Minimize drilling, blasting risks through automation

By |  October 11, 2022


Exciting new developments in surface drilling technology continue to focus on live work elimination.

For some time, drillers have been able to operate their machine away from the active work area through teleremote control or supervise a fully autonomous drill that will complete the entire drill-and-blast pattern without any human intervention.

Until recently, though, multiple processes continued to require human activity with no alternative solution – such as changing drill bits. The industry now has new technology that directly addresses these ancillary processes that producers can benefit from – even if they have not taken the larger step with fully autonomous machines.

In the previously mentioned example, an automatic bit changer reduces the possibility of human error, injuries related to heavy lifting, lost time on manual adjustments, accidents and exposure to dust and noise by keeping team members off the drill in autonomous operations or in the cabin in manual operations. Eliminating these live work tasks is crucial for the industry to continue to make positive strides in safety.

Producers and equipment manufacturers should continue to work together to challenge any live work in drilling and blasting processes. The benefits that technology and automation can bring far outweigh the effort to implement them.

Zach Ellis is product and application specialist for surface automation and technology at Epiroc.

Featured photo: imaginepictures1/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

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