The Application and Economic Benefits of Blasthole Drill Monitors in Coal Mines

Vynne J F,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 13
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Drill monitors for rotary blasthole drills have been available to the mining industry since the 1970s. The early monitors were pen strip chart recorders that were developed for the oil drilling industry and adapted to mining. They recorded drilling parameters such as depth, pull-down pressure, torque, RPM, and hailing air pressure. While these recorders could generate a large volume of paper, the amount of useful data was minimal. The data was not summarised and required an engineer to interpret the chart traces. Being a mechanical recorder, the devices were also susceptible to frequent failures. Modem electronics, and the development of the personal computer and its associated software have radically changed the type of instrumentation that is now available for blasthole drills. Perhaps more important is what can be done with the data. The PC allows the logged data to be analysed, summarised, and a variety of reports to be generated. The reports can be customised to meet the specific requirements of the mine and reduce the amount of time that is required to interpret the data. There is also an increased awareness in the mining industry of the importance of production drills. Blasthole drills have typically been the piece of production equipment that received the least amount of attention in a surface mine. Management focussed on the trucks and shovels or draglines. This situation is changing, and therefore the benefits that can be derived from monitoring drill performance are being recognised. Potential economic benefits of installing drill monitors have been documented in previous papers (Peck and Vynne, 1992). Mines are finding that pay-back periods of less than twelve months and rates of return in excess of 30 per cent are not uncommon. These benefits include the following: 1. Reduced overdrilling; 2. Increased rate of penetration; 3. Helping to locate coal seams; 4. Identification of weak and strong zones; 5. Reduce geophysical logging; 6. Optimising blasts; 7. Improved fragmentation and diggability; 8. Decreased coal dilution; 9. Increased bit life; 10. Reduced maintenance costs; 1 I . Improved accuracy of data and reports.
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