There is increasing focus on safety within the mining industry, says sustainable productivity solution provider Atlas Copco, adding that its Diamec Smart core drilling rigs eliminate many of the hazardous operations at mines involved in underground core drilling.
Atlas Copco introduced its Diamec Smart series, which offers a new standard for underground core drilling rigs, this year.
“Customers that have tried automatic drilling and rod handling never want to go back to the old way of drilling,” says Atlas Copco exploration equipment marketing VP Martin Sommers.
The risk of handling inner tubes and drill rods, while extracting core samples, is a well-known problem for drillers worldwide. Despite safety regulations, accidents with severe injuries still occur, notes the company.
The new and improved control system on the Diamec Smart core drilling rig is based on the rig control system (RCS) used for all drilling rigs from the mining and rock excavation business area at Atlas Copco. More than 20 important improvements have been made in both hardware and software, compared with the previous RCS, making it even more robust and reliable.
These core drilling rigs have an advanced RCS that enables automatic functions such as drilling and adding and removing of rods. By using the rod handler, the operator can perform the work from a safe distance. Adding and removing of in-the-hole equipment take place automatically.
These automatic functions not only increase the safety of the operators but also improve the working environment and increase productivity. A 3mlong inner tube with core samples can weigh about 100 kg and the handling is heavy and hazardous. The rod handler eliminates operator fatigue and helps keep the pace during an entire shift, states Atlas Copco.
In September, Atlas Copco Mining and Rock Excavation Technique provided 33 BSc mining engineering honours students from the University of the Witwatersrand with insight into the multitiered business relationship between the customer – in this instance, the mining industry – and the supplier.
The company notes that this interaction, at its Jet Park-based Atlas Copco House, went far beyond simply the sale of equipment to include expert advice and after-sales service.
“South Africa’s mining, industrial, business and commercial future lies firmly in the hands of our youth and how aptly they are able to apply their knowledge when they embark on their working careers,” emphasises Atlas Copco South Africa corporate communications manager Kgothatso Ntsie.
She says it is essential that students, irrespective of their field of study, gain a practical taste of the working world to assist them in applying theory to real situations.
The day’s proceedings began with a presentation from business line manager for underground rock equipment Vince Tyler, providing an overview of Atlas Copco’s range of underground, as well as opencast, mining equipment and consumables. He explained to the students that the supply of “world-class-quality equipment solutions” is equally important to the development of long-term customer relationships.