Atlas Copco is set to launch a new mobile rig for boring “opening holes” in mines which it says will be capable of developing both box hole boring and down-reaming without any site preparation.
Called ‘Easer’ the rig can produce opening holes with a maximum diameter of 750 mm and a hole depth of up to 60 m. It uses standard 200 mm (8 in) boring rods with a 228 mm (9 in) pilot drill bit.
With the exception of the rods, and the setup procedure, all the necessary operating equipment is part of the carrier, and the setup procedure does not require any site preparation.
Atlas Copco said the increased demand for a highly mobile and versatile rigs specifically designed to create opening holes safely and efficiently led to the development of the new rig.
“Our mission in developing the Easer has been to speed up the operation,” product manager Johnny Lyly said.
“The timeframe for drilling a 40 meter opening hole, from setup to take down is less than 30 hours, and set up/take down is done in less than one hour.”
The Easer offers the same drilling modes as traditional raiseboring rigs: box hole boring, down-reaming and conventional raiseboring.
To switch from box hole boring to down-reaming, the gearbox is rotated 180 degrees – an operation that can be carried out in an underground workshop.
In raiseboring mode, the Easer can drill up to 1 200 mm.
Atlas Copco said name Easer is derived from the expression “ease off”, meaning to take off or release pressure, which is used in reference to the blast hole into which rock expands during blasting.
The Easer is scheduled for launch during 2014.