Customer application 5 January 2021
Reliably Open Even under Critical Loads

Tunnel construction depends on state-of-the-art machines and devices. Demostene + Partner AG developed the new controller in the mixed load system “Module de Repompage et de Sensibilisation d’Emulsion (Morse)” for the “Société Suisse des Explosifs (SSE)” from concept to installation. This technical marvel is controlled by the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750, which, with the new XTR expansion, excels even under extreme conditions.

The Lötschberg tunnel of the BLS railway opened 100 years ago. After the groundbreaking on October 15, 1906, countless miners risked their life daily in the dark and dusty tunnel. Muggy 32 °C temperatures were the norm within the mountain, and the booming noise of the drills and the subsequent explosions took their toll on health. Haggard bodies, illnesses and often early deaths: Work under extreme conditions was no picnic a century ago. The situation was quite different in 2014. Today, state-of-the-art machines drive the tunnel construction. However, one thing has stayed the same: Tunnel construction still makes extreme demands on workers, machines and electronic devices– in the form of vibration, dust, dirt, heat and dirty electricity grids – often for years at a time. These circumstances are especially hard on machines controlled by state-of-the-art electronics.

Operation under Extreme Conditions – Here’s How WAGO Supports You:

  • The WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 meets the highest demands on quality and functionality.

  • The XTR version is temperature-resistant from −40 °C to +70 °C and vibration-proof up to 5g and features high immunity to impulse voltages according to EN 60870-2-1.

  • Thus the system withstands even the most demanding conditions and can be expanded thanks to its modular design.

Designed for Extreme Environments

One of the machines is the Morse (mixed load vehicle) used by SSE. At a first glance, it looks clunky; however, appearances deceive. This metal container is used to generate explosives – based on state-of-the-art technology and a precise mixture. Using a compressor, two to five kilograms of it will on average be filled into the 3 to 4.5 meter deep drill hole. The explosives mixture is then paired with the detonator, which is located in the front of the drill hole. WAGO Contact SA in Domdidier supplied all of the control electronics for the Morse (mixed load vehicle). WAGO developed the new WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 XTR for extreme applications. And this system is powerful: Temperatures from a chilly −40 °C up to a scorching +70 °C have no effect on it. Dr. Maurice Delaloye, the technical director of the SSE Group, has the following to say about it: “People’s lives are at stake in what we do. Therefore, quality, reliability and safety are our main concerns. We must be able to rely on our partners.” Morses (mixed load vehicles) are used throughout Europe in underground construction. SEE is responsible for the machines, as well as training the miners on site. Only operators who have passed a test are permitted to operate the machines. “We make no compromises when the safety of the miners is at stake,” emphasizes Dr. Maurice Delaloye.

High Demands on the Controller

The electrical engineering firm of Demostene + Partner AG in Brig, Switzerland handled the technical design of the new controller for the Morse (mixed load vehicle); the control cabinet was constructed by Alpiq In Tec West AG. Marco Demostene, a member of the group management board explains: “The task was challenging for us. The controller had to withstand the high temperatures, humidity and shock loads in underground construction.” And that’s not all. Marco Demostene continues: “The controller had to fulfill criteria such as ease of use, short cycle times, accuracy, recipe control and four-language selection through the visualization for the blaster.” Why was the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750 XTR selected? Marco Demostene explains: “For 14 years, we successfully partnered with WAGO in the process systems and building automation segments. After a detailed needs analysis, it was clear that we should cooperate with WAGO.” And like the machines themselves, this is a partnership that literally withstands the toughest requirements.


Temperature-resistance from −40 °C to +70 °C, immunity to impulse voltages and immunity to interference up to 5 kV, vibration-proofness up to acceleration of 5g and continuous shock resistance of 25g.

Demostene + Partner AG in Brig has a well-earned reputation thanks to more than 43 years of industry excellence. As a company in the SME (“small and medium-sized enterprises”) category, it addresses the requirements of the client. Demostene + Partner AG is well-known domestically and internationally for electrical planning, building and process automation. The “Société Suisse des Explosifs” – SSE for short – is active in civilian-use explosives, pharmaceutical ingredients and fine chemicals. The company, based in Brig, has grown from a regional explosives manufacturer to an internationally focused multi-segment company. SSE produces explosives and pyrotechnical articles, as well as chemical semi-finished goods and pharmaceutical ingredients.


  • Extreme surrounding air temperatures

  • Immunity to electromagnetic interference and impulse voltages

  • Resistance to vibration and shocks

  • Explosion protection

Author: Gèrard Berset | WAGO

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