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Reducing drill maintenance to new minimums

By |  April 7, 2020
Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology’s Hughes Daoust, left, and Hugues Charbonneau pose in front of the new Leopard DI650i DTH drill rig at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020. Photo: P&Q Staff

Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology’s Hughes Daoust, left, and Hugues Charbonneau pose in front of the new Leopard DI650i DTH drill rig at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020. Photo: P&Q Staff

Although maintenance equates to downtime, some manufacturers are configuring their latest down-the-hole (DTH) drill rigs in creative ways that ultimately reduce the time required to maintain equipment.

Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology is among these manufacturers, showcasing its Leopard DI650i DTH drill rig at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020. The company offered a walk around the drill during the trade show, pointing out several design features that not only speed up maintenance procedures but keep personnel safe.

“Let’s say you’re doing maintenance every 5,000 hours,” Sandvik’s Hughes Daoust says. “[Before], you’d have to climb up and down and harness constantly, and that adds time to your maintenance. Now, engineers are trained to design everything for work on the ground. Just open up the panel and go.”

As Hugues Charbonneau, Daoust’s colleague at Sandvik, adds: “If you’re talking about a new down-the hole drill rig we’re able to do most of the maintenance with everything lowered at 6 ft.”

According to Charbonneau, a drill rig’s hoses represent a tremendous source of downtime. With the DI650i, Sandvik removed about 30 hoses.

“If we have less hose, we’ll obviously have less broken hose,” Charbonneau says. “If they have 20 percent less hose on a machine, you’ll save at least 20 percent on broken hose. Changing hydraulic hose on a drill rig is not an easy thing.”

Manufacturers are designing drill rigs so service functions can more simply be addressed at ground level. Photo: P&Q Staff

Manufacturers are designing drill rigs so service functions can more simply be addressed at ground level. Photo: P&Q Staff

And fewer hoses translates to less hydraulic oil flowing through the system, according to Daoust. This, too, translates to less maintenance.

Newer control systems like the one built into the DI650i present opportunities to enhance maintenance, as well. Sandvik iTorque, for example, is a drilling control system featuring different drilling recipes for different rock conditions. Optimizing the drill to the rock means less wear and tear that maintenance personnel will have to address later.

“If you use too much energy, then you burn more fuel,” Charbonneau says. “If you don’t use that energy to break rocks, that energy needs to break something. [It could] break your toolings or the drifter. If that energy goes into the drifter, then your pumps work more.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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