Autonomous Drilling Solutions In Mining

17-01-2023 Aesthetix

Drilling is one of the important phases in mining, the others being blasting, loading, and hauling. It is necessary to plan these processes effectively so as to avoid any sort of extra operational costs or environmental footprint. Through introducing autonomous solutions, one can ensure that the mining process becomes more profitable and can also enhance success rates for projects. 

When autonomous drilling is adapted into the traditional mining process, there are many differences that come into place in the overall process of mining. The features that come along with adapting autonomous drilling are:

  • Fully autonomous guidance between designed holes.

When drilling is done manually, there is a limitation in which the consistency can be vouched in the designing of the holes. The consistency of a hole will largely depend on the correct hole position and the depth of each hole; these are necessary elements when it comes to drilling effectively. Manual drilling may be faster than autonomous drilling, but the consistency provided by autonomous drilling outperforms the old methods.

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  • Automatic leveling before blasting and maintaining the level during blasting.

Manual drilling cannot vouch for the consistency of leveling . Adopting the autonomous drilling solution into your mining process will help ensure the consistency of leveling before the blasting and maintain that consistency even during the blasting process.

  • Automatic start of drilling after guidance

The configuration of the drilling needs can be preset, which takes away the need to manually set up the machine. So once the setup is defined, the machine starts automatically drilling to the required depth and hole design as per the feed in instructions.

  • Advanced collision avoidance and automatic bench edge detection

Autonomous drilling incorporates technology that helps to avoid collisions between vehicles and people, resulting in far fewer accidents on the mining site. This is basically done with the help of sensors that can analyze the environment efficiently. It also has features to detect obstacles in the mining environment. The autonomous drilling systems react safely to potential hazards. It has sensors built in that allow the environment to be seen in three dimensions. 

  • Reduces Overdrilling

When you start looking for solutions to autonomous drilling processes, the chances of re-drilling become slim. This is because autonomous drilling helps reduce the mistakes that usually happen when drilling is done and enhances the accuracy and efficiency of the process. It also contributes to a reduction in downtime of up to 90%.

  • Better Efficiency

When the process of mining hard minerals puts them into place, engineers find it difficult to get through them to make enough blast holes to get through. Through engaging proper autonomous solutions in drilling, it becomes easier to reach that thousand meters of length, which is a prominent step in the mining process. 

  • Increased staff efficiency

Autonomous drilling leads to better staff efficiency. This is primarily done by being more mindful of the safety of the employees who are working with the drilling operation, and there is no longer a requirement to employ humans in hazardous conditions. It helps protect the workers from the intense dust and vibrations that are usually accompanied by the drilling process. The employees are trained to be technically competent to work with remote operations and supervise the drilling processes.

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  • Increased productivity

The time taken to drill a hole has been considerably reduced through the adaptation of autonomous drilling techniques. When it comes to calculations, it helps to increase the total number of holes drilled each year and thus better productivity.

  • Increases rolling cutter bit running life

Autonomous drilling gives better efficiency to the rolling cutter bit and thus extends the longevity of the drill bit when compared to manual drilling. Rolling cutters can also be used effectively for cutting through harder and more abrasive formations. 

Autonomous drilling solutions are a departure from how processes have been carried out in the past. Hence, the mining sector is adapting to automated drilling methods to ensure higher productivity and agility in their operations. The flexibility and scalability it brings are perks that help in the growth and development of the sector.

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