Enhanced drill intelligence leads to productivity

Impact Drilling Pty Limited is a Melbourne-based quarry and surface mining drilling contractor. It offers a wide range of drilling services from small to intermediate diameter blast holes or presplit blast holes for both large and small quarry enterprises and also specialises in the blasting process. Its clients have included Boral, Hanson, Holcim and a number of smaller quarrying operations.

In addition to performing contract work for quarries in Victoria and South Australia, Impact Drilling has also worked on major infrastructure and freeway projects, including Stage 3 of the Craigieburn by-pass and the Western Highway Realignment Project from Melton to Bacchus Marsh (in conjunction with the John Holland group). Impact Drilling has also supported environmental projects, including the rehabilitation of exhausted quarry sites.

Its latest venture at Holcim?s Oaklands Junction quarry, near Melbourne Airport, marks the debut of the Sandvik DPi ?intelligent? surface top hammer drill rig in Australia. Impact Drilling is employing a DP1100i, along with that machine?s predecessor, a Pantera 1100, in its work at Oaklands Junction. The rock deposits at Oaklands Junction consist primarily of hornsfell and granite, both of which are particularly tough for the average drill rig.

Rodney Krins, the general manager of Impact Drilling, says that as a contractor, his company ?is always looking to offer customers the latest and the best in technology. The DP1100i is a new breed of rig for the future, be it in environmental constraints, ergonomics, productivity, operator comfort or ease of use. It?s important that we can offer strong service and productivity to our customers?.

Impact Drilling already has a fleet of 16 surface drill rigs, comprising the Pantera 1100 and Sandvik?s Ranger 700. Compared to these machines, Rodney says the DP1100i offers ?increased productivity through a better energy delivery system. The drill is fitted with a new CANBUS-controlled drifter that delivers energy down the hole a lot smoother than its predecessor. I believe we?ll get substantially better consumable life due to this improved energy delivery. With an increase in consumable life, the flow on effect is not only savings for our company, but also a reduction in our requirement of natural resources.

?The machine is also easier to maintain and service,? he adds. ?For example, the reconfiguration of the service access doors to the ?gull wing? design offers far greater access from the ground for general servicing.?

The DP1100i is part of Sandvik?s DPi series of ?intelligent? top surface hammer drill rigs that have been in development since 1997 and which were officially launched by Sandvik to the international market two years ago. Along with its smaller DP800i and DP900i and larger DP1500i and DP1524i siblings, the DP1100i is designed for work in medium to large quarries and open mine pits. It is intended for intensive mining and quarrying work up to 24 hours a day and should run unimpeded for up to 30,000 hours before servicing.

Impact Drilling?s DP1100i at Oaklands Junction is equipped with a 89-102mm drill for the hole size, although there is the option to change to other drill sizes, including 115mm, 127mm and 140mm. It is equipped with a HL1060 rock drill of 25 kW and T51 rods and 76mm guide tube for its drill steel. The rig can drill up to a maximum 33 metres in depth (the average depth on other models is around 28m to 30m), although Rodney Krins says that the needs and directions of the quarry determine the drill depth and blast parameters in any given application. ?It depends on the type of rock and the areas available for drill and blast. Certain sites may only drill single benches, possibly between six metres and 18m,? he explained. ?It also depends on the blasting practices. Quarries determine whatever height is suitable and practical for their application.?

As is standard with the DP1100i, Impact Drilling?s machine is armed with a telescopic boom to stretch forwards and upwards and its tramming speed ranges from 1.8 to 3.2 kilometres per hour. It is powered by a 224kW Tier 3 Cat C9 engine and has a fuel tank capacity of 680 litres.

What makes the rig different from its predecessors is the practical intelligence features that Sandvik has designed for the drilling process. A fully equipped DPi series rig is capable of providing its operator with performance data on drilled metres and holes, diesel and percussion hours, the levels of fuel burnt and the condition of the drill, almost within real time. This enables the operator to draw up an accurate work and service schedule for the machine and minimise downtime.

?Another valuable feature of the DPi is that it is set up to have a memory of five different drilling parameters,? adds Rodney Krins. ?Our operator can set up the DP1100i to drill the hornsfells and to also set up for the granite and store the drilling parameters in the drill?s computer. Then if he is away ill, another operator can get straight into the cab and begin operating that programme rather than having to reset the drilling parameters from scratch. The DP1100i can also be set up for one-hole automatics and it also has auto-align angles which configures the machine to the same X-Y angles that the previous operator worked to.?

Another feature that is beneficial to contractors and operators and which Rodney Krins has also found valuable for Impact Drilling is Sandvik?s SanRemo hardware, a data collection module and GPS receiver that is mounted on the chassis of the DP1100i. This gives the contractor access to a web-based reporting service which they can use to compare the performance of their rig with means data compiled by Sandvik of other working DPi series rigs globally.

?Customers with the SanRemo system installed are able to connect through a secure log-in system to see the productivity of their machines,? explains Greg Paxton, Sandvik?s Australian sales and marketing manager of capital equipment in construction. SanRemo also keeps an operator informed about the movements of their DPi series drill rig. Thanks to GPS tracking, an operator can plan for transportation and supervision of their machine and advise service technicians of the machine?s location, in particular at which job site it will be for maintenance. The GPS also guards against theft.

Greg Paxton says that safety is one of the most important features about the DP1100i for the operator. ?The operators are working in restricted access areas,? he reasons, ?therefore, the machines need to be safe and highly productive. Quarry operators need to have peace of mind while the unit is on site. There is a constant evolution of Sandvik?s drill rig and safety is the foremost consideration for development of this and all Sandvik products.?

A key safety feature of the DPi series is a self-diagnostic system. Each rig features a five-level system that includes main operations function monitoring and warning and alarm systems for faults, eg if the drill impacts, the warning and alarm system will notify the operator immediately. The self-diagnostic system also enables the operator or a mechanic to troubleshoot more complicated faults by excluding functioning circuits one by one.

Rodney Krins agrees that safety and operator comfort are paramount. He also believes his operators are ?more accepting of the new technology the DP1100i offers because the Pantera provided the evolution to a number of control systems in the new machine?. Some of the new technology has been derived from Sandvik?s underground drilling product range following its successful implementation and refinement over the past 10 years.

?When drilling, it never pays to make multiple changes at the same time,? says Rodney. ?It is always better to make the changes one at a time, which can be tracked and formally documented, giving the benefit that you can be aware of new developments.?

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