When the tendering process is heating up and businesses require the most versatile and intelligent drill rigs available, Epiroc has proven its machines can be the deciding factor in getting deals over the line.
The Swedish manufacturer has seen a strong uptake in the SmartROC T45 series drill rig, both in the short feed for quarries and the long feed option for mining.
The T45 is an all-rounder in rock drilling, thanks to its premium fuel efficiency, smarter operating system and the option to include Epiroc’s essential hole-positioning system.
Kris Thomas, Epiroc’s product manager for the surface drilling division, told Quarry the T45’s best advantage is easily the intelligent on-board computer.
“The efficiencies of the control system are the biggest selling point. It’s a smarter operating system which controls the engine, so it only generates the pressure it needs when it needs it,” Thomas said. “It’s not sitting there with hydraulic and pneumatic pressure when it’s idle, where older versions of these machines would sit there maintaining unnecessary pressure and wasting energy.”
On top of the adjustable, cabin-controlled airflow and dust collector speed, the T45 has been designed to ensure no compromises have been made on fuel efficiency or productivity. This is thanks to the 242kW Caterpillar turbo-charged diesel engine (Cat C9, Tier 3 and Tier 4), 12-bar Epiroc C146-07 screw-type compressor and standard automatic radiator fan.
The components are programmed to automatically adjust to changes in the operating mode. While tramming or idle, for example, the compressor will put no extra demand on the engine, reducing revolutions per minute (rpm) and ultimately, fuel burn.
If better fuel efficiency wasn’t enough, the 1900 rpm hydraulic system does not use or require as much oil as other rigs, and the hydraulic tank is therefore a third of the standard size for its type, according to Epiroc. Biological oil can also be used at exactly the same cost as regular oil.
“The total cost of ownership of the machine is very low,” Thomas said. “There’s very small amounts of oil required on the drill, so with less oil, there’s less fuel burn, there’s less wear and tear on the machine, and longer component life.
“Obviously with the lower fuel burn, the engine life is greatly improved. The oil capacity is 100 litres in the hydraulic tank – whereas other manufacturers are using 300 to 400 litres in comparison. So, you have that hydrocarbon disposal benefit too – you’re not dispensing so much waste oil, which makes it environmentally friendlier.”
This can be an important consideration for quarry operators and contractors, as a disparity so large should be almost enough to change most minds.
“If they’ve got a 10-year-old machine using 60 litres an hour, the T45 can go onto that site between 15 and 20 litres an hour, making it an obvious no-brainer for the hiring party,” Thomas said.
What has been swaying contractors even more of late, however, has been Epiroc’s hole navigation system (HNS), which can be optioned into the T45.
HNS can bring the rig’s drill accuracy to within +/- 50 millimetres, ensuring the correct angle and collaring position while saving time on hole marking and costs on explosives.
“This is becoming quite a requirement now for contractors tendering on jobs,” Thomas explained. “They need to be able to provide accurate hole position data. Same with the fuel burn as well, they need to come in with a more efficient machine. These are both high priority things for the quarrying industry now and will be a deciding factor on whether they win the contract or not.
“A lot of big companies have cottoned onto the efficiencies of our machines where we’re starting to win favour over our competition due to the fact we can supply machines which are more efficient.”
The T45 has been well received by the Australian market, according to Thomas. Especially on the east coast where a majority of the country’s quarries are found.
He put this down to the machine’s versatility – with options for long and short feeds, added technology, and a quarry-spec unit packed with the power to mine.
“The T45 can be used for the smallest of jobs, but it still has the high energy rock drill (3060 MEX) to drill up to a 140mm hole, which can be moved on bigger quarry sites or even mine sites,” Thomas said.
According to Thomas, there’s no operation the T45 isn’t suited to, or rather, that isn’t suited to the T45. •