Orica is taking another step towards its purpose to sustainably mobilise the earth’s resources by announcing the commercial release of the world’s first lead-free non-electric detonator range, Exel™ Neo.
Global technology leader and sole manufacturer of non-electric detonators in the Nordics, Orica has upgraded its premium Exel™ product range to a safer and more sustainable product by removing lead while maintaining the same consistent and reliable product performance.
Neo is Orica’s new brand for environmentally friendly, sustainable initiation systems products. The Neo range of Exel™ non-electric detonators is produced using a lead-free formulation in Gyttorp, Sweden, with no lead or lead compounds used in the manufacturing process of the pyrotechnic delay compositions.
In the industry, Exel™ non-electric blasting technology range encompasses safety, innovation and excellence and is built based on the Non Primary Explosives Detonator (NPED) technology, successfully used by Orica for the last 30 years. Same as the original Exel™ range, the newly launched Exel™ Neo range is designed for use in civil infrastructure as well as surface and underground mining operations.
Orica Chief Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne said:
“Orica’s strategy is to deliver solutions and technology that drive productivity for our customers across the globe. With nearly 150 years of innovation and expertise, we continue to solve the industry’s challenges and are proud to offer a lead-free solution today, while maintaining the same trusted performance, storage and handling benefits. With our Neo range, we are offering a product that is free of Substances of Very High Concern.”
Before being placed on the market in Europe, the Neo product range was successfully assessed and approved by the Explosive Notified Body as part of CE-marking certification in the European Union. The new fully lead-free products do not contain any Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) according to the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation. 
Figure 1. Tunnel blasting using Exel™LP range
Among some of the key benefits, the new product range is manufactured close to Orica’s customer base in Europe and includes distinct safety and environmental benefits, with lead or lead compound removed from the production process and thus eliminated from release into environment.
“After many years of good cooperation between RISE and Orica, I can only congratulate you on the launch of your new product,” says Johan Arnell, Engineer from the Department of Electrification and Reliability at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.
Celebrating this milestone, Orica Group Executive and EMEA President, James Bonnor added:
“Orica is taking decisive steps to enable our industry’s transition towards a more sustainable future. We have invested in the state-of-the-art equipment in Sweden, including assembly machines and control systems, to ensure high quality of our products. The Exel™ Neo range is based on our NPED technology that’s been in the European market for 30 years.
Figure 2. Exel™ LP product
“With the Neo addition, we have successfully developed, independently tested and trialled a lead-free alternative that can burn with the same accuracy as our current lead-based delay compositions. Importantly for our customers, independent external tests on timing accuracy and scatter patterns confirm that this new technology performs with the same reliability.
“The full Exel™ Neo range of non-electric detonators is available for order in Europe today.”
More information on Exel™ Neo can be found at www.orica.com/ExelNeo
 Orica does not use lead or lead compounds in its manufacturing or production processes in Sweden and takes steps to seek assurances from its suppliers.
Figure 3 Exel™ Neo World’s first lead-free non-electric detonator range