently in straight lines with minimal risk of cracks.

Can Royex be used to blast tunnels with strict vibration limits?


Absolutely. Royex is ideal, particularly in perimeter holes. Coupled with the precise timing offered by the unique Maxfire initiator*, Royex Generation II offers greater functionality, flexibility and efficiency in vibration sensitive tunnel blasting than any other system in the world.

How effective is Royex in tunnel slyping and development?


Royex is effective and safe as no explosives are present and less risk is present during usage and transportation.

No noxious gasses are generated and slyping operations can take place during normal shift work. With 41-45 mm drill holes and hole depths up to 2m, burdens of 60-90 cm can be achieved efficiently and consistently. No fly rock is created so there is no damage to surrounding pipes, cables and ventilation columns. There is no vibration or back break so reduced safety distances are possible for people and machinery. These benefits apply equally in tunnelling and because the whole system is 1.4S - continuous mining operations are realistic. There is no back-break and therefore better hanging wall control therefore less support and shotcrete.

Services such as ventilation can be left closer to the blasting face as no blasting damage occurs. Advance of 1-1,6 meters are possible dependant on drill quality, rock tensile strength and stemming efficiency. With efficient drilling, mucking and clearing multiple blasts per shift are achievable.

Can I control fragmentation with Royex?


Royex is unmatched in its versatility. Fragmentation control is greatly boosted by the ability to co-ordinate timing, drill pattern design, stemming and charge variation. Normal fragmentation is between 300-800 mm.

What drilling equipment is required with Royex?


Depending on the application anything from hand held electrical drills allowing for 20 mm drill holes up to drifter / boom rigs for 41-45 mm holes can be used. Pneumatic or hydraulic drill systems using coned or tampered drill steel with button drill bits are recommended.

What additional accessories do I need to use Royex?


Additional accessories are:

- Drilling equipment
- Shot exploder
- Firing line (shooting cable)
- Resistance meter (to check continuity)
- Stemming material
- Tamping rod
- If required, coverage

How do I stem Royex efficiently?


Stemming is crucial with any deflagrating cartridge. Etken recommends a stemming column 4 times the total length of the cartridge used or longer if possible.

Two types of stemming are recommended: Moist, low grain sand and dry aggregate gravel (0.8 mm, not round). The moist low grain sand (or moist drill chippings) is inserted after the cartridge using approximately two handfuls.

A tamping rod is used to firmly compress this primary stemming after which the dry aggregate gravel is poured. The gravel must be dry and not contain any sand, dust or large rocks.

Wet sand (or moist drill chippings) may also be used if the hole is deep enough and if tamping is done properly, this is however a weaker stemming and will decrease powder factor / efficiency. Wood or plastic wedges may also be used onto the sand. Stemming is a science of its own and results can change drastically with changes in the stemming method.


Technology


What is the difference between a normal fuse head initiator and the Maxfire?


Whereas a standard fuse head burns for microseconds at around 360° the Royex Maxfire initiator burns for millliseconds at over 900°. In other words the propellant mix in the Royex Cartridge is exposed to greater initiation 'heat' by the 'hot' Maxfire initiator and consequently initiation is guaranteed.

What are the benefits of the timing offered by the Maxfire system?


The Maxfire Initiation System is unique and no other product available offers the ability to 'delay or time' individual holes, or sets of holes, in a predetermined sequence so as to achieve co-ordinated blasting in any situation. The correct delay timing helps to achieve better fragmentation of the blasted material and reduces ground vibration, air blast, and fly-rock.

Why is the Royex propellant mix an advantage?


The propellant mix used in the Royex gen 2 has been developed to ensure optimal burn without compromising oxygen balance or density. The base propellant has been carefully selected to ensure the composition achieves optimal burn speeds and gas volumes. The grain and density balance ensures no separation during transport and storage. It also ensures a high reliability and power.

How do I mount the Maxfire igniter into a Royex cartridge on site*?


The mounting is done in three steps;
1) Remove the protection cap if this is fitted onto the igniter plug
2) Using a long, blunt or sharp tool, penetrate the membrane at the bottom of the igniter plug
3) Thread the Maxfire into the igniter well in the igniter plug. Ensure the thread goes to the bottom of the ingiter plug to ensure water sealing.

What is the efficiency of Royex cartridges?


In hard granite, a Royex 100 gram cartridge breaks approximate one cubic meter if in situ (two free faces). If loose boulder, a 15 gram cartridge is enough to break 1 cubic meter. For crusher fragmentation, 50 gram per cubic meter is recommended for boulders. Softer rock such as lime- or sandstone will naturally require smaller cartridges.

May I obtain drill pattern and load plans from Royex support staff?


Yes.


Safety


What ground / rock vibrations are generated by Royex?


Rock vibrations are strongly dependent on charge weight, rock conditions and the proximity of the measuring equipment relative to the blast in question. Tests in granite shows that Royex may generate vibrations up to 68 mm/second at a distance of 1 meter from the vibration detector, for a load weight of 1 kilogram and 8 cubic meters blasted. Below is data from a case study done in Sweden:

Distance to sensor (m)
1
4
10
20
Blast no 1 (mm/s)
67,5
15,4
1,0
0,7
Blast no 2 (mm/s)
66,2
14,2
1,9
1,7
Blast no 3 (mm/s)
54,8
28,7
2,7
0,7
Blast no 4 (mm/s)
59,0
7,1
2,1
0,9






Are vibration reports available?


Yes, case studies and reports from third parties are available upon request.

What effect does Royex have on the surrounding environment?


Normally very little, if proper coverage and stemming is used, a Royex blast usually goes completely un-noticed. Royex has been used successfully where blasting has been done meters from roads and infrastructure.

What coverage do I need to use with Royex?


In sensitive and urban areas, Etken recommends heavy duty coverage mats (tyre mattes) or mucking to cover the blast. For additional safety, thin fibre cloth should be placed over the coverage to restrict small fly rock.

How do I check the tie up to ensure no disconnection?


For electrical tie ups, always use a resistance meter to check the tie up continuity. Ensure that the resistance is the sum of igniter resistances plus resistance for the firing cable. Always do a manual connection check before covering or firing.

Will Royex cause fly rock or shrapnel?


Minimal. If shallow holes with small burdens are loaded excessively, rock throws will occur. Always ensure the proper size cartridge is used relative to the burden, spacing and hole depth. Sufficient coverage must be used where working close to installations such as housing, infrastructure or equipment. The rule is to always apply extra coverage if uncertain.

Can Royex be used safely underground?


Since negligible noxious gases are generated and ground vibration, dust and flyrock is minimised, Royex can safely be operated under ground. Hanging wall and side wall control is optimised and continuous mining operations are possible.

What are the recommended safety distance when using Royex?


30 meters.

Are gas reports available?


Yes, underground gas data reports from third parties are available upon request.


Demonstrations, sales and orders


How do I get a quote for a Royex product?


Please send us an inquiry and let us know what you would like to achieve. We will submit our recommendations and a quotation. Please include shipping address in your request.

Is it possible to get samples?


Yes, however, samples require advance payment. This payment (excluding shipping charges) will be deducted on the next order. We must also ensure that the right permits to import, store and use are in place.

Is it possible to get a demonstration at my site?


Yes, please contact us for more information.

Is it possible to get advice and assistance with tenders and ongoing projects?


Yes, contact us and let us know your situation.

How does the order process work?


The process always start with a communication, verbal or written, to understand your specific need. After this we compile a proposal on product, training, demonstration and shipment depending on client needs. Samples are sent subject to agreement on advance payment terms. If on site demonstrations are needed, this is normally done after samples have been delivered and confirmed to be on site.

How do I contact a local Royex distributor?


Send us an email and we will direct the request to our most suitable distributor.

I am interested in becoming a local distributor, how does the process work?


Please read about the process here


Transportation and distribution


What permits are required to import Royex?


Permits vary from region to region. Normally an import permit is required. Reach out to your local police agency or other relevant authority. You will also likely require a permit to store 1.4S goods. In Europe, a training to use P2 products is also required. Please reach out to us and we will aid in your specific situation.

How is Royex delivered?


Normally via air shipment. If convenient, land transport is also arranged. Transport is done both to an airport where our clients collect the shipment or sent directly to a client site or magazine.

What are normal delivery times?


Via air, normally ten business days. Via road quotes are required.


Note that all information and content on this website is subject to local law, permits and certifications. Product variations may apply. For availability and regulatory constraints, please contact us for advice.
* In the EU region, cartridges are sold with pre-mounted igniters.