Productivity written in stone with drill rigs from Atlas Copco

July 8, 2015

Levantina of Spain – the multinational producer of natural stone – has increased productivity at its Pinoso limestone quarry in Spain with a drill rig fleet from Atlas Copco.

The Girodrill EVO drills a marble block at the Pinoso quarry in Alguena.

In the international dimension stone industry, Levantina of Spain is a well-known name. The company operates more than 60 quarries, including the largest marble site in the world, El Coto Crema Marfil in Pinoso, Alicante.

Since it was founded in 1959, Levantina has grown continuously and has undergone significant international expansion. Today it has a global presence and is regarded in the dimension stone industry as a benchmark for quality, innovation, technology and sustainability.

As part of its sustainability strategy, Levantina insists on using the most advanced technology available to extract the stone blocks and process products with the emphasis on energy efficiency, saving and recycling water and respect for the environment. As a result, all of the equipment used at its quarries is carefully chosen to meet these criteria.

The company’s Pinoso limestone quarry in Alguena near Alicante in southern Spain is a typical example. It is one of the biggest quarries of its kind in the world producing more than 1 000 m3 of stone per day with a workforce of 250 and a fleet of four drill rigs from Atlas Copco.

Productivity boosters

These rigs, from the Perfora range, now a part of the Atlas Copco Group, include a Girodrill EVO and a Girodrill 200, the latter clocking up more than 2 000 hours in just over seven months. Not only are they fast and efficient, they are run autonomously which has significantly contributed to the quarry’s productivity.

Quarry Manager Jesús Pérez de la Muela explains: “We’ve seen an increase in our productivity thanks to these machines. As they have their own compressors we can use a small pneumatic hammer to open the drilled benches, making it completely autonomous. No other supporting equipment is needed to start drilling the blocks.

“In addition, all rack movements are controlled by remote radio control for added safety. This has increased the production cycle by about 20 percent and the noise levels are much better as well.”

Inclined benches can be dangerous to work on with pneumatic drills. The Girodrills, each of which can easily match the performance of three pneumatic rigs, are equipped with a multiple positioning movement, allowing for safe bench drilling even in difficult working conditions as well as at night.

José Deltell, Levantina’s Production Manager, adds: “A big advantage with the Girodrill is its self-sufficiency. I don’t need other equipment to support it or to run hoses to supply it with air. The production to consumption ratio has been much improved. Earlier, to achieve this level of production we needed about twelve drill rods per month. Now, with the Girodrill, we only need two to produce the same amount.” With the cost of drill steel averaging 75 euros/unit, savings are substantial.

Deltell continues: “We achieve very high levels of productivity with 1 600 to 1 700 linear drilled meters in two eight hour shifts. And that’s more than seven hours of productive drilling out of the eight hours that the engine is running with a fuel consumption of just 105 to 110 liters!

“These are very profitable figures. We can produce eighty cubic meters per day with just one machine so we are extremely satisfied.”

Expanding the fleet

Levantina now plans to increase its capacity even further by adding more Perfora rigs to the fleet. The company plans to order three more units in 2013 followed by another five in 2014.

Meanwhile, tests are being carried out with a Perfora SpeedCut wire saw. These are also proving positive, achieving 21 m2/hour compared to the 10 to 13 m2/hour of previous equipment. If these early results continue, Levantina plans to extend SpeedCut technology to other quarries in the group.

Quarry Manager de la Muela concludes: “We are always looking to increase productivity and we trust the Perfora range from Atlas Copco to bring to us the best equipment for exploring the dimension stone industry.”

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