Track & Trace of Explosives
According to the EU-Directive 2008/43/EG
With the adoption of the EU Directive 2008/43/EC it was determined that all commercially used explosive materials must be traceable completely and in electronic form, from the manufacturer to the use and/or consumption. This directive is in force as from the 5th of April 2015 for all firms that handle explosives.
Within the scope of the EU ordinance, the manufacturers of explosive materials are obliged to mark all explosives uniquely by means of a bar code. This labelling enables the respective explosive material to be traced back completely.
The requirements on an EDP-based explosive stock book can be summarised as follows:
- Barcode recording for unique identification of explosives
- Administration of article master data, supplier master data, use master data and receipt master data
- Retrieval and display of the current stock level
- Nominal/actual comparison is always possible
- Proof of use of individual explosives must always be possible
- No retroactive alteration of the stock book possible
- 365/24 Accountability
- 10-Year duration of archive and accountability obligation
For the use of explosive materials, the EU Directive will become effective as of April 2015. From this moment, also the end users are obliged to give complete information about the use and the whereabouts of the explosive materials.
Labelling requirement for end-users
For the implementation of the directive, the user must record every individual article with its unique identification code. This includes the data of the receipt and consumption. For very small bulk, this can also be done in hand writing, however, the use of an electronic database is recommended. The use and whereabouts of each individual article (for example fuse) can later be proved only with these data. If the user uses an electronic database, he can scan the data matrix code that the manufacturer attached to the article and packaging and can book it therewith directly in the database. With this it should be noted that the data matrix code on the carton or case only gives information about the type and quantity of the contents, but does not include the unique codes of the article contained. However, these are necessary for the traceability of the individual articles.
Now to avoid that upon receipt all cases are unpacked completely and all articles must be scanned individually, the manufacturers have agreed on a uniform digital delivery note (commonly known as “XML file from the supplier”). This XML file contains besides all individual positions of the delivery including the unique code as well as the information about which individual article is packed in which carton or case. With the reading-in of the XML file into the database, the scanning of each individual article is avoided. Later, this also simplifies the removal considerably because then complete carton can be taken without having to unpack it and scan the contents individually.
Because according to the EU directive an electronic stock book must be provided for each individual article, it is required that at the latest with the delivery of goods also this XML file is available. Otherwise every individual article of the delivery would have to be scanned by hand because otherwise the requirements of the labelling directive would not be fulfilled and the stock book features a shortfall.
Because the entire system is based on the individual labelling code, it is important that incoming goods inspection is implemented by means of random check. To this end, it suffices if individual cartons or cases are read in with the scanner. On the basis of the data that the system received over the XML file, it can be assessed immediately on the spot whether a case was delivered with an incorrect labelling code.
Dealers frequently act as an interface between the manufacturer and the user. Explosives dealers are often also active as service providers, as they also perform explosives services for a portion of their clientele.
As dealers, they are also subject to similar legal requirements as manufacturers. They can request a unique manufacturer code from the respective authority to produce new packaging units or new products. However, it is important that an item that already has a unique code may not obtain a new one. The unique code may not be changed from production to destruction.
Common practice however is the customer-specific combination of detonator bundles. The required detonators are combined for individual explosives, which then receive a new data matrix code. The same often happens in the field of powders, in which different types of powder are combined in a new package and obtain a new data matrix code.
Dealers, like manufacturers, should deliver their goods with a supplier XML file. This is not a legal requirement but a voluntary service provided by manufacturers and dealers. Without the supplier XML file, traceability can only be properly ensured by investing a disproportionate amount of work.
Manufacturer of explosives
For the manufacturers of explosive materials, the directive has been binding since the 5th of April 2013. That means that all commercially used explosive materials must bear a unique electronically readable labelling. This labelling contains among other things the following information:
- the name of manufacturer,
- the country of manufacture,
- the place of manufacture,
- a unique product code.
In the meantime, a data matrix code is used uniformly by all manufacturers. Many pieces of information can be stored in the code and offers a certain level of error tolerance if a part of the label is no longer readable.
This data matrix code can be read with suitable 2D-hand scanners and the information processed by a Track and Trace software. Besides the above mentioned information, every manufacturer can store even further information in the data matrix code.
The EU directive prescribes that every article must bear a unique and unmistakable labelling.That means that each individual cartridge and every individual fuse must receive a unique identification code.
In order to have a control possibility, whether parts have been removed from a packaging unit, also the packaging units must be marked so that its content is known. This means that through the content of the data matrix code, for example, attached to a carton, the number of fuses in the carton is evident. The data matrix code however does not give information about the unique identification code of the fuses contained.