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MINExpo 2012: drilling product news review

World Coal,

World Coal reviews news from the drilling sector announced at MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® 2012, which took place in Las Vegas from 24 – 26 September.

Atlas Copco

Atlas Copco introduced the Pit Viper 311 wide-range rotary blasthole drill at MINExpo 2012. Like its predecessor, the Pit Viper 351, the PV311 offers single pass drilling but can drill deeper to maximum depth of 125 ft (38.1 m). Drilling up to 65 ft (19.8 m) clean holes with a live tower can reduce non-drilling time and, combined with taller benches, can greatly increase production capability.

The PV311 offers a narrow range of hole sizes, 9 – 12.25 in. (22.9 – 31.1 cm), thereby filling the gap between the hole ranges of the PV351 and the PV270. The PV311 also features a new operator cab, with a fully-adjustable chair with joystick, cab controls and improved operator visibility.

The PV311 offers drive train options with both Tier 4 and Tier 2 diesel engine alternatives. The two-speed hydraulic rotary head delivers 17,620 Nm of rotation torque at 140 rpm and 9490 Nm of rotation torque at 240 rpm. Hydraulic cylinders drive the cable feed system, and the patented automatic cable tensioning system reduces cable and rotary head guide wear by continually keeping the rotary head aligned and taut, cutting down on unscheduled maintenance time.

A multi-pass version of the PV311 – the PV316 – is now under development. The PV316 will drill to a depth of 295 ft (90 m), and is scheduled to be launched in 2013.

Atlas Copco also announced its acquisition of NewTech Drilling Products LLC, a US-based manufacturers of polycrystalline diamond compact drill bits. The acquisition broadens the company’s range of products for the mining and construction industries.


Amongst many other showcases, Caterpillar launched the Cat MD5150 track drill, which incorporates a proven rock drill, patented carousel rod changer, new cab and many other features that boost productivity and reduce operating costs.

The innovative carousel rod changer reduces set up time, while powerful dual-rod gripper and a unique gate design let the rod and gate move simultaneously, reducing cycle time.

The MD5150 has less than half as many moving parts as competitive rock drills and an automated lube system. This improves reliability and makes for easy maintenance.

The drill is powered by a Cat C11 engine, rated at 287 kW (385 hp) at 1800 rpm, which meets US Tier 3 and EU Stage IIIA emissions standards.

Caterpillar also showcased the MD6240, a rotary drill with a 24 t bit load force designed for high-drilling in hard- or soft-rock applications. The MD6240’s mast features double-cut lacing in high-stress areas to prevent cracking and extend life. It can be configured with a variety of power groups and two different air compressors designed to maximise efficiency by delivering the right amount of bailing air based on hole diameter, depth and material density. The MD6240 also has an FOPS-certified cab with 360° visibility, tinted safety glass windows, CCTV system, heating and air conditioning and low sound and vibration levels.

Joy Global

Operators cabs were a talking point of many new products, including the P&H 250XPC and 320 XPC drillings rigs from Joy Global. The company states that the superior FOPS level 2-certified design will increase blast hole production efficiency through greater operator comfort and improved drilling process control.

Improved features include better visibility, through expansive windows and video cameras and a mobile swivel chair. It also has shatter-proof glass, a user-friendly HVAC system and protects the operator from excess vibration and noise. The new cab environment is also available as an upgrade for existing P&H drilling rigs.

Adapted from press releases by Lauren Bryant.

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