Sandvik continues to develop drill rigs with safety in mind. Driven by the EN 16228 safety standard in England, the drill rigs also bring a special emphasis on safety to the global aggregates and mining industries.
One of the major improvements in the standard is the revised requirement to better protect operators and other personnel from the entanglement hazard caused by the rotating drill steel. Sandvik’s solution to this requirement was to develop and install a safety cage around the feed beam. In addition, the company’s 3-D hole navigation system, together with the drilling pattern design program, significantly improves safety and productivity of the drilling-blasting process.
Another example of how the new requirements have been approached is in reducing the risk of fire in case of hose leakages. To accomplish this, protective sleeves have been fitted over hydraulic hoses in coolers and the power pack.
Fulfilling the requirements of any new safety standard is a challenging experience, however for Sandvik Construction there are also many benefits. “Product standards are very important to us. From Sandvik’s point of view it is a definitive benefit to be able to bring high quality products that comply with the requirements to all market areas,” said Päivi Kautiainen, who is responsible for the general development of drill rig safety at Sandvik. “With the help of safety standards we are able to show the safety level of our drill rigs.”
Ensuring that Sandvik not only complies with safety standards, but is proactive in their development, Päivi now leads a global safety team that consists of 11 experts working for Sandvik Mining and Sandvik Construction. This team is also responsible for the safety engineering during product development. “We make sure that product development projects have all the necessary information on the technical and functional safety requirements for different market areas. They have to be taken into account from start to finish in every project,” Päivi said.
Standardization work is usually carried out over several years in continuous international cooperation between different manufacturers and authorities. “Because drilling is one of our core businesses, it is very important that we are constantly involved in the development of related standardization. The new safety standard is a harmonized product type specific C-type standard, which provides conformity with European requirements. In addition to this, we certainly need to know about and adapt to the safety requirements currently in force in other areas, because the whole world is our market. Safety is important wherever our equipment operates,” said Päivi. “Safety is also a priority to our customers. For example in the United States and Australia the level of safety requirements concerning drill rigs is high.”
As surface drills rigs operate in a variety of different and demanding conditions, including land strewn with boulders, in blasting areas, or on slippery rocks, but always in dusty, noisy conditions under constant vibrations and often at great heights, solutions to the new requirements have to accordingly take into account these diverse operating conditions. This has led Sandvik to produce practical solutions that adhere to the new standards, but also benefit customers in other ways.
“In developing drill rigs we constantly pay attention to machinery and functional safety, which in turn helps our customers to improve their own safety at work,” said Jarno Viitaniemi, product manager for surface drill rigs. “Nowadays the customer is able to choose such items such as remote controlled drill rigs, dust sealing compound systems and noise protective systems, as our customers are increasingly seeing the benefits of professional safety design and safety solutions.”
Viitaniemi concluded by explaining that European standards carry great importance even in countries outside of Europe.
Sandvik Construction, www.construction.sandvik.com