X-Drill, the invention to collect measurement while drilling data and to provide rock-characterization, Innovation of the Year at MAXAM

    • X-Drill is an in-house cost-effective monitoring system able to collect the information of any drilling machine and to provide a rock mass characterization through the X-Rock model, under a fully integration of the data into the cloud-based platform MAXAM Blast Center and MAXAM’s blast design software RIOBLAST.

    • The innovation is a part of the X-Energy modular offering based on the application of selective energy and digitalization of blasting services to achieve measurable TCO optimization.


MAXAM, a leading global company in blasting solutions for mining and civil works, has announced today the winner of the 27th edition of its Santa Barbara Innovation Awards, in a virtual ceremony. The X-Drill project, developed by the Advanced Applied Solutions team, brings new possibilities of blasting optimization through a well-defined rock mass characterization based on a cost-effective measurement while drilling (MWD) monitoring system alternative that leaves behind the complexity of data interpretation in operations.

The Santa Barbara Innovation Awards, a hallmark of the company for more than 27 years is addressed to the 6,000 MAXAM professionals worldwide, and to all levels of the organization.

According to Vicente Huélamo, MAXAM Chief Technology Officer,, “The purpose of the awards is to identify the seeds of new products and solutions that can generate a differential value for the company and its customers. This year the winning project, based on the measurement while drilling technology, covers a specific need from mining operations and provides important advances in the field of selective energy application as per rock characteristics and the digitization of data for downstream impact tracking and optimization.”

X-Drill innovation to optimize blasting results

The award-winning solution this year is based on the need raised by the operations to provide an alternative to the extra cost and difficulties in the installation of traditional drill monitoring systems provided by drill manufacturers. This development allows to collect Measurement While Drilling data (MWD) in production operation for any drilling machine.

The MWD data collected can be automatically transferred into MAXAM BLAST CENTER Cloud- based platform and RIOBLAST, enabling the full digitalization of the blasting services. The rock characterization is carried out through the X-Rock model, a new mathematical model implemented in RIOBLAST that is customized and calibrated for each mine and drill, and that automatically process the logged data to define a Rock Factor, as combination of the structural condition and the geomechanical properties of the rock.

The X-Drill then enables the possibility to control both drill monitoring and rock characterization. This, combined with the unique technology of RIOFLEX SMART for bulk products, allows to adapt different explosive densities and energies to the rock properties along the hole, with a single matrix and sensitization unit, under a selective energy environment.

This innovation is part of the X-Energy solution, a modular offering that combines new technologies of high performance, charging equipment with adaptive control systems and a set of digital tools for optimized blast design and execution, addressed together in order to optimize the customer’s total cost of ownership.

Impacts of this innovation in the blasting results, together with new simulation tools, will allow improvements in blasting results regarding the rock-fragmentation, rock micro-fissuration, wall stability and dilution.

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