Our technical team in Northern Ontario had an interesting request a while ago during an onsite visit. The mining company they were visiting was a longtime customer with multiple mines. The mine was one of the largest in the world and a large player in the area. With a lot business already done, and an excellent relationship developed over 25 years, the customer would often consult with us when it came to anything to do with coring challenges. During this particular visit, they asked if we could come up with a procedure and the necessary tooling to be able to get core using unconventional drill rigs such as a jumbo drill or a bolter.
In applications using these machines, the jumbo drill comes in and drills a series of holes to be packed with explosives to blast the rock in an underground drift and then a bolter arrives to bolt in ground support. A jumbo uses high pressure air and a little water to do its job, similar to a diamond drill rig but it rotates to the left, counter-clockwise, while the diamond drill rotate clockwise to the right. The bolter also rotates to counter-clockwise so they had the diamond drill as the only machine going clockwise.
The problem facing the customer was that they needed a short core sample after the blast to check the ground conditions and there is no diamond drill nearby. Getting that small core sample of only 20 inches would mean having to pull a diamond drill away from another operation which was not feasible. The question became how to use what was available to cut the core they needed.
Our technical team realized that the largest obstacle facing the customer was the direction of the drilling done by the jumbo and bolter. The economical solution would be to craft the required tooling to rotate counter-clockwise and use the machines that were already on the site. So the team developed a left-rotating conventional core barrel, core bit, drill rods and adaptors with left rotating threads that could be used on either of the two machines.
With this new left-handed equipment, there would be no need to bring in a diamond drill to collect the core sample. The bolter would be able to do this with the newly developed equipment. The jumbo and bolter are very different than a diamond drill so the technical team also made sure to explain the differences between all the drill rigs to ensure the best outcome.
Sometimes a new solution involves creative thinking and a good partner who can create the equipment to make it happen. In a previous blog, we’ve already seen how large diameter equipment can be made. Our technical team’s members are experts in finding solutions to drilling challenges and have decades of experience between them. Contact them if you want advice or need a creative solution to a problem because their goal is to improve drilling performance and make drilling easier.