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SURFACE DRILLING 30 E&MJ • MARCH 2017 www.e-mj.com suspension, which allows negotiation of terrain without overworking the main- frame, the company reported. It features heavy-duty coolers and high efficiency hydraulics that work together with the en- gine and air compressor as a system to deliver the optimal bit load, rotary torque and speed plus bailing air for superior penetration rates and cycle times. Angle drilling capabilities come standard. "The mast can be raised or lowered in less than 40 seconds, even with a fully loaded pipe rack and full drill string," the company reported. All critical components, includ- ing the four leveling-jack casings, the mast pivot and the drill deck, are welded to the mainframe. Control features include a user-friend- ly operator interface that provides ma- chine health data and diagnostic func- tionalities, the company reported. "In the early days the rigs would be fitted with (on-off) type switches to drive ba- sic interlock systems to protect certain functions and components on the ma- chines, which was very basic in nature and limited by its general electrical lay- out and hydraulics," Scott said. "With the development of CAN-BUS computer controls we have been able to take many more conditional inputs and align them with advanced programming to make the machine 'smart' in regard to overall op- eration and performance." The optional automation system con- trols each step in the drilling cycle to simplify operation and improve accuracy. Connectivity and data management sys- tem Cat MineStar Terrain guides the op- erator and facilitates hole placement and drilling depth, while also reporting on pro- ductivity and providing feedback on vari- ation of bench geology. Terrain uses satel- lite guidance and accurate depth-sensing to ensure that perfectly placed holes are drilled at the exact depth and angle. The system enables depth accuracy within 10 centimeters, the company reported. "The programmable variables for auto drilling, tramming and other functions on the drill essentially tell the computer what it's range of operation will be, whereas the programming will then modulate the machine within those settings to achieve the best possible production rates," Scott said. "These protective circuits and drill assist functions act as a 'force multipli- er' and propel the operator to a produc- tivity level many times higher than they could achieve with old-school manual rigs without the computerized tooling and pro- gramming onboard." The system can also contribute to mine safety. Cat Terrain prevents rigs from drilling over bootlegs so redrills avoid un- detonated holes from prior benches. Fur- ther, it will stop the rig from leaving an area defined by a virtual boundary. The use of digital blast plans keeps surveyors away from working equipment and unsafe areas. "Safety interlocks and condition- al monitoring have greatly increased the number of protective layers on the drill — all orchestrated by complex program- ming, which constantly monitors and feeds input to the control system," Scott said. "Any variation that falls outside of recommended best practices and the pro- grammable variables that are fine tuned for a specific site or application will ef- fectively lock-out or de-energize a subcir- cuit of the drill (or the entire drill itself, depending on severity of the condition)." The company reported that a miner de- ploying Terrain will see a 50% reduction in lost-time incidents. Terrain reportedly provides a 5% im- provement in loader performance as a result of more accurate drilling and there- fore more predictable blasting. Loaders can more easily work the muck pile, im- proving load cycle times, fill factors and overall haulage fleet productivity, Cat re- The concept and technology developed for the MD6420C, pictured here, come from more than 20 years of field experience working with predecessor models, reliable cat components and innovative new designs, Greg Scott, application specialist, says. 'The MD6420C's smarts protect the operator, the drill and also ensure that day-in and day-out that quality holes are drilled — so they can be charged, blasted, and resulting fragmented material can be loaded, hauled and processed.'