Evolution of control systems arrives at cabless, remote-controlled rigs designed for safety, accuracy and efficiency 

 By the close of 2016, four of the majors debuted new drill rigs. Three unveiled new rotary blasthole drills at MINExpo. All four now offer either semi- or full-autonomy and machine data integration to mine planning and management systems. This means these days when one shops for a blasthole rig, they are also shopping for remote control and monitoring solutions. The differences in the latest offerings are found in the details.

Cabless Rig for Office Control

Atlas Copco displayed several advancements and offerings at this fall’s convention in Vegas, all of which represent the company’s dedication to innovation and calculated advancement toward fully autonomous drilling, Matthew Inge, product line manager, blasthole, said. Most noteworthy are a new drill rig, an upgraded cabless and fully autonomous rig, and three autonomous systems software packages for upgrading existing machines and fleets.

Debuted at MINExpo, the Pit Viper 231 is the latest addition to the successful PV-230 series, which is operating in 15 major mining markets. The single pass offering builds on the PV-235 platform, the company reported. It bolsters a 53-ft (16.2-meter [m]) clean hole, single pass tower capable of drilling a hole between 6.75 in. and 9.88 in. (171-250 millimeter [mm]) in diameter.

Those specs should catch the eye of miners, Inge said. “Previously much larger drills were needed because of the tower size to drill those holes in a single pass,” he said. “What we’ve tried to do is create that same single-pass depth but on a frame and on a machine that is 30% lighter than its predecessor and competitors.” The benefits are numerous, he said. “It improves the time spent drilling, which is just value added for the blasthole drilling process,” Inge said. “You’re no longer changing drill rods. You don’t have that inefficiency.”

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