In what has been a busy year for the mining industry as it recovers from the down turn, some have been busier than others.
The recent Goldfields Mining Exhibition saw one of these busy companies, Atlas Copco, unveil two of its latest drill rigs.
This in the wake of the mining specialists’ earlier releases of the brand new down the hole drill rig – the SmartRig ROC D65, and rotary drill – the Pit Viper 235.
These two new rigs debuted at GME, the Simba S7D for long hole drilling in the small to medium range drift size, and the Boomer T1D, are designed to make drilling safer and much more efficient.
Designed as the successor to the Simba 1257, the S7D drill rig has the drilling unit mounted on a boom, which provides it with greater reach and overall versatility.
The Simba is able to be used in a wide range of applications such as long hole drilling, production drilling and when cable bolt holes are to be drilled.
A carousel attached to the drilling unit enables the entire drilling process to be completely mechanised.
Compared to the previous model, it has several new features such as a higher ground clearance; a Tier 3/Stage IIIA diesel engine; a much faster tramming speed; is backwards compatible for parts with the Boomer S1D which allows for easier maintenance, and it also comes with the functionality to carry a water hose reel.
The Simba’s new environmentally friendly Tier3/Stage IIIA engine for the tramming of the rig is also encased in a modern design chassis.
Intrinsically safe, the rig’s cabin meets the requirements of a FOPS approved roof as well as operating noise levels.
Inside of the drill rig, it has a hydraulic direct control system with manual functions.
Atlas also unveiled its T1D Boomer at the event.
The hydraulically controlled mining and tunneling face drilling rig comes with a BUT 4B heavy duty boom for fast positioning between holes.
Its hydraulic control system incorporates an anti jamming function Rotation Pressure Controlled Feed.
The feed itself is a BMH 2000 series made of heavy duty aluminium, which has snap on stainless steel sleeves and polymer contacts.
The rig is powered by a four cylinder Tier 3/Stage IIIA approved diesel engine, and has a FOPS approved telescopic roof as well as a hydraulically driven compressor.
It can utilise a COP 1638, COP 1838 or COP 2238 rock drill with a dual damping system, and contains pressurised housing and mating surfaces which reduce internal contamination of the rock drill.
However, these two rigs were not the first new drills that Atlas has released in 2010.
Earlier this year, the equipment supplier launched the SmartRig ROC D65 (known as The Beast) for down the hole drilling, and its large hole relative – the Pit Viper 235 series for rotary drilling.
These surface RCS drill rigs have the advantage of satellite and mine plan linked navigation as well as automated feed alignment, rod handling and rig set up.
Initial descriptions of the rigs, in particular its auto-rod adding where it racks it own rods, was described as particularly impressive.
A number of new technologies were utilised in the rigs, such as cable pull back systems which replaced the previous chain pullback and helped to dramatically improve safety, through to the new break out auxiliary wrench for rod joint breaks.
The rigs also addressed issues faced with air compressors which consume up to 30% of their rated power just during standby mode, and still use horsepower despite being switched off by the operator.
With these brand new models, operators can now physically disconnect the air compressor from the engine and save horsepower during rod changing, tramming, leveling or even idling.
This has lead to reductions of up to 15% in fuel consumptions.
Despite the high degree of automation available within the drill rigs, for the most part they will still be controlled remotely by operators.
On the back of this, Atlas created training initiatives to service this need for remote control expertise.
In Australia, it began a Master Drill multi tier global training programme and advanced simulator training using modified rigs, during September.