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The Sandvik Leopard DI650i. Image: Sandvik

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has unveiled AutoCycle as part of its AutoMine Surface Drilling suite, for the remote control of multiple drill rigs at the touch of a button.

AutoCycle is applicable to Sandvik’s Leopard DI650i drill rig and builds upon the rig’s existing iDrill automated drill cycle capabilities.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions automation vice president David Hallett said it was essential for Sandvik to offer this technology as customers continued to advance their operational efficiencies.

“With the growing demand for surface drilling automation, we have developed together with key customers our new AutoCycle capabilities to enable fully autonomous fleet operation through the drilling cycle,” Hallett said.

AutoCycle will allow for autonomous hole-to-hole tramming, path planning, obstacle detection and geofencing.

“From a control room, an operator can oversee the autonomous operation of multiple surface drill rigs remotely, improving operational safety and increasing productivity and fleet utilisation,” Hallett said.

The geofencing function allows operators to remotely specify a drilling area, preventing the rig from moving outside these bounds.

The hole-to-hole tramming and obstacle detection work in unison to ensure the most efficient path is driven, while removing the risk of collision.

The technology comes in three scalable packages: the line of sight package, for optimised quick set up where the operator remains close to the drilling area; the control room package allows for remote operation of the rig; and the autonomous package includes the entire offering, capable of controlling a fleet of Leopard DI650i rigs.

The announcement comes almost three months after Sandvik developed its iDrill automation platform for the DI650i.

The iDrill platform allowed for features such as drilling stabilisation, automated collaring, automated cleaning and detaching from hole.