The company stated that it might be the most efficient surface drill rig Atlas Copco has ever built.
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 out 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, product manager at Atlas Copco responsible for the SmartROC CL and its testing, related: “It’s crucial that our field tests are tough. 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. It’s good to know that the results we got here can actually be even better for many of our customers.”
After experiencing demanding operational hours in Finland, the new SmartROC CL has shown impressive numbers. Atlas Copco stated that its fuel consumption is far below initial targets – up to 50% lower than conventional DTH rigs - 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 1m/min with a 165mm drill bit. Even in harsh conditions like in Finland, the SmartROC CL is able to maintain an impressive production speed with low fuel consumption.
Hjerpe explained that the optimisation of the rig’s engine power combined with the opportunity to utilise Atlas Copco’s COPROD drilling technique for high penetration and accuracy make for an advantageous rig.
He added: “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. Since the current economy can be hard on miners, an efficient low-fuel drill rig like the SmartROC CL will help for sure.”