maxit Baustoffe GmbH
Ein Erfahrungsbericht zu Track & Trace von Explosivstoffen
Since mid-2013, the companies maxit Baustoffwerke GmbH, J. Bergmann Kalkwerk Azendorf and the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg have been working intensively together on the EU labelling directive for the marking and tracing of explosives. The first practical application has now taken place in April 2014.
It began in mid-2013 with the search for a suitable software solution. The requirements defined by the legislator could no longer be met manually in the traditional way via a stock ledger in paper form.
Definition of common requirements
An IT solution had to be found that would meet the requirements of both open-cast mining and mining operations. In joint meetings the following catalogue of requirements for the electronic stock ledger and the necessary hardware was defined:
- Compliance with the EU Labelling Directive
- Internet connection not necessary
- It is easy to use
- Clear and easy to read interface
- Low training effort
- Suitable hardware for use in explosives storage and handling detonators
- Highest possible data protection
Furthermore, the solution should integrate into the workflow in such a way that no additional work steps are necessary, e.g. at the end of the day by reworking the data collected during the day (e.g. by synchronising the devices).
“For quite a while, we had been looking intensively at the market for a solution, but had not found anything suitable,” says Anke Adler, IT manager of maxit Baustoffe GmbH. This gave rise to the idea of entering into a development partnership with the company Ontaris GmbH & Co KG from Wuppertal, with whom we have been working together very successfully for a long time. The aim was to develop a solution that would meet the previously defined requirements and to jointly analyse the work processes in detail, starting with the order, through delivery, storage and consumption. The devices to be used were selected and tested together and the program interface was defined. The result was a programme that works on a robust 9″ Tablet PC with a handy scanner connected via Bluetooth.
Dialogue with the authorities
As the monitoring of the implementation of the Labelling Directive is the responsibility of the individual Land authorities, early direct contact was important. “We have a very good relationship with our responsible supervisory authority and discussed the implementation with them at an early stage,” says Wolfram Lisker, Head of Mining at maxit Baustoffwerke GmbH.
The first practical test
At the beginning of April the time had come. For the first time the explosives delivery was to be received and accounted for with the new system. The XML file from the supplier, which contains all IDs for the entire delivery, was sent by email the day before. The next day, when the explosives delivery took place, it was used for the electronic receipt of goods and for carrying out the spot check.
“It was a very exciting moment to work with the system for the first time. Everything we had thought about before now had to prove itself in practice,” says Wolfram Lisker. But before the time came, the first hurdle was already open. The XML file from the manufacturer could not be loaded with the software. The structure did not yet comply with the FEEM standard. During the analysis of the file by the Ontaris team, the cause could be found quickly and was corrected so that the goods acceptance could be carried out the next morning after all.
Direct dialogue with the manufacturer
“Until then, the producers were in a situation where they could generate the XML files, but had no buyer for them yet. It was therefore not surprising that there were still a few things to be corrected,” summarises Martin Schüßler, managing director of Ontaris. Thanks to the direct communication between the Ontaris developers and the responsible developers of the manufacturers, the errors could be corrected quickly and unbureaucratically, so that future deliveries can be booked without problems with the electronic stock book.
Handling hardware and software
“Before the development of the software was started, we sat down with a number of friendly companies and jointly considered which devices would disturb us the least when working in the quarry. We had all the devices in our hands once and then decided together on the solution with a small hand-held scanner,” summarises Wolfram Lisker. “In the first practical test this was positively confirmed.”
The tablet PC could be placed on a stack of boxes during work and the hand scanner quickly disappeared into your pocket when you needed both hands. Furthermore, the entire software can be operated with the finger. No mouse or other additional tools are necessary.
Authentication by ID card
An important question that had to be clarified with the representatives of the authorities was how to deal with the electronic stock ledger and the legal requirement for the type of record keeping. There is no longer any need for a derogation for electronic records. For the authentication of the warehouse manager, a PIN code is sufficient, which protects access to the software from unauthorised access.
For the issue, it was decided to use a badge that every employee authorised to blast is issued with. When the warehouse manager hands out the explosives to another authorised blasting officer, the latter shows his blasting pass. A data matrix code is applied to this badge, which is read by a hand scanner and thus clearly identifies the authorised blasting personnel.
This is automatically noted in the explosives stock book and can be verified in a subsequent check. This means that the signature of the user is not required.
The Stock Book
The concept used, which is based on a self-sufficient tablet PC, automatically meets the official requirements that every movement in the explosives warehouse is immediately and fully automatically written into the stock ledger. It is therefore not necessary to complete the stock ledger at the end of the day on the PC in the operations office.
“The first practice run has been very reassuring,” says Wolfram Lisker. “It was clear that it still hangs a little bit at one point or another, but that’s just the finishing touches now.” The feared extreme additional workload caused by the implementation of the Labelling Directive did not materialise. On the contrary: when recording the data with our new system, we can save a considerable amount of time compared to the previous manual keeping of the stock ledger.
Ms Anke Adler is also very satisfied: “For us it was the right decision to go down this road together with Ontaris. In many joint meetings and workshops, and in cooperation with other companies, a simple, clear system was created that fully complies with the legal requirements – we are ready for April 1, 2015!