Canadian Mining Journal


DRILLS: Cat Command available for blasthole drills

A single operator can manage up to three drills from a safe distance using Cat Command for drilling.

PEORIA, Ill. – Cost-effective, high precision drilling gets your whole mining value chain off to a good start. Cat Command for drilling, a capability of the Cat MineStar technology suite, helps achieve excellent results through drill automation – which will ultimately reduce operating costs and improve productivity. From predrill planning to blasting, Command impacts the bottom line all the way through the crusher and mill.

Safety is enhanced because the autonomous system minimizes the risk of drilling into bootlegs that may contain undetonated explosive material. Improved containment of the explosive energy reduces the occurrence of fly rock and face venting of energy. The use of digital drill plans and remote operations enhances safety by reducing the number of survey and operating personnel needed on the bench.

High precision satellite guidance capabilities ensure that every blasthole is drilled exactly to the designed co-ordinates and desired floor elevation. The designed toe elevation is always met, regardless of surface variations, so each shot produces a smooth, level bench that saves wear and tear on tires, undercarriage and other equipment.

Automated drilling functions ensure consistent operation that maintains drill operation within ideal operating parameters, resulting in maximum bit life, reduced costs for consumables, longer machine life and lower maintenance costs. The machine never has an off day, performing at a level of consistency that promotes advanced logistics planning and improves sequencing of the drill operation in advance of digging and loading operations.

The high parallelism of holes at the designed spacing provides a consistent specific fragmentation size as permitted by the rock strata. Targeted fragmentation improves diggability, which improves cycle times and fill factors for buckets and trucks. This better controls the need for additional rock breaking, and maximizes crusher and milling efficiencies.

Cat Command automates the drilling cycle, enabling each operator to manage up to three machines. The system facilitates short breaks and quick shift changes while drilling continues, giving mines more working time and less idle time during every shift.

Because Cat Command allows one operator to manage up to three machines at once, labor costs are reduced. It also enables remote operations that reduce or eliminate the costs for operator travel and on-site housing. In addition, autonomous drill operations capture unused time at shift change and lunch breaks, resulting in greater drill utilization.

Automated drilling provides consistency to the planned design hole coordinates. Staying within optimum operating parameters results in quality holes that stand up without caving in. Holes are always drilled exactly to the target elevation, which eliminates wasted tool wear from over-drilling.

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