Flanders partnership levels up automated drill rigs


Flanders Electric has signed a memorandum of understanding with manufacturer Tribe Technology to develop a new automated reverse circulation drill rig to improve resource definitions.

The specialists in mining drill automation saw Tribe as a fitting partner, not only as they’re both based in Western Australia, but because the aspirations of both companies were well aligned.

Flanders general manager Mike Lane said the partnership would combine the best of both companies.

“Flanders are the global leaders in autonomous drill systems for blast hole rigs around the world,” Lane said.

“We’re very excited by the automation technology developed by Tribe Tech and delighted to be working together to bring our industry-leading drill control and monitoring technology to the world of RC drilling.”

Tribe Technology was the first engineering company in the world to develop an unmanned RC drill rig.

The unprecedented design has been sent to the company’s factory in Northern Ireland for manufacturing, before it is delivered to Perth-based drilling contractor McKay Drilling.

Tribe Technology managing director Charlie King said the partnership with Flanders was a chance for both companies to leave the competition in their wake.

“We see this as an opportunity to disrupt the market and accelerate the development and implementation of fully autonomous drilling for Tribe Tech’s customers globally,” King said

Flanders also specialises in drill conversion from manual to automatic and has been awarded contracts with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and Anglo American.

At Fortescue’ss Iron Bridge magnetite mine joint venture, Flanders continues to cement its place as an Australian leader in automated drill rigs.

“Securing the Iron Bridge contract underlies the strength of Flanders partnership with Fortescue, with this being the fourth Fortescue Metals Group site to benefit from using our autonomous drill control system,” Lane said.

“This will be the 16th drill conversion, and by the end of 2022 we will have converted 26 platform drills across all four sites — which is more than half of the total number of drill conversions in Australia to date.

“Through our collaboration, Fortescue Metals Group’s drill operations have seen increases in production, utilisation and most importantly, safety, at each of Fortescue Metals Group’s iron ore operations.”

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