Sandvik’s latest battery-electric concept rig pushes the boundaries of emission-free surface drilling
AS decarbonization efforts accelerate across the surface mining sector, Sandvik have unveiled their second battery-electric concept surface drill rig. The BEV is the first in its size class, capable of drilling DTH holes up to 229mm (9in) in diameter and blending the autonomy of battery power with the continuous endurance of a power cable.
Electric surface rigs have long depended solely on a tethered cable as the power source, but with their second battery-electric surface concept, Sandvik are showcasing the latest technology advancements to push the potential of more sustainable surface drilling.
‘With the industry shifting towards intelligent, autonomous, and emission-free equipment, surface drill rigs need to be reinvented,’ said Lauri Laihanen, vice-president of R&D, Surface Drilling Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. ‘This new concept rig elevates electric surface drilling.’
The intelligent DTH rig’s battery pack provides power for up to one hour of drilling or up to seven hours of tramming. The battery is primarily intended for tramming and drilling individual holes, whilst the bulk of a pattern is carried out via power from the rig’s 180m tethered cable.
‘The battery means greater freedom and flexibility and more efficient use of time, as the rig can drill immediately while the cable is being set up,’ said Mr Laihanen.
Sandvik designed cable setup to be as effortless as possible. The cable tightens itself automatically according to the direction the rig is moved and is wound on a single layer, which allows a thinner, more manageable tether. An operating voltage as high as 1,000V also helps allow a lighter cable.
While Sandvik’s latest pioneering concept introduces battery-electric operation to a larger size class DTH drill, they say its subsystems and technologies are all tried and tested, mine-proven, and energy-efficient.
Sandvik introduced their smaller top-hammer battery-electric concept surface drill rig in May 2022, developed to support more sustainable drilling in construction applications.
‘Testing of the smaller concept with our construction customers has been very successful and produced valuable feedback,’ said Mr Laihanen. ‘We’ve learned a lot, and now it’s time to apply these learnings to surface mining, which has its own unique challenges.’
Sandvik will test their latest concept drill rig in real-world surface environments in close collaboration with mining and quarrying customers.
‘We need to identify the challenges, learn from them and share the knowledge,’ explained Mr Laihanen. ‘The shift towards more sustainable mining and quarrying will change the entire operating environment, and with the learnings from our latest concept rig, we can produce more value for our customers on their decarbonization journey. We’re excited to write the next chapter in surface drilling together.’