Editor's Desk

?Simple? rig keeps it all in the family

It has been six years since Atlas Copco Mining and Rock Excavation Australia first introduced its PowerROC T-series hydraulic drill rigs to the Australian market. This writer saw the then newly launched PowerROC T35 up close in a demonstration in a rainsoaked Karreman Quarries pit in southeast Queensland. At the time, the T35, along with the T25 and T30 models, had replaced Atlas Copco’s old ECM 585 surface crawler but had the modular look and feel of some of the OEM’s high technology drill rigs, notably the SmartROC and FlexiROC series.

The focus of the PowerROC family – both then and now – is on delivering performance and accessibility with a straightforward design and minimal maintenance requirements. The rigs are manual vehicles that utilise the COP logic drilling control system to adjust drilling parameters in real time and help the operator drill straight holes. In addition, the ongoing adjustment of feed and impact pressure reduces excessive energy use, thereby reducing fuel consumption. The PowerROC T45 has a steel feed beam with robust chain drive system.

The PowerROC family has addressed hole quality through an optional 3D hole inclination instrument in the operator’s cabin. This device controls hole depth and contributes to accurate alignment control while collaring. The PowerROC rigs use COP or Atlas Copco RD series rock drills (ranging from 12kW to 22kW) to deliver 51mm to 127mm hole diameters at a maximum hole depth of 21m to 25m (standard feed). They are powered by Tier 3 or Tier 4 Cummins QSB 4.5 or QSB 6.7 diesel engines and feature track frames with triple grouser pads and hydraulic track oscillation and two-speed traction. Depending on the specific rigs, the PowerROC T-series rigs are also equipped with either single and/or extendable boom systems and carousel rod-type handling systems.

The rigs’ other options include a water mist system that enables it to stabilise hole walls when drilling in rock formation. A 150-litre pressurised water tank can be connected directly to the flushing air compressor.

‘Simple rig’

{{image2-a:r-w:200}}The 15-tonne PowerROC T45 is the latest addition to the PowerROC family in the Australian market. It is suitable for practically every aggregate application, both hard and soft rock, and employs a 22kW, 2900 psi Atlas Copco RD 22S hydraulic pressure rock drill with single dampening system. The T45 has a maximum torque of 1512 Nm in a drilling diameter range of 76mm to 127mm. With the standard feed, it can achieve a maximum hole depth of 25m. With the long feed, the maximum hole depth is 16.5m. The T45 features an extendable boom system, with six rods in the carousel and one starter rod (4.2m) on the standard feed beam, and three rods in the carousel and one starter rod (6.1m) on the long feed beam. It is powered by a 194kW Cummins turbo-charged QSB 6.7 diesel engine (available in Tier 3 or Tier 4).

Tom Ross, the SED business line manager for Atlas Copco Mining and Rock Excavation Australia, said that while the T45 remains a manually operated rig aided by a logic drilling control system, it has some enhancements over the earlier PowerROC models.

“You can now index the carousel to ensure even wear over the rods in the drill string,” Ross said. “There’s also a fuel-saving device in the cab that allows operators to reduce the engine rpm [power rating at 2200 rpm], which saves fuel in certain circumstances. This engine management is fully automated in the SmartROC series.”

Ross said the T45 was ideal for quarry operations that have ‘more basic requirements’ and are not as focused on conserving fuel or utilising complex technology. “It all stems back to the hole diameter and the depth, then you are able to judge what rock drill size and what the right rig is to do the job adequately,” Ross said. “The T45 is a more economical, simpler option for those not requiring the productivity and fuel savings that the SmartROC fleet can deliver. In the theme of it being a simple quarry rig, it has a simple productive hammer.”

The PowerROC T45, like its forebears, has a low number of components and electrical parts due to the rig’s modular and uncomplicated design. Coupled with its compact structure and manoeuvrability, the modular design greatly reduces maintenance costs and the rig has vital service points that make maintenance and servicing easier for the operator. The ROPS- and FOPS-approved cabin also gives the driver full visibility during the drilling process, and affords him/her all the cabin’s creature comforts, including easy hydraulic pilot drill control joysticks. A one-lever semi-automatic control allows for effortless rod handling operation. For troubleshooting purposes, the T45’s hoses are clearly marked to match the schematics drawings in the spare parts lists. The machine is also equipped with a 140 psi working pressure screw-type air compressor and a dust collector with a 23m2 filter area and maximum clean air pressure of 58 psi.



The operator friendliness and simplicity of the PowerROC family has also made the rigs an attractive prospect for contractors who take the machines on different jobs throughout the country and for personnel in smaller quarries who will operate different types of equipment, from loaders to dump trucks to excavators.

Ross said the T45 is no exception, requiring ‘no more training than any other drill’. Nevertheless, Atlas Copco does provide “full training services, including familiarisation, technical maintenance, and so on, as required”, Ross added.

Optional equipment is also offered with the T45 should the customer elect to add to the machine’s ‘simplicity’. This includes reverse camera, LED lamp and flashlight kits, gas charging equipment for the rock drill, a hydraulic pressure test kit, a dust control pre-separator, a central lubrication system and a water mist system.

The PowerROC T45 is a new release to the Australian market but Ross said that Atlas Copco has received “several orders so they’ll be appearing in quarries across the country soon”. The earlier T25, T30 and T35 rigs have been successfully used in quarries across Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia in the last six years.

Later in the year, the T45 will be joined in the Australian market by the PowerROC T50, yet another addition to the burgeoning PowerROC family. This 23-tonne rig will employ a 30kW, 3481 psi hydraulic pressure COP 3060 rock drill with single dampening system. The T50 will have a maximum torque of 2770 Nm in a drilling diameter range of 102mm to 150mm.

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