Epiroc has introduced the Automatic Bit Changer (ABC) for hands-free bit changes on Pit Viper 270 and Pit Viper 290 series drill rigs.
The ABC option is designed to change rotary tricone bits faster than manual exchanges and eliminates human interaction with the drill string for a safer way to operate a drill fleet, the company says.
It makes it possible to complete drill bit changes with a single touch of a button, according to Epiroc. This can be done from either a remotely based control room or in the comfort of the cab.
“The ABC option optimises productivity and efficiency of the drilling operation and improves safety by eliminating exposure to live work environments,” Epiroc added.
The ABC carousel can store three rotary tricone bits in varying sizes and cutting structure, for a total of four on-board bits, for flexibility and versatility on a drill site. Unique bit adapters allow the system to safely replace the worn drill bits with new fresh drill bits without exposure to live work.
Epiroc says the ABC is capable of completing a bit change in significantly less time than a manual process for decreased downtime. Time saved by eliminating manual drill changes increases machine utilisation and profitability.
“The Automatic Bit Changer is the next step in autonomous drilling advancements,” Tim Ledbetter, Vice President – Automation R&D, said. “The process of continuously evaluating how to move the industry forward is key to this innovation. We will eliminate live work for our customers with safer, more productive technology, machines and operations.”
Customising a Pit Viper 270 or Pit Viper 290 drill rig with the ABC option offers many benefits for the operator, Epiroc claims. It reduces the possibility of human error, injuries related to heavy lifting, lost time on manual adjustments and accidents.
Eliminating these Live Work tasks is crucial in the mining industry, with several options for Live Work Elimination available for a range of Epiroc equipment.
At the conclusion of field trials, the ABC will be available for new drills and retrofit of drills already in the field, Epiroc says.