Intelligent controls and drilling equipment
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Intelligent controls

Boart Longyear has also incorporated electronic controls into its drilling equipment to improve safety and productivity.
Kevin Bates, global product manager for the company said, "We have recently focused more on de-coupling the operator directly from the drill rig when drilling and moving the equipment.  This has been achieved through the use of radio control or cable control systems that position the driller safely outside the drill operating area. 
"Additionally, all of Boart Longyear's new drill rigs use Rexroth's CANBUS systems to control the engines.  These systems assist in meeting engine emissions requirements and help boost fuel economy," he said.
Meanwhile, the company said its new 4200 surface exploration drill features the industry's first hands-free rod management system comprising a rod-handler, an auto adjusting breakout tool and a hoist plug spinner. The company said the rod handler is equipped with "fail safe jaws" and level sensors which limit release positions and eliminate accidental rod drops.
It also uses wireless remote control to position the operator outside the operating area. Mr Bates said the new rod handling technologies for mineral exploration and reverse circulation drill rigs will soon find their way into the company's construction and geotechnical drill rigs.
The 4200 also features the company's new drill operating system, featuring Rexroth CANBUS technology for self-monitoring and efficient rig operation. A spokesman for the company said the self-monitoring valves provide real-time status information to operators and the system's large LCD screen guides operators through start-up, drilling and troubleshooting procedures.
Elsewhere, Atlas Copco's rock drill control system (RCS) for use on its SmartRig range of drills adjusts drilling power to suit the ground conditions, with the three vital control parameters being rotation pressure, drill dampening pressure and penetration rate. The company said the system also improves the service life of drilling consumables, such as the shank adapter and drill steel by more than +20%.
In addition to better economy in consumables, the risk of drill strings getting stuck in blast holes is reduced, resulting in increased rig availability and overall drilling productivity, the company added.
The company's Hole Navigation System adds a new dimension to the "extensive" automation already available on a SmartRig to complete pre-planned drill patterns after initial set-up. Meanwhile, Atlas Copco's PC-based ROC Manager can be used to design drill patterns and analyse drilling results.
Mr Bates told iC electronics will continue to play an important role in the drilling equipment sector. 
"The increasing requirements for more real-time information about drill rig performance as well as the requirements for control over the major drill rig systems can only be achieved through electronic systems," he said.