Epiroc has introduced its new Automatic Bit Changer (ABC) for hands-free bit changes on Pit Viper 270 and Pit Viper 290 series drill rigs used in rotary drilling. The ABC 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 a drill fleet.
The ABC makes it possible for operators to complete hands-free drill 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 ABC optimises 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,” says Matthew Fosler, senior design engineer, Surface division.
Epiroc’s ABC 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 on-board bits, for flexibility and versatility on a drill site. Featured in the unique carousel design, the ABC 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.
Available for new drills and retrofit of drills already in the field, the ABC 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 optimised and retrofits for the working Pit Viper fleet are available.
Customising a Pit Viper 270 or Pit Viper 290 drill rig with the Automatic Bit Changer option offers many benefits for the operator. In addition to easing their workload, it 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.
By eliminating manual drill changes, increasing machine uptime and decreasing worker injuries, Epiroc’s ABC supports a more productive and profitable operation.
“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,” says 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.”