Epiroc introduces automatic bit changer for rotary drill rigs

Epiroc has launched an automatic bit changer for hands-free bit changes on the Pit Viper 270 and Pit Viper 290 series rigs […]
Epiroc’s automatic bit changer is a future-ready advance in autonomous drilling. Credit: Epiroc

Epiroc has launched an automatic bit changer for hands-free bit changes on the Pit Viper 270 and Pit Viper 290 series rigs used in rotary drilling. The automatic bit changer option is designed to change rotary tricone bits significantly faster than manual exchanges and eliminates human interaction with the drill string for a safer, more efficient way to operate.

The automatic bit changer makes it possible for operators to complete bit changes with the single touch of a button and to stay informed on their screen. Operators can make or break joints, select drill bits and add or remove them. This can be done from either a remotely based control room or from the comfort of the cab. The automatic bit changer optimizes productivity and efficiency of the drilling operation and improves safety by eliminating exposure to live work environments.

“The early collaboration with customers and cross-functional teams resulted in an auto bit changer that is repeatable, keeps the operator out of the line of fire and improves machine uptime,” said Matthew Fosler, senior design engineer, surface division.

Epiroc’s automatic bit changer decreases downtime and eases operator workloads. The carousel design allows up to four bits to be easily changed significantly faster and safer than a single manual exchange. The removable bit carousel can store rotary tricone bits in varying sizes and cutting structure, for a total of four onboard bits, for flexibility and versatility on a drill site. Featured in the unique carousel design, the automatic bit changer gives users the ability to safely replace the worn drill bits with a range of bit types and sizes from a safe distance without exposure to live work.

The automatic changer also reduces the possibility of human error, injuries related to heavy lifting, lost time on manual adjustments, accidents and exposure to dust and noise. Eliminating these live work tasks is crucial in the mining industry.

Available for new drills and retrofit of drills already in the field, the automatic bit changer is easy to maintain, and its compact, above-deck design takes up less space in comparison to competitors’ designs. The above-deck design ensures maintenance procedures are simpler and safer to perform, operator viewing angles are optimized, and retrofits for the working Pit Vipers are available.

“Through its development and trial, the automatic bit changer has proven to be the safest and most efficient way to change bits that is currently available,” said Carla Chaname, product manager, automation, surface division. “It has been truly an honour to be a part of this product’s development and I cannot wait to see the impact it will make in our industry.”

Visit the Epiroc automatic bit changer product page at www.epiroc.com/automaticbitchanger.

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