With the arrival of the very first Pantera™ DP1600i, customers in southern Africa can now expect to drill larger holes of up to 178 mm using a top hammer drill rig. The end result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption and total drilling costs compared to down-the-hole (DTH) drilling.
That top hammer drills have always been limited in terms of hole sizes is no overstatement. To provide context, the previous Pantera DP1500i – Sandvik’s legacy machine – could only drill holes up to 152 mm in diameter, and anything beyond that would traditionally call for a DTH drilling alternative.
“By considerably expanding the hole size range of previous top hammer drills, the Pantera DP1600i challenges traditional DTH drilling on large quarries and surface mines,” says Vanessa Hardy, BLM for Surface Mining at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.
“In extensive field tests, the machine has proven to be a faster, fuel efficient and cost-effective alternative to DTH drilling in hard, competent rock formations. Where DTH drills typically use substantial amounts of energy to fracture the rock, the top hammer system uses less energy to get the job done,” adds Hardy.
Central to the machine’s capabilities are the three key components of the system – the Pantera DP1600i drill rig, the RD1840C rock drill and the new LT90 rock tools – which are all optimised to work seamlessly for optimal drilling results.
“The new Pantera DP1600i drill rig is based on the proven Pantera DPi series platform. Together with the powerful RD1840C rock drill and robust LT90 rock tools, the end result is extreme capacity for a large hole size, without increasing the actual physical rig footprint,” says Hardy.
The machine has already proven itself in many locations around the world including Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, South America and West Africa, where it has been deployed in a variety of open pit conditions with great operational outcomes.
Results from field tests have shown a 50% reduction in fuel consumption, 25% reduction in total drilling costs and a 15% increase in productivity, compared with the DTH drilling method under specific controlled conditions.
Apart from efficiency and productivity, the Pantera DP1600i places a premium on safety, a principal parameter in the mining industry. The machine’s ability to support high-level automation solutions speaks directly to the need to remove operators out of harm’s way, thus maximising safety on site.
“With ease of operation in mind, Sandvik chose to base the machine on its already proven DPi series platform. Consequently, operating the machine is just as easy and efficient as the existing DP1100i and DP1500i models,” says Hardy. “Servicing and maintenance requirements are also similar to the previous models. Thus, service technicians who are well versed with the previous DPi models can easily work on the DP1600i with minimal to no training required.”