Tag Archives: IMDEX MUD AID

IMDEX accelerates cloud-connected solutions on COVID-19-related demand

IMDEX says interest in its cloud-connected technologies has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, the positive effect of which will flow through for the next 10 years.

There has been strong interest in IMDEX’s software technologies including IMDEX HUB-IQ™, IMDEX MUD AID™ and IMDEX IoGas™, it said, with registrations for webinars on digital workflow and training for data-related products having jumped.

Adoption of IMDEX EZ-TRAC™, a digital downhole survey instrument that uploads data to IMDEX HUB-IQ, has also doubled in the past 12 months, according to the company.

IMDEX Chief Executive, Paul House, said the new ways of working had accelerated the adoption of some of its products and training services by as much as 12 months.

“Things like our online training platform, IMDEX Academy; we had this training platform available to our employees but not our clients at the beginning of COVID-19,” House said. “It was an important project to us, but it wasn’t urgent. When COVID-19 came along, it went from being important to being urgent, and it accelerated both that product’s development and the time to market almost overnight.”

IMDEX is at least 12 months ahead on the rollout of its online training platform because of the adoption rate during the pandemic, it said.

Registrations for webinars and training related to digital products have increased significantly, with the most recent webinar on digital workflow attracting about 500 registrations, compared with previous webinars with no more than 100, IMDEX said.

House says IMDEX can move the knowledge base of the industry quickly.

“It’s a conversation in the marketplace, it validates our leadership position and our domain knowledge ownership, it’s transformational for us and that will pay off for us for the next 10 years,” he said.

“Where would usually have to ask customers to consider a change in behaviour, to take a leap of faith, all of those things are being pulled into the market rather than pushed. The processes that are being disrupted have a solution, which is some of our IMDEX solutions.”

House concluded: “We always say once you have started working with our solutions, you won’t go back. So, the adoption rate is faster, and the conversation rate is locked in.”

Making the most of cloud-connected drilling tech during COVID-19

Drilling contractors and resource companies impacted by COVID-19 restrictions can continue to operate by using cloud-connected sensors that deliver and analyse critical data, according to IMDEX.

Despite restrictions disrupting travel and work, IMDEX says key staff can still make time-critical decisions backed by accurate data delivered in real-time.

IMDEX says most of its clients have indicated they intend to keep operating while working within government-imposed restrictions in each region globally, and with the main priority of keeping their workers safe.

“People are still trying to work,” IMDEX Structural-IQ Global Product Manager, Nick Payne, said. “We are working with all our clients to find solutions to keep them operating and safe in these difficult circumstances.”

Existing IMDEX clients using a range of instruments already have access to the IMDEXHUB-IQ™, which the company says is a secure, cloud-based portal for validating field data transmitted from the drill rig.

IMDEXHUB-IQ Global Product Manager, Tara Bennett-Connell, said this was the perfect time to access, review and take time to analyse data, using IMDEXHUB-IQ.

It is ideal for applications across the exploration life cycle, providing efficient drill hole and sample data management, from daily reporting and QA requirements to structural logging, survey, and geochemical analysis, according to the company.

While IMDEX HUB-IQ was available free to clients already using IMDEX tools, some companies were still opting to use tools where data was being transferred via email and USBs, according to Bennett-Connell.

“More secure, efficient and reliable methods are available, and when you can’t get access to the data through those old methods, it’s time to change,” she said.

IMDEX clients were assured of data security, it said, with IMDEX HUB-IQ having been certified against the rigorous standards of ISO/IEC 27001:2013, an international information security standard recognised in 161 countries.

Other IMDEX technologies that can keep clients working from home include geochemistry and structural geology analytics instrument IMDEX ioGAS™. This is an exploratory data analysis software application that enables users to perform exploratory data analysis, machine learning and predictive analytics, according to the company.

The software can be used in conjunction with REFLEX IQ-Logger™ and IMDEX MUD AID™, IMDEX says.

Payne said now was the right time to consolidate and verify structural data collected by the Reflex IQ-Logger and available in the IMDEXHUB-IQ, and conduct a rigorous structural assessment using IMDEX ioGAS, all of which can be done while working from home.

“Drill programs can be re-assessed and modified, with the new plan available in the IMDEXHUB-IQ for when drilling resumes,” IMDEX said.

Payne said the critical difference for clients using IMDEX ioGAS was that licences could be altered to allow operators to use it on PCs.

“More than half of the people who have IMDEX ioGAS have a server-based licence,” Payne said. “If you cannot access your server, we can change the licence to your PC, and you can keep working.”

It is not just geological data delivery and interpretation that IMDEX solutions can provide for remote scenarios, the company says. IMDEX MUD AID is a remotely monitored, automated in-field diagnosis unit which enables remote assessment of drilling fluids, negating the need for a mud engineer on-site, according to the company.

Avoiding hit and miss drilling programs

As mining companies go further afield and explore under cover to replace diminished reserves, deep directional drilling on existing sites is increasingly becoming part of their campaigns, according to IMDEX.

There is plenty to consider before embarking on a drilling program, including traps in chasing the cheapest price if it fails to deliver, by not hitting the target.

IMDEX Global Lead, Directional Drilling, Kelvin Brown, and General Manager, Product Development, Dr Michelle Carey, discussed the issues in a recent webinar, ‘Directional Drilling: Strategies and technologies to stay on target and not blow your budget’.

Dr Carey said statistics revealed that directional drilling was increasing and is estimated to grow to around 20% of a drilling program.

“As we all know, it’s getting harder and harder to make discoveries,” Dr Carey said. “A lot of the reason for that is that increasingly we’re having to go under cover.

“What that means, in reality, is that instead of going into a greenfield site, people are going to their existing deposit to start drilling plans. Rapidly you find yourself in a situation where you are drilling quite deep holes, and you’re drilling quite deep holes where you have a target in mind.

“The other thing is the cost of drilling is going up, so we’re actually getting less bang for our buck.

“So really what we need are technologies and approaches that allow us to control cost as we drill deeper, and really balance out cost versus risk. It is not just about low cost – if it means you do not hit your target. It becomes increasingly important that we all know how to do it well.”

Dr Carey and Brown discussed a range of technologies and products designed to increase drilling productivity and efficiencies, including drilling fluids.

“There is an amazing amount of technology available now to help you in your cause of optimising your drilling program. It’s drilling with data,” Dr Carey said. “This is all technology that people have available to them now.

“In directional drilling, we offer downhole motors, one of a number of different technologies for directional drilling which has the combined advantage of flexibility and driller operability. You have got the fluids, which can be critical to how successfully your program runs and IMDEX MUD AID™, which allows you to monitor that.

“And, complementing the fluids, you’ve got a solids removal unit which, again, is optimising your fluid system, removing cuttings, things like that contribute heavily to how successful your drilling program is.”

The other critical technology in directional drilling is the survey tool. Brown said selecting the right survey instruments that could quickly provide the best data, faster, translated into a lower cost.

“The sooner you have it, the sooner you can make a better decision,” he said.

And, for Dr Carey, that means using the data to alter the drilling plan, if required, rather than “blindly going forward” with the initial plan.

“It’s incredibly important that you know when to pause when certain things happen and say, ‘here was our plan, but now we have some data and our plan has changed; let’s step back, plan again and go forward’,” she said.

Brown added: “You need to pay attention to the data. If the hole goes on and it is not going where it needs to go, it won’t fix itself.”

A good relationship with the drilling contractor is also essential, with Brown saying some contracts appear to have “punishment clauses” for failing to hit the target.

That approach has unintended consequences, according to Dr Carey.

“It actually causes people to cheat,” she said. To start manufacturing survey data to ensure they stay within the target zone and that is not the outcome you want.

“Another thing we do see sometimes is that people might have contracts put in front of them with what looks like an attractive rate for doing deep drilling and directional drilling; in fact it looks so attractive that you know they are not going to be able to get the job done for those price tags. Although it seems tempting to sign up to those contracts, you are not doing yourself any favours.”

Brown said: “Things look simple when everything is bundled into a cost per metre, but when it comes to directional drilling everyone needs to understand that there is a time component and you have to be conscious of that.

“If it is about hitting the target, it’s about hitting the target. There is no point having a cheap hole that misses the target.”