Drilling in the details

EQUIPMENT production and training don’t always go hand in hand, but for supplier Sandvik, keeping the industry abreast of the safest and most efficient ways of using their drilling line is the way of the future.
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Students take part in a drilling training workshop held by Sandvik.

Donna Schmidt

According to Sandvik blasthole drills product line manager Jim Peterson, the company has offered drill clinics for many years, typically conducted at its Florida factory, at its regional headquarters office in Atlanta, Georgia, or onsite at the locations of dealers and customers.

The efforts have taken them across the nation as well as to every coal-producing continent worldwide, popularizing with the industry the idea of both supplying and training end users with educational sessions conducted by those with the greatest knowledge of the equipment.

The company said recently that while it continues to hold regular drill clinics as an overview of the Sandvik blasthole and waterwell drills rigs, it will offer a series of line-specific classes throughout 2008. They include a class each May, July, August, October and November with every session focusing on one model unit.

Peterson said it has found that each class location provides its own benefit; for example, it has found that inviting the industry to its Georgia facility has been convenient for individuals from across the nation.

“The factory provides the best across multiple model training due to the proximity to the production facilities,” he said, adding that dealer locations allow the opportunity to have focused training on a specific model or in conjunction with a specific client.

One location doesn’t always seem to realize benefits for the students being trained – those sessions conducted onsite. For the type of training involved, he said, training is frequently disrupted by ongoing support requirements that take individuals out of class and this reduces the overall education experience.

Training on equipment, particularly drilling systems, is imperative for users so they can get the best performance from them and be schooled on the most effective way to care for the equipment being used.

“Drilling expertise only comes with acquired experience, and the integrated operation of the systems (high-pressure compressed air, hydraulic force pressure, rotational torque) applied in a systematic way to economically tear up rock in situ,” said Peterson.

“Drills are very unique pieces of heavy equipment that are at the apex of the production cycle in mining and quarrying, no other equipment can function until the drill has done its job,” he said, adding that in many cases back-up drilling capacity onsite to offset performance or availability loss simply is not there.

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