WA-based plant hire business Plantman Equipment has launched a semi-autonomous drill rod handler, which it says significantly reduces one of the biggest safety risks in blast hole drilling operations.
Plantman’s Mack Metroliner 8×4 Crane Truck is fitted with a semi-autonomous drill rod handler, eliminating the need for any manual handling of drill rods.
The system was engineered by Ezyload and manufactured by Airdrill – both Australian companies.
“The manual handling of drill rods is considered one of the most dangerous activities on mine sites,” Plantman said this week.
“The development of semi-autonomous mining equipment has created considerable benefits for operator welfare and safety in other high risk jobs but, until now, not for the manual and labour intensive process of winching drill rods into drill rigs.”
The system enables drill rods to be transported to the drill rig and changed on the drill bench completely hands-free, the distributor explained.
It features a remote control system, allowing the operator to mechanically load and unload the drill rod from the tower frame at a distance and without any physical contact.
“[The system] dramatically decreases the number of personnel in the work area and reduces the risk of incidents caused by human error,” Plantman said.
Plantman managing director Michael Elliot said he’s “all too aware” of the importance of safety when it comes to operating equipment.
“Safety is a key consideration on any mine site,” Elliot said. “Semi-autonomous equipment developments, such as this automated drill rod handler, provide a huge advancement in operator safety.”
Prior to its release, the truck was trialled at BHP’s Eastern Ridge site in Newman, WA.
Source from here