Epiroc’s AutoDrill 2 exemplifies the sustainability power of 6th Sense

In its Sustainability Report for 2019 released today, Epiroc reviewed its progress as a company in many areas, including digitalisation and how it relates to sustainability performance. The company launched 6th Sense in 2019, a new solution that optimises processes by connecting machines, systems and people. “6th Sense is our way to optimise customers’ processes by connecting machines, systems and people. Examples range from installing a fully autonomous SmartROC D65 surface drill rig for Newmont Goldcorp in Canada to supporting the digitalisation of Pucobre’s mining operations in Chile. The solutions increase safety, boost productivity, reduce the environmental impact and improve work conditions.”

The company went on to highlight an example of what the 6th Sense approach can achieve. Epiroc’s biggest drill rig range covers the Pit Vipers, used to drill blast holes over large surface areas. An operator, using the patented AutoDrill solution, can easily set a hole’s target depth and then, with the push of a few buttons, the machine will drill the hole autonomously. The original AutoDrill has been deployed on hundreds of Pit Vipers, boosting customer productivity. “The popular system was then redesigned, making a good thing great. The upgraded AutoDrill 2 further improves drilling performance, cuts costs for the mining customer, and does less harm to the environment. This is one example of how our 6th Sense solutions make customers more productive.”

All the knowledge from developing the Pit Vipers has gone into ensuring the upgraded auto drilling system delivers speed, quality and consistency hole after hole, shift after shift. “By matching the Pit Viper’s power and the bit’s capability with the intelligence from listening to the ground using proprietary algorithms, the system is taking drilling to a new level. AutoDrill 2 ensures high penetration rates without sacrificing bit life and reducing drilling costs.”

Epiroc adds: “It has been a product offering for a few years, and as word spread in the mining community the upgraded system really gained popularity in 2018 and 2019. No wonder when looking at the hard data. For the Pit Viper PV 351, it cuts the time to drill a hole to desired depth by a whopping 25.4%. For example, a customer who previously used a PV 351 for 6,000 hours in a year to drill 350,000 m of holes now only needs 4,476 hours to achieve the same. This means less fuel consumed and less CO2 emissions. For all the Pit Vipers that have deployed the AutoDrill 2, a total of more than 13.6 million litres of diesel fuel and more than 36,000 tons of CO2 have been saved. Now that is powerful . This is what 6th Sense is all about.”