The team from Ausdrill has recently commissioned two new MD6310 drills breaking ground at the Middlemount Coal Mine.
In 2019 Ausdrill secured a three-year contract with Middlemount Coal for drill and blast operations, setting the team in motion to source the right machinery to deliver on the project.
Ausdrill selected the Cat MD6310 drills which started a journey of approximately 100 days, traveling from the United States to Central Queensland to commence work earlier this year.
Eric Gobbert, Ausdrill’s Operations Manager at Middlemount Coal Mine said, as a leader in the industry, Ausdrill was always looking at how technology could improve both safety and productivity to provide increased value for its clients.
“One of the things that attracted us to the Cat crawler mounted MD6310 drill was its advanced electronics, its ability to integrate with our systems and its scalable automation potential,”
Mr. Gobbert said.
“Working hand in hand with the client’s database, along with our onboard system, the CAT Terrain system integrates all of the data and analytics that are required to manage the contract in a fluid and seamless way.”
Caterpillar’s Terrain for the drilling system helps to guide the drill for greater pattern accuracy. This ensures that every hole is accurately placed and drilled to plan. The advanced Cat Terrain is built around a high precision GPS system focused on accurate hole placement, depth, and angle. The advanced technology also feeds back crucial strata data to assist in the accurate placement of explosives within the hole.
The focus on accuracy in drilling and blasting helps to make every other aspect of the mining operation smoother, safer, and more productive. Even minor deviations from the pattern can have a big impact, resulting in a higher cost per ton for the entire operation.
Mr. Gobbert said that Ausdrill also planned to leverage the autonomous potential of the drills to improve drilling efficiencies and operational performance on site.
“Not only are these machines capable of reaching 74.6 metres in depth at a 270mm diameter, but the technology provides us with the opportunity to improve safety and productivity.”
“Caterpillar and Hastings Deering have a history of delivering successful machines and that in turn gives us confidence that we will be able to deliver the project for our customers.”
With high precision and more accurate hole tracking, Cat drills have been designed with autonomy in mind. Building on the precision of terrain for drilling, the MD6310 allows operators to choose the level of automation to suit the application.
Jason Garea, Mining Account Manager at Hastings Deering said that the drill comes out of the factory with the basic functionality of the Cat electronic system, with all the building blocks to take on full autonomy.
“With one push of a button this machine gives the option to use auto drill functions, auto level functions, and auto mast up, which protects the drill and decreases cycle times. This means more bottom-line dollars for the client,” he said.
“In terms of automation, we go from the semi-automated functions into the line of sight operation, with both single and multi-pass drilling, the next block is to go to full autonomy where the machine will drill a whole row by itself. Eventually, we will then build the machines into a multi-pass, multi-row capability,” said Mr. Garea.
With temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius onsite, the Hastings Deering team of assembly specialists, constructed the mast, calibrated the machine, and carried out the final commissioning of the machines in December 2019.
“The Hastings Deering team has supported us through this process and the transition on to the site and we look forward to working with them together in the future,” said Mr. Gobbert.
Source: Hastings Deering