Learning Centre – Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M
So what does it mean for me to launch the twelfth rig?
When it all started, our first rig was a KEMPE rig, which is a air operated rig. Not many people know what they are, so that was one of the first rigs we got.
With our first skid rig which had a rod handler on it, which was Rig 1. We still have Rig 1, the Epiroc Rig, but a kempe rig is a South African, pneumatic made rig, and they’re very loud and hard work.
So, to be where we are now with Rig 12 – and the journey that you don’t know is that Rig 2 was our first Jumbo Rig, and then 3 and onwards – to have Rig 12, looking like that, and the rod handler on it on the boom, which other rigs aren’t able to do, it’s pretty awesome.
The long story is I sat down with Dave Brooker – he’s retired from Epiroc. He started with them from Atlas Copco. And after we built Rig 2 and 3, they saw that we were building more and more of these, he came and said, “How would you configure your dream drill rig?” So we had a big chat, and he took that back to the factory in Sweden with Ken Maluga, another great guy who works with Epiroc, and then they went about building the new 6M Rig.
So, there was a lot of input. It was pretty exciting at the time. It’s got a lot of power, it’s got a rod handler, it is a big rig, it’s got a modern carrier, it’s their smallest frame, and its easily upgradeable so a long service life on that rig.
I guess main key capability with Rig 12 that comes out of the 6-7 rigs is the rod handler – it takes away a lot of the manual handling from the offsider. The ability to pull full tubes, all in one – both NQ and HQ – it takes away a lot of the manual handling for the offsider when they are doing long NQ and HQ long trips.
I guess some of the other key capabilities are the bigger pumps and extra kilowatts. The drillers can now push out the HQ and NQ holes a lot further than what we would with the Mark 1 rigs.
How’s Rig 12 keep our crew safe? So, with the rod handler, it minimizes the tube handling/rod handling – the ability to pull out the tubes in one with the rod handling system. It’s got a cage on it, so the cage is around all the rotating rods. It’s also got the automated rod handling feature, so both the drillers and the offsiders don’t have to jump up on the jump up stand, and continually jump up and down and pull rods. The rod handler will continuously pull rods and all the offsider has to do is remove the rod and put it into the rod rack.
The rod handler itself can be taught for ergonomics. Each offsider’s different. We can pull rods and set the rod arm at a different height, so your tall offsiders might have it set up a little bit higher than your short offsiders. The rod handler can be taught for, I guess, for ergonomics’ sake.
So in what way does the new rig better fit our clients? More so in the HQ space where we are drilling in the nickel country. We are drilling a lot of deep holes at HQ and the rod handler has the ability to take all that manual handling out from the offsider’s job. And the ability that the rod handler can — you can put it into what’s called ‘Teach Mode’. You can have a horizontal or a vertical loading position for the rod which is very advantageous in an underground space.
So, for me, that’s the rod handler on that heavy, HQ deep 50m hole – it’s a big advantage.
How will Rig 12 increase the productivity of our drillers?
Firstly the added power, the extra kilowatts will run through the ordinary ground – especially where both these rigs are at the moment. It’s definitely helped some of the drillers push through the ordinary formations and some of the pressurized ground that they’re in. And also the automated last run unattended — soon as the drillers or drill crew can leave the rig, they can just leave the drill rig running, and can just finish their run that they’re drilling at the moment.
How do the drillers feel about the new rig being introduced? Every driller loves drilling on a new rig. As soon as the drillers know that a new rig is coming to site and they hear of its capabilities, every driller wants to put their hand up, jump on it and have a go. Some of the feedback so far has been from Rig 11, and just straight away the guys noticed the power. Everyone loves drilling on it.
So Rig 12, I didn’t expect it to get here so quick. It’s exciting times in the industry, and a lot going on, and a lot more projects coming. But with Rig 12, we are now growing with four rigs a year. Every quarter we have a rig coming in. So that’s the future. The pipeline’s stacked. It’s very, very exciting.