An extraordinary design for extreme conditions

When Sandvik Mining designed the first of its new-generation rotary blasthole drills, it ranked performance and operator ergonomics as the most important criteria to ensure that the machine performed in extreme conditions.

The gigantic man-made holes known as open pit mines are as spectacular as they are extreme. Serious machinery is needed for the vast amount of earth moving that goes on in mines that operate around the clock, often in remote areas where the weather can be blisteringly hot or frigid cold. It is in these kinds of environments that much of the most advanced Sandvik Mining equipment, including its new DR461i rotary drill rig, finds a natural home.

A drill for all seasons
Sandvik DR461i was developed from the current Sandvik DR460 drill rig that is produced in Alachua, Florida, in the US. Sandvik DR461i is a diesel-powered, self-propelled crawler-mounted blasthole drill for bulk mining operations. It is intended for use around the world, and is equally at home in mines from Africa to North America.

Sandvik DR461i is equipped for drilling in rotary or DTH (down-the-hole) configuration for 229 to 270 millimetre (9 to 10-5/8 inch) diameter holes. Sandvik DR461i is a rugged design ideal for drilling in hard rock applications.

“Rugged though the new machine is, our concern has been to pay a lot of attention to operator ergonomics as well as create a layout that makes service and maintenance as safe and simple as possible,” says Ken Stapylton, vice president Surface Drilling. He notes that it took Sandvik design engineers some 18 months to design and build a prototype.

“Our ambition from the start was to deliver maximum peace of mind to the owner by ensuring they got a more energy-efficient machine that performed consistently over its operating life,” Stapylton says.

Tech specs

In optional configurations, the drill comes as a Single Pass drill capable of an 18-metre (59-foot) hole depth in one pass. The drill is also offered in a Multi-Pass configuration with a maximum depth of 75 metres (246 feet). The standard hydraulic motor and chain feed delivers up to 356 kN (80,000 lbf) maximum pull-down and bit load up to 400 kN (90,000 lbf) for great penetration rate even in hard rock formations. Sandvik DR461i uses the new Sandvik S46HD heavy-duty blasthole undercarriage designed specifically for the tramming of mining-industry drilling machines, as opposed to the traditional excavator-type undercarriage.

Efficient and practical
Sandvik DR461i boasts the company’s patented Compressor Management System (CMS) that matches the air supply to the required demand, but not as a mechanical function that generates significant amounts of heat. The CMS is an innovation that delivers up to 30 percent improvement in fuel efficiency as well as a longer working life as wear and tear is reduced.

One clear competitive advantage delivered by the new Sandvik DR461i over competing rotary drills is its ergonomically designed cab with “all in the seat” drilling and tramming controls that maximize operator comfort and productivity, day in and day out.

“Operators tend to work 12-hour shifts, so it is vital we make life as comfortable and easy as possible for them and thereby increase their efficiency,” Stapylton says. Operators sit in a FOPS-certified (falling object protective structure) operator’s cab. The cab is air-conditioned and pressurized, with sound insulation to 80 dB(A) or less. It boasts fully tinted windows slanted at 5 degrees to aid heat reduction, and the safari-style roof adds another layer of heat protection.

Intelligent design with safety in mind
Sandvik is dedicated to bringing its products into the future of drilling with the new Sandvik DR461i, by standardizing the systems and controls and using its own Sandvik Intelligent Control Architecture (SICA) system. Sandvik DR461i has taken full advantage of the evolution of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) to make this machine more user-friendly. This system has self-diagnostics, and the end users’ peace of mind is enhanced by interlocks for safety protection and a focus on maintenance.

Sandvik DR461i builds on the company’s renowned emphasis on safety and takes it to the next level, adding more walkways for better serviceability and access with open serrated grip strut material. The grating is laid in the direction of foot traffic so that mud falls through, making it self-cleaning.

All handrails and decking comply with the Australian standards AS1657 and MDG-15. An optional extra is to fit a self-levelling main access stairway so that no matter what height the machine is sitting at, the steps stay parallel to the ground.

Sandvik DR461i has been designed with various safety standards and best practices from around the world firmly in mind. These include MDG 15 and 41 (Guideline for Mobile and Transportable Equipment in Mines, New South Wales), EMESRT (Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table) and CE (Conformity Marking for products sold in the European Economic Area). A further benefit for owners and operators is that Sandvik DR461i shares components with the supplier’s well-established existing underground drills, which will speed and ease service and maintenance.

“We realized operator comfort has the potential to deliver great dividends for our customers, and that’s one reason our new machine enables closer interaction between operator and machine,” Stapylton says. “Sandvik DR461i has proven technology that we’re convinced will make it a natural first choice for any owner seeking improved machine and operator efficiency.”

Text: Turkka Kulmala