Underground Rotary Blasthole Drills

Home, Lok W.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT At the beginning of the 1970 more than 90% of pro¬duction drilling in open-pit mining was obtained with the use of rotary drills. At the same time, the use of rotary drills underground was virtually nonexistent. Several progressive mines began questioning whether efficient rotary drilling could not be adapted to under¬ground applications. In the late 60s and early 70s at¬tempts to use rotary drilling were made by Inco, Ltd. and Meramac Mining, utilizing drill units designed as a combination of small diameter raise drills and rotary drills. These initial attempts were unsuccessful primarily due to the immobility of the equipment and low degree of dependability. At the same time, experiments con¬ducted by Inco and Meramac using large diameter in¬the-hole percussion drills produced immediate encourag¬ing results. The first serious attempt at utilizing rotary drilling underground was made by Texasgulf in 1971 at Kidd Creek mine in Canada. An experimental stope 15 m wide, 36 m long, and 30 m deep was drilled using 200-mm diam rotary drilled holes. The machine used was a Robbins' Model 11 D. The Model 11D is a rotary drill designed to drill drain and utility holes under¬ground. The results of this test revealed that large diameter blasthole stoping was feasible. The indications were that the major areas of concern-fragmentation and pillar damage-could be controlled and a new low-cost stoping method resulted. At this point Texasgulf and Robbins entered into a cost-sharing agreement to develop a rotary drilling unit specifically for this stoping method. Drilling of the trial stope required pouring a concrete pad at each drill hole plus anchoring the derrick to the pad by means of rock¬bolts. Utilization expressed in terms of drilling time to available time was less than 20%. It was obvious that the required unit had to be mobile, setup time had to be minimized, and rod handling had to be improved. The first attempt at an underground production-type rotary drill consisted of mounting the basic 11D on an air-powered Eimco 600 Series crawler. The crawler was equipped with four screw-type leveling jacks operated by an impact wrench; rod rack facilities for 60 m of 1.2-m long, 170-mm diam rods; a rod handling facility consisting of an air-lift swing boom and a pipe loader which automatically positioned the rod under the float¬ing drive box; a turnbuckle anchor system requiring in¬stallation of four rockbolts in the drill drift floor and placing turnbuckles from the rockbolts to the corners of the drill; and trailing power units containing the electrics and hydraulics required to operate the drilling unit. Operation of this unit revealed a vast improvement in drilling time but some problem areas remained. The anchoring system required secondary drilling and proved difficult to adapt to the localized irregular floor surface and the trailing power unit was difficult to maneuver and was causing unnecessary maintenance costs. Addi¬tional improvements resulted in the standard 11MD rotary blasthole drill. DESCRIPTION OF UNIT This standard model consists of the drill and the power unit integrally mounted on an air-powered crawler chassis (Fig. 1). The rod-handling and leveling¬jack systems are similar to those used on the prototype Texasgulf unit and remained relatively the same. The anchoring system has been replaced by the roof jack, initially screw type but now hydraulically actuated. The anchoring system is necessary as the drill exerts more thrust than the weight of the unit. During operation it is found that the two front jacks adequately anchor the machine. The complete unit's operational dimensions are: height, 3.2 m; width, 2.1 m; and length, 4.2 m requiring a 3.5- x 3-m drill drift. The derrick is pivot mounted and raised and lowered by a hydraulic cylinder reducing the transport height to 2.5 m. The derrick is also turnbuckle mounted to allow dip angle drilling from vertical to 0.52 rad (30°) off vertical. The drill derrick can be mounted to allow dip axis to be parallel or perpendicu¬lar to the long axis of the unit. The standard rods are 1.2 m in length and are contained in racks of 10 which can be removed for transportation. Drilling torque is produced by a 56-kW (75-hp) electric motor driving a double vane pump which in turn drives a Robbins high torque gear-type hydraulic mo¬tor. In addition to the hydraulic motor, the machine drive system has a 3.9:1 planetary gear reducer. This results in six speeds with the following minimum and maximum range: Maximum rpm 112 Torque 3725.5 J (380 kg m) Minimum rpm 10 Torque 14 706.0 J (1500 kg m) Drilling thrust is provided by two bootstrap cylin¬ders pressurized by a variable volume pump. This sys¬tem can produce from 0 to 267 231.2 N thrust in either direction. Bailing air (approximately 17 m3/min at 382.2 to 490.3 kPa) is introduced through a rotary swivel pass¬ing directly through the center of the drive system to keep efficiency and losses to a minimum. Hole annulus is also kept to a minimum by using 170-mm rod when drilling a 200-mm hole. A small amount of water is added to the air for dust suppression. The machine has to be supplied with air, water, and electrical power. It does not appear feasible to provide an integral air power supply with the rotary drill such as is done with open-pit rotary drills. Air is required and installed during the primary development of the drill drift. The machine can be adapted to drill hole diameters from 170 to 228 mm for blasthole operations. The drill string consists of the rotary bit, crossover stabilizer, roller stabilizers, and standard rods. The operator controls speed and thrust pressure from an operating console which can be mounted in a conve¬nient position. Mount Isa has made an adaption to the operating console to permit remote collaring of drill holes in an uncleared floor.
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