Engineering & Mining Journal

SEP 2018

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BLASTHOLE DRILLS 32 E&MJ • SEPTEMBER 2018 www.e-mj.com In the 1990s, after the rhythmic miner strike cycles had jibed with the successive waves of mine nationalization in Chile, a new type of miner emerged, one who was a little less specialized and a little more conformist, according to academics. He was, in their terms, polyvalent. Relegated to history was the tech- nician with a narrow but advanced skill- set, who was happily married to his title and backed by a union that promised he would never, ever, have to leave his swim lane. The new age miner could do a range of tasks, was fluent with multiple pieces of equipment and tools, and could stom- ach a new assignment, retraining, re- location, and a new workflow. In the de- cades that followed, the expectation of worker polyvalence grew with advances in automation. The trend spread globally. And today, it is not uncommon for a sprawling, dusty fly-in, fly-out operations to stay under- staffed, further increasing pressure on the miner to be even more malleable. The newest rotary blasthole drill rig solutions on the market reflect this re- ality. They are pitched as versatile and capable of being configured to conform to almost any mine site, fleet or process cycle. They are reportedly safe, efficient, require less maintenance, and feature au- tomation that truly simplifies operation. In short, they too are polyvalent and thus speak to the head office's primary need of doing more with less and with a minimal amount of retraining. A quick tour of the latest releases illustrates that point. Better Penetration, Lower Cost Sandvik is set to release the DR416i in Q4 2018. It will tram on to the market as the company's largest rotary blasthole drill rig offering. And in terms of hole di- ameter, it is the largest released by a ma- jor Western supplier since MINExpo. First announced in April, the rig is ideal for large-scale coal, copper or iron ore mines "where larger holes lead to higher production to deliver the metric tons required by the market," said Rob Ewanow, product marketing manager, surface pedestal drills, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. It features the "longest single-pass mast in its class, 21 meters (m), and a traveling centralizer for straighter holes." The rig is "capable of drilling up to 406-mm holes while offering improved penetration at the lowest possible oper- ating cost," Sandvik reported. Ewanow attributed those two superlatives to "heavy-duty chain feeds," which "reduce the need for adjustment and provide a consistent bit load, due to the weight of the chains, while the high-power inertia rotary head provides continuous penetra- tion with less vibration and deviation." The chain feed system provides controlled power to the bit, "and with synchronized chains we prevent head misalignment as seen with cables," Ewanow said. Equally important, the rig provides the customer with an automation-ready offering for big mines seeking to opti- mize drill results in a tough labor mar- ket. "Mine operators and contractors alike want predictable performance and often face driller turnover," Ewanow said. "The automated functions can assist less- experienced operators in delivering more consistent results." As does real-time drill result data, he said. "This is used to improve the blasting and fragmentation," Ewanow said. "Blast effectiveness is improved with GPS navigation and drill to eleva- tion; additionally, this improves the next bench's surface." The automation and remote monitor- ing functions, described as scalable and nonbundled, are "offered via individual modules providing customers the flexi- bility to choose what adds value to their operation," Ewanow said. "The automa- tion-ready platform allows for customized modules to be added to properly integrate to existing systems," he said. "Additional modules can be added in the future as The New Standard of Customizable Rigs The latest rotary blasthole drill solutions promise optimized production on rigs configured for specific site, fleet and staffing needs By Jesse Morton, Technical Writer

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