The goals and expectations for Atlas Copco’s new surface drill rig SmartROC CL were extremely high both during development and before the field tests. However, it was shown early on that this would become a rig with impressive qualities. In fact, the new SmartROC CL might be the most efficient surface drill rig Atlas Copco has ever built.
Impressive results with potential
The SmartROC CL was sent to Eastern Finland for rigorous testing in tough conditions – both in terms of work environment and drilling conditions. The Finnish test site is the Northern Hemisphere’s largest source of apatite, a mineral that defines the rank of 5 of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. This means that the rig performed in an environment that is somewhat more demanding than several of its target markets. In many open pit mines, production materials have less hardness and even more impressive performance results can be expected.
Mattias Hjerpe is the product manager at Atlas Copco responsible for the SmartROC CL and its testing. “It’s crucial that our field tests are tough,” relates Hjerpe. “It’s when things don’t work that we can learn and make improvements. We’re really satisfied when we get performance numbers like these, despite the challenging conditions.” Hjerpe adds,: “It’s good to know that the results we got here can actually be even better for many of our customers.”
A drill rig that lower operating expenses and increases revenues
After an autumn of demanding operational hours in Finland, the new SmartROC CL shows impressive numbers. Fuel consumption is far below initial targets and the new SmartROC CL also demonstrates a penetration rate up to 50 % greater than attainable with conventional DTH rigs. The average penetration rate recorded during testing reached over 1 meter per minute with a 165-millimeter drill bit. Even in harsh conditions like in Finland, the SmartROC CL is able to maintain an impressive production speed with low fuel consumption.
COPROD technology for a greater competitive advantage
Hjerpe explains that the optimization of the rig’s engine power combined with the opportunity to utilize Atlas Copco’s patented COPROD drilling technique for high penetration and accuracy make for an advantageous rig. “Many of our mining customers who use the DTH drilling method in Australia, South Africa, Latin America, Scandinavia and other regions can now lower their fuel bills and boost their productivity at the same time,” says Hjerpe. “Since the current economy can be hard on miners, an efficient low-fuel drill rig like the SmartROC CL will help for sure.”