Improving Productivity of Development Drilling Process through Automation


Mr Joe Dorian (Product Line Manager UG Drills - Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology), Mr Mikko Koivunen (Busines Line Manager Automation - Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology)

The need for more rapid development at lower costs has raised the need to improve development drilling processes. Currently development drilling is mostly done with conventional manually operated equipment with little or no automation on the drill rigs. The end result of the process highly depends on the skills and decisions of the operators resulting in variability in the quality of drilling. Deviation in the execution of drill plans often results in overbreaking which contributes to higher costs in support and the next stages of the development cycle. This paper presents an alternative method of face drilling which relies on automated controls of the major drilling functions providing consistent results even in poor rock conditions. Using data from real mine applications the benefits of automation in terms of longer tool life, accuracy of drilling resulting in lower costs and better tunnel profiles and the potential for extra development meters are discussed in the paper.