The Isidingo Drill Design Challenge aims to find how a new drill can be lighter, quieter, easier to use, introduce parallelism and reduce operator danger. It also wants to know how a new machine design can utilise alternative energy sources.
"Current technology is wasteful of energy, heavy and noisy, and prone to large vibration which results in fatigue, noise-induced hearing loss and white-knuckle syndrome, directly impacting the quality of life of rock-drill operators," the group said.
"The best innovative ideas and concepts come from a combination of necessity and diverse visions, and so this challenge is being run across South Africa calling on engineers, designers, architects and everyone with problem-solving skills to design the concept for a new rock-drill for application in deep-level, hard-rock mining."
Primary criteria for design are a weight less than 16kg, a source of energy other than compressed air, the ability to drill parallel holes and a set-up and take-apart time of 10-15 minutes or less.
It also will be seeking designs that produce more thrust, produce noise levels of less than 85 decibels, have a plan for reduced operator vibration, are easily operable and are an improvement upon current drilling speeds.
Those submitting entries should design the concept for a new drill while addressing those points. There should also be an emphasis on human-centred design.
Designs via technical sketch or computer-aided design are welcome.
The challenge opened August 20 and will close on September 18. Judging will be held September 25, with winners to be announced October 2.