Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2018

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 52 E&MJ • JULY 2018 www.e-mj.com Modeling how the bit drills before it ever touches the rock is putting bespoke drill- ing solutions in the field faster and with better results. Working hand-in-hand with advanced-cutting-structure design tools, virtual drilling software is helping com- press long iterative development cycles to make customizing the bit for the applica- tion a much more practical process. Using computer simulations to rap- idly analyze and inform bit design in context with formation characteristics and drilling parameters expedite the creation and study of multiple design iterations before the bit is manufac- tured. The virtual drilling capability is leapfrogging traditional design con- straints to provide a more efficient drill- ing solution that keeps pace with chang- ing rock conditions. Insights gained using Varel Mining and Industrial's Advanced Modeling Package (AMP) in combination with RC Pro cutting-structure design software significantly reduces lengthy iterative cycles of analyzing, design- ing, manufacturing and test- ing drill bits. Quickly creating and analyzing multiple design iterations on the computer puts the best solution in the field faster and with greater success. Examples in Aus- tralia, Botswana and Canada illustrate how the two appli- cations work hand-in-hand to enhance performance. Changing the Design Cadence Adapting bit performance to specific rock properties and operational parameters has been a long-standing indus- try objective and challenge. Balancing performance to op- timize penetration rates and durability is typically done in a lengthy process of analyzing, designing, manufacturing and field-testing successive bit versions. Results vary as successive versions are field tested, but in the long term, multi- ple iterations ultimately yield significant performance benefits. (See Figure 1) However, the cost and time of this fine-tuning can be a significant con- straint on realizing the optimal solution. The protracted cycle time limits the practical development of novel solu- tions, and typically results in design changes that are both conservative and slow in arriving. As a result, optimizing performance across varied formation characteristics and drilling conditions is difficult, especially when several it- erations are needed. Reducing iteration time makes bit enhancements a more productive process that has greater rel- evance to improving the immediate task, and accruing the benefits earlier. (See Figure 2, opposite page) Assessing the bit's performance be- fore it shows up at the mine is key to changing these old constraints and re- defining the efficiencies that can be achieved. Speeding up the iterative pro- cess, sometimes by months, allows many cutting-structure configurations to be developed and competitively compared without field tests. Using virtual drilling simulations to analyze cutting-structures design signifi- cantly improves the iterative process. A standard development process might take upward of 50 hours to produce one de- sign — with only a single cycle of analy- sis and design — before it is field-tested. Analysis typically includes dull bits, site visits and existing design evaluation. The resulting design (prior to RC Pro) required manual-cutting structure design to pro- duce one, often conservative, iteration. Drafting is a manual process. Modeling adds steps and time to the analysis/design cycle, but the cut- ting-structure design software cuts the Virtual Drilling Leverages Rapid Design to Put Bit Advances in the Field Faster Bit makers replicate the interaction of the bit's cutting structure with the geological formation to evaluate designs By Anthony Plana and Graeme McKenzie Figure 1—Improving bit performance traditionally depends on a long process of creating and field-testing multiple design iterations.

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