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Drilling made easy

June 5, 2015

By developing new and innovative laboratory test equipment, Rocktec has achieved significant efficiency improvements.

Rocktec drill testing

For Atlas Copco, testing rock drills used to be based on one big assumption: that drills must be tested under real conditions to evaluate their quality and performance. But one division was not satisfied with the way things had always been done, and found a way to significantly improve efficiency by developing innovative new laboratory test equipment.

“Our aim was to reduce the time that we spend testing equipment in the field, because it comes with high costs and is quite time consuming,” says Lars Persson, R&D Manager at Rocktec, the division responsible for developing core components in the Mining and Rock Excavation Technique business area. “With previous laboratory test equipment, we could only test machines with relatively low drilling output power. That was our challenge.”

Rocktec assembled a three-person team that worked with engineering students from Sweden’s Linköping University to evaluate “artificial rock,” a means of absorbing the drilling power hydraulically. Previous testing equipment had used mechanical energy absorbers, which required regular maintenance and the replacement of parts.

Eventually two new hydraulic test benches were installed in the Rocktec laboratory, with impressive results. The new equipment tested the drills with output powers of up to 50 kW, compared with a maximum of about 20 kW in the older setup. The results achieved in a week would have taken about six weeks in the field.

“This could significantly shorten the time to market for new hydraulic rock drills,” Persson says. “Now we can run for 100 hours with hardly any maintenance. Earlier, the same tests would cost much more and the efficiency wouldn’t be as good. In the future, I think field tests will only be necessary to get acceptance for new products from the customers.”

The Rocktec division develops and manufactures rock drills, components and systems exclusively for the Underground Rock Excavation and Surface Drilling Equipment divisions.

At its modern laboratory and research center in Örebro, Sweden, services are provided to all divisions within the Construction Technique and Mining and Rock Excavation Technique business areas.

Written by Atlas Copco

Global Rock drills Value creation Efficiency Mining Research and development Testing Rock excavation