Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr
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SURFACE DRILLING 28 E&MJ • MARCH 2017 www.e-mj.com By the close of 2016, four of the majors debuted new drill rigs. Three unveiled new rotary blasthole drills at MINExpo. All four now offer either semi- or full-au- tonomy and machine data integration to mine planning and management systems. This means these days when one shops for a blasthole rig, they are also shopping for remote control and monitoring solu- tions. The differences in the latest offer- ings are found in the details. Cabless Rig for Office Control Atlas Copco displayed several advance- ments and offerings at this fall's con- vention in Vegas, all of which represent the company's dedication to innovation and calculated advancement toward ful- ly autonomous drilling, Matthew Inge, product line manager, blasthole, said. Most noteworthy are a new drill rig, an upgraded cabless and fully autonomous rig, and three autonomous systems soft- ware packages for upgrading existing ma- chines and fleets. Debuted at MINExpo, the Pit Viper 231 is the latest addition to the success- ful PV-230 series, which is operating in 15 major mining markets. The single pass offering builds on the PV-235 platform, the company reported. It bolsters a 53-ft (16.2-meter [m]) clean hole, single pass tower capable of drilling a hole between 6.75 in. and 9.88 in. (171-250 millime- ter [mm]) in diameter. Those specs should catch the eye of miners, Inge said. "Previously much larg- er drills were needed because of the tower size to drill those holes in a single pass," he said. "What we've tried to do is cre- ate that same single-pass depth but on a frame and on a machine that is 30% lighter than its predecessor and compet- itors." The benefits are numerous, he said. "It improves the time spent drilling, which is just value added for the blast- hole drilling process," Inge said. "You're no longer changing drill rods. You don't have that inefficiency." Reduced weight translates to reduced costs. "If you can give that same value in terms of single-pass depth but at a low- er weight, then you should see the costs to operate that machine go down," Inge said. The rig, like the others in the Pit Vi- per series, is "technology capable" and a "gateway" to greater automation, he said. The rig is "an entry for most customers to get in there and get their hands on it, and feel it, and see things for themselves, rather than just read about it on paper." The PV-231 is scheduled for proto- type-testing later this year, but has al- ready piqued the interest of several min- ers. "We're starting to gain interest with customers to see the machine out in the field," Inge said. The company worked with a number of gold miners to perfect the drill and their processes deploying it. The rig "suits most gold mines globally as New Blasthole Drill Rigs Feature More Autonomy Evolution of control systems arrives at cabless, remote-controlled rigs designed for safety, accuracy and efficiency By Jesse Morton, Technical Writer The cabless, autonomous PV-275CA, pictured above at a test and demonstration site, is tried, true and reflects the company's commitment to Industry 4.0, Atlas Copco reports. 'We believe strongly in automation and particularly what automation can contribute to a mine operation,' Tyler Berens, product manager, automation, says. 'This cab- less Pit Viper not only shows our commitment to that but also is field-ready to go autonomous.'