Tag Archives: Mark Jones

Dando Drilling officially launches Infinity Range of rigs

Dando Drilling International has officially launched its Infinity Range of drilling rigs, bringing with it a new modular and scalable way of manufacturing rigs for the mineral exploration, water well and geotechnical drilling sectors.

Launched in the presence of the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper (pictured in the centre), on July 1, the event – attended by IM – saw Pyper and Mark Jones, Managing Director of Dando (pictured left), unveil a plaque to commemorate the occasion. It was followed by a visit from the Right Honourable Nicolas Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton and Minister of State (Education), on July 2.

UK-based Dando has created a centralised design across the drilling sectors, which can be scaled up or down, and fitted with the appropriate equipment for each application with its Infinity Range.

This new approach to rig design allows Dando to offer multiple variations including pullback capacity, undercarriage type, engine power and options of auxiliary equipment, without rigs needing to be designed and engineered almost from scratch.

“The Infinity Range incorporates Dando’s ‘bespoke’ mantle while maximising the use of ‘off-the-shelf’ components enabling the company to accelerate the build and delivery time of its rigs, whilst improving safety and reducing environmental impact,” the company said. “The range also includes new Sonic and Multitec rigs and various rod handling options, further providing the ability to meet customer demands and requirements and enhancing safety.”

Among a plethora of options aboard these new rigs is the incorporation of two engines – a larger one to power the compressor and smaller one for the hydraulics – the ability to operate the rigs via radio remote control; and tracked/crawler, trailer, skid or truck/pickup undercarriage.

Mark Jones, Managing Director of Dando Drilling International, said: “During the past year, Dando has been responsive and adaptive to change, with the outcome being our industry-leading design which offers versatility, cost efficiency and shorter lead times. The Infinity Range showcases the very best of British engineering and, with almost infinite permutations across the key drilling sectors, enables us to deliver our customers truly bespoke rigs.

“With over 150 years of experience in the drilling industry, along with the best of modern engineering, Dando’s new Infinity Range applies innovation to its robust rig design to create a sustainable model of rig manufacturing for the future.”

The company is currently in the process of constructing the first Infinity rig for a water well customer in Ethiopia. There are expectations the Infinity Range will also catch on in the exploration sector given there are many existing Multitec rigs in use across the globe at projects.

Dando Drilling balances modularity with customisation with Infinity Range of rigs

UK-based Dando Drilling International has announced the launch of its new Infinity Range for the mineral exploration, water well and geotechnical drilling sectors. The Infinity Range uses a modular rig design that allows Dando to create bespoke rigs for its clients at competitive prices.

The new rigs allow multiple variations including the mounting, engine size and various options of auxiliary equipment, all at, the company says, competitive pricing and delivered on an efficient timeline. The attached image shows Chief Design Engineer, Luke Palmer in front of a screen of renders for the new rig design.

In addition to serving the aforementioned sectors, Dando’s Infinity Range offers a new series of Multitec rigs to allow customers to service different drilling sectors through the simple change of hydraulic components.

“Dando’s Infinity Range was designed with three main principles in mind: versatility, shorter lead times and cost efficiency, whilst improving safety and reducing environmental impact,” the company said.

Contractors and companies often need rigs for specific projects with challenging terrains, drilling depths and drilling techniques. Dando’s Infinity Range can be used for projects of varying sizes and geographies, providing a “one-stop shop” for any drilling needs, the company said. The range also includes new Sonic rigs and various rod handling options, providing customers with the ability to meet their demanding requirements.

The Infinity Range has been designed in such a way that Dando is able to take one rig and simply enhance or fit various components including mast options, rotary heads, engines, pumps and mounting options and, along with personalisation through paint customisation, create rigs that are bespoke to each client. The range also incorporates the latest engine designs and offers EU Stage V engines options for all machines.

“Designing and manufacturing specific rigs for specific jobs can often be an expensive exercise,” Dando said. “With the new Infinity Range design, Dando can use one design which is then totally customisable, allowing clients to be in control of the specifications and the cost.”

Mark Jones, Managing Director of Dando Drilling International, said: “I am delighted to introduce Infinity Range, created by our brilliant team of designers and engineers. The industry-leading design was created with our customers in mind, offering versatility, cost efficiency and shorter lead times. With almost infinite permutations, Dando’s Infinity Range offers truly bespoke rigs.”

Back in December, Jones told IM that the first of the company’s new rigs to be built this year will have certain features that stand out from the average drill rig on the market.

Dando to solidify industry reputation with new standout rig features

A change in management and direction is revitalising a more than 150-year-old drilling company serving the mineral exploration, water well, geotechnical, geothermal and offshore sectors.

Established in 1867, Dando Drilling International has made a name for itself with robust and customised drill rigs built to withstand the harshest of environments.

Mark Jones, Managing Director of Dando, has an anecdote or two to reinforce this.

“I was in Ethiopia in February and visited the country’s geological survey,” he told IM. “They were still successfully operating a Dando rig from the 1980s!”

Jones and Dando Chairman, Mark Slater, entered the company’s HQ on the south coast of England last year to head up the firm. This followed the acquisition of the company by a consortium of UK-based investors who took on the outfit from Canada-based Energold Drilling Group.

After getting his feet under the table, Jones, former Managing Director of Ingersoll-Rand in South Africa and CEO of numerous mining and exploration firms, set about revitalising the company’s fortunes.

Mark Jones, Managing Director of Dando

Part of his strategy was tied to bringing manufacturing capacity back in-house.

The company went some way to achieving that earlier this year when the opportunity to build out its machining capabilities with the acquisition of Unistates came about. Now integrated into Dando as Dando Engineering, this machining facility reinforces Dando’s supply chain as well as offers sale opportunities to other industries.

Such a move will help the company in its next phase of revitalisation.

“One of Dando’s historical strong points has been to meet customer requirements in the industry with bespoke rigs,” Jones said.

This is the case across all industries including mining, which, after water well drilling, is the company’s second biggest sector by value and accounts for around 40% of Dando’s business.

Bespoke comes with a price tag and significant component procurement and rig manufacturing time; attributes not all customers are willing to entertain.

At the end of 2019, Jones and his head of engineering discussed ways the company could appeal to a wider base by creating a new image, brand and product offering that leveraged Dando’s experience and industry reputation.

The pair started looking at how they could retain the ‘bespoke’ mantle yet maximise use of off-the-shelf components. Ensuring these components are modular and standardised would enable the company to accelerate the build and delivery time of its rigs.

“We need to design in the ‘manufacturability’,” Jones explained.

In the future, its new rigs will, for example, have far fewer hydraulic hoses, while more of the rig infrastructure will be pre-prepared in the assembly stage.

“If you standardise on the chassis and scale up, there is still a huge amount of flexibility with rig design,” Jones said.

The first rigs to be built next year will also have certain features that stand out from the average drill rig on the market, according to Jones.

Recognising the long lead time for large engines, the company is also looking to use smaller, more efficient engines, to cut the estimated time to delivery for its rigs.

This shift to smaller engines is also a reflection on the need for Dando to provide products that are more energy efficient and sensitive to the environment in which they will be used.

“If you look at any rig with an air compressor, much of the horsepower of the engine is around the compressor, but the compressor tends to only be used for a small slice of the day,” Jones said. “You are churning and consuming diesel and generating toxic fumes for often only a small amount of work.”

A fully customised offering will still be available to those customers willing to pay the time and cost premium.

“We will innovate, we will be doing things for the right reason, but equally we will have the capability to deliver what our customers want,” Jones said.

Some of this innovation falls into the category of remote rig operation, which Jones expanded on.

“Mining is well ahead of the curve with safety and environmental concerns, so we are seeing a much faster take up of innovations that protect workers and the environment,” he said. “Remote drilling and rod handling are increasingly more important, particularly for bigger rigs.”

Jones said Dando sees a time when rod handlers and attendant rod carriers, like its Mule track carrier, are standard in exploration drilling, reducing the risks to personnel on or close by to the rigs.

“In the shorter term, semi-automated rod handlers are of most interest, but we will offer fully-automated systems on our exploration rigs from 2021,” he said.

Dando’s customers are also looking for higher tier engines – up to EU Stage 5 – in line with rising ESG concerns, according to Jones.

“All our new rigs will cater for this demand and we are also seeing how we can reduce our carbon footprint by clever use of design and material choice,” he said.

With a range of coring, RC and multi-purpose rigs represented on all continents in the mining space, the Dando of new is taking the best bits of its more than 15-decade history and revamping them in a sustainable way for the industry of the future.