Productivity push: The latest global drilling products and projects
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Productivity push: The latest global drilling products and projects

The global financial climate has forced drilling equipment manufacturers to re-address the issue of enhancing machine productivity. Using electronic controls and improving operator comfort are some of the ways this can be achieved. Becca Wilkins reports.
As the economic crisis tightens its grip across the globe it is vital that drilling equipment manufacturers remain competitive in readiness for the return of a more stable market.  This is increasingly achieved by integrating the latest software into equipment, enabling processes to be performed automatically and therefore increasing efficiency and productivity.

Sophisticated systems

Sandvik's new DTi-series intelligent tunnelling jumbos - the DT920i, the DT1120i, the DT1130i and the DT1230i - featurethe company's iSure tunnel planning software - a system offering a new way of simultaneously working with blasting and drilling patterns.
A spokesman for Sandvik said the iSure system offers an efficient way to analyse and manage tunnelling project information and consists of three modules: iSure Tunnel, iSure Report and iSure Analysis.
He added, "A major strength of the Sandvik iSure is that, as opposed to the traditional approach where the initial drilling surface is used, it utilises the level of the hole ends - where the excavation is at its most demanding and where more energy is needed to break and loosen rock - for calculating the hole spacing and burden. This means optimised blasting as per plan, which in turn, leads to better pull-out, decreased need for scaling, increased rock loadability and smoother collaring in the following round."

In the drill pattern, Sandvik stated the iSure can define a range of different hole types such as contour holes, field holes and grouting holes that use their own parameters - increasing the accuracy and speed of the excavation process. The software also features plans which can be edited - an advantage which "greatly speeds up the planning process".
Meanwhile, the intelligent features on the DTi jumbos also improve productivity.  According to Sandvik, data collection of production and process information such as round data, cumulative production data and drilling parameter logging helps with planning production logistics and maintenance schedules.
Jorma Kalliomäki, Sandvik's market and offering manager for tunnelling and underground civil engineering, told iC, "The i series was also developed for automatic drilling in order to achieve greater accuracy and speed."
Working in automatic mode, the DTi series jumbos follow a designed drill plan and drilling sequence, which "greatly adds to the predictability of the tunnelling process," the company said.  For flexibility in special rock conditions, there is a range of features allowing the operator to fine-tune the process on line.