The installation of rock bolts in underground mining or tunnelling operations that have poor rock conditions is among the trickier reinforcement tasks.
Accordingly, rock bolting could create a bottleneck for drilling and blasting, leading to difficulties for work task scheduling.
Epiroc and LKAB, both part of the EU's Horizon 2020 Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems (SIMS) project, have developed a solution to this problem.
Blocky or friable ground often leaves drilled bolt holes blocked or partially blocked, the mining OEM explained. This slows down, or in the worst case, prevents the introduction of bonding agents such as cement grout or resin cartridges into the bolt hole.
Epiroc and LKAB said their solution would allow a faster, more reliable and cost-effective bolting alternative for long-term rock reinforcement in difficult ground conditions.
"An important factor to achieve a workable rock-reinforcement solution is to have a system where the bolt design, bonding agent and bolting rig all work together to provide a robust and reliable bolt installation," said Peter Bray, Epiroc global product manager.
"To this end, Epiroc has worked hand in hand with a leading bolt and chemical supplier to create a bolting system that addressed the issues faced with long-term bolting in poor ground conditions."
The result of this work is an integrated pumpable, two-component resin system that can be used with a self-drilling anchor (SDA) -style bolt in tougher ground conditions, or alternately with a two-step hollow bolt in more moderate ground conditions.
The integrated pumpable resin system from Epiroc is designed to be used on its mechanised bolting machines, the Boltec M and Boltec E models.