The drill was also designed to contain the least amount of moving parts for enhanced reliability. “With its robust and durable construction, maintenance costs are kept at comparable levels to existing costs,” says O’Connor. Other advantages of the product, include improvements of in-stope visibility and faster drilling rates, hence reduced time spent on the stope face. “This results in an everyday blast and increased productivity,” claims O’Connor. According to O’Connor, a standard unmuffled pneumatic drill produces noise levels of between 113 dB and 117 dB. “The noise produced by the Adds, however, is reduced significantly to acceptable standards – between 100 dB and 103 dB – as tested by Sulzer,” says O’Connor. “The drill also meets stringent safety requirements and is a product that is beneficial to both the environment and the people that use it. “It is also more productive than the conventional rockdrill, does not require oil for lubrication and does not contaminate the orebody,” adds O’Connor.
The drill has been rigourously tested at the Impala Platinum 2A shaft, the Union section decline 4B and the Tau Lekoa, where it drilled more than 1 600 m between breakdowns. When compared to other rockdrilling machines in the same shaft and at the same conditions, the Adds drilled a 2,1 m hole in half the time of that of a conventional pneumatic rockdrill. For a 1,5-m hole at the Union shaft, the Adds drilled the same hole in two thirds of the time taken by the conventional rockdrill. A further advantage that the drill possesses for the platinum-mining industry is that there is no oil interference in the flotation process which may well lead to larger yields from this process.
Sulzer has received substantial orders from quarries and mines. “This product represents an exciting step forward for the mining industry and reflects our commitment to developing products and processes which will enhance miner safety and mine productivity,” says O’Connor.