Sandvik enhances underground drilling with automation upgrade

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has upgraded its automation package for the DD422i and DD422iE underground drilling jumbos, enabling 24/7 drilling and boosting overall operational productivity.

One feature that can be taken as an individual enhancement, or as a total solution package, is the new boom collision avoidance system, which uses a dynamic route recalculation model to predict potential collisions.

This prevents the drill from shutting down when the boom encounters a possible collision when being operated unattended. Not only does it maintain production without any interruptions, it also ensures that a collision is avoided.

The system protects the unit from careless manual operation by first slowing, and then stopping, boom movements if they are too close to the carrier or another boom.

Another key part of the package is teleremote drilling control, which enables the drill to be operated remotely, for example, from the surface of the mine.

This keeps operators away from entering deeper mines, preventing them from the range of health and safety concerns associated with it.

During shift change, blasting and ventilation times, the teleremote drilling control allows more holes to be drilled. This reduces the risk of equipment damage by allowing a remote supervision of the drill when operating unmanned.

The drilling control’s onboard package consists of cameras, wireless antenna, safety-rated access protection system and a control logic to handle commands between the drill and the remote control station.

The off-board package contains a remote control station, viewing screen for cameras placed on the unit and auxiliary controls for both lights and cameras. The package is light and compact, allowing easy movement from one place to another as required.

The upgrade also includes semi-automatic drill bit changer, allowing the bit to be changed from a safe location, thereby reducing the time the operator spends in front of the drill.

The bit changer consists of racks of drill bits (six or nine standard bits, plus a reaming bit) for both booms. The principle is simply to remove the old bit and then retrieve a new one from the boom aside when the need arises.

By using the Sandvik DD422i / DD422iE automation upgrade package, more holes can be drilled during an operating period, improving overall productivity of the underground mine development process.

It also acts as a solution to reduce operator exposure to potentially dangerous conditions at the face, thus making overall drilling production not only more reliable, but also safer.

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