Sandvik adds autonomous capabilities to Leopard DI650i drill rig


The Sandvik Leopard DI650i. Image: Sandvik

Sandvik has developed the iDrill automation platform to enable fully autonomous blasthole drilling for the Leopard DI650i down-the-hole drill rig.

iDrill enhances the rig’s onboard automated drilling cycle and AutoMine Surface Drilling system by adding new features including drilling stabilisation, automated collaring, automated cleaning and detaching from hole.

Sandvik stated the operator is only required to monitor the process when fully autonomous drilling is enabled.

Sandvik product manager, surface drilling Jari Läntinen said upgrading the DI650i is another step the company is taking in automation.

“The latest development is a major step on Sandvik’s DTH drill rig automation journey,” he said.

“This means shifting from individual automated tasks and sequences towards a genuine ecosystem of automation platforms and operating with a connected fleet of automated mining equipment.

“This will also change the role of one operator handling a single machine into a specialist controlling multiple drill rigs remotely and utilising their expertise to optimise drilling process productivity.”

Sandvik have designed iDrill to produce consistent and high-quality drill holes, minimising errors including hole inclination, depth and positioning errors.

The iDrill drilling cycle also features anti-jamming pullback monitoring and intelligent collaring sequence, which includes suction head automatics and centraliser automatics to match hammer and pipe size to support collaring.

It also allows for manual intervention and can be activated or deactivated at any time during the drilling cycle.

In June, Sandvik showcased some of its solutions at 2021 Minex Roadshow, which was held at Mount Isa in Queensland this month.

The Sandvik Toro LH517i loader was on display which allows for automated operations.

The company also demonstrated its Eclipse Fire Suppression unit, with the fluorine-free system automatically activated to protect people and equipment from flames.

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