What's the Easiest Way to Get Fragmentation Data From a Photo?


By: Paul Chivers

Question: What's the easiest way to get particle size distribution data on my material from a photograph?

Answer: Why not take the approach many engineers and blast consultants do and leave image analysis to the experts?

Expert services offer the simplest and least time-consuming introduction to fragmentation analysis. You take a series of photographs of your material, upload the images via FTP, and get on with other tasks while you wait for specialists to analyze them.

What could be simpler than that?

To get the best results you need to devise a methodical sampling strategy and refine and standardize your photographic technique. Our 40-page Sampling & Analysis Guide PDF provides a wealth of information on sampling techniques and photography tips to help you capture the best images for your study. It also includes information about our expert service, MailFrag.

MailFrag is set up in such a way that once you've created your account and purchased some image credits, it walks you through the submission process, ensuring that you submit all necessary study details including scaling information, size classes, and special instructions. Within two business days an email will appear in your inbox notifying you to log in to view or download your results. You receive a CSV file that can be viewed in any spreadsheet application, a PDF containing a fragmentation distribution curve for optimal print quality and a BMP image of the graph for easy embedding in documents or presentations.

Now, there's little question the gold standard in particle size analysis technology lies with continuous sampling using an automatic data collection system. Mounting a photo analysis system over a conveyor belt or truck dumping location provides an unbroken stream of data, quantifying particle size and offering process automation capabilities. Adopters have realized huge cost savings by using the data to optimize blasting operations, monitor crusher performance, or fine-tune SAG mill feed. Newcomers to the technology are sometimes wary and may be initially frightened by the costs, despite the rapid return-on-investment buyers typically realize from system purchases.

Some users prefer to ease into the technology, initially subscribing to an expert service or purchasing desktop software to perform their own analysis. Both approaches offer a low-cost introduction to analysis and permit operations to prove out the value data collection can provide.