As the cost of mining rises and jobs are cut across the board, every mine is looking to save money.
The majority of mines are currently looking to operate their equipment in a more efficient manner as a way to address runaway costs that began rising during the global mining boom.
One American coal miner, Cloud Peak Energy, saw one way to reduce costs was through more efficient drilling, upgrading their machinery.
According to the company it decided upon Sandvik's new Compressor Management System (CMS), putting the machinery to the test on site.
Sandvik explained that these compressors management systems can be installed on new or existing Sandvik rotary drills and has been proven to reduce fuel consumption by 20-35 per cent, extend the life of the engine and compressor and lower emissions.
The Sandvik CMS provides a solution to the inherent inefficiencies of rotary blasthole drills that have a direct connection between the engine and compressor.
The system isolates the compressor and eliminates the need to maintain pressure when the machine is not drilling.
This reduces the load on the engine, saving a significant amount of fuel and reducing wear and tear.
Cloud Peak Energy chose to have the Sandvik CMS retrofitted onto a 14-year-old rotary drill at its Cordero Rojo coal mine located in Gillette, Wyoming.
Once the system was installed and calibrated, Sandvik engineers used the machine’s Engine Control Module (ECM) data as a reference point.
Prior to the installation, the drill was using more than 86 litres of fuel per hour.
However according to the company after running the Sandvik CMS for five weeks, the rig was only using 64 litres per hour – a reduction of 26.2 percent. This cut translates to significant savings of approximately 90 000 litres of fuel band more than 300 tonnes of carbon emissions annually – on fuel alone.
Additional savings are expected from increasing the engine life.
Following the trial Cloud Peak's director of asset management, Mark Gilbertson, stated that "as part of our environmental stewardship program we work to reduce fuel use and emissions".
“The CMS will save us thousands of gallons of fuel every year."
After the trials Cloud Peak then purchased two new Sandvik drill rigs with Sandvik CMS already installed.
Ken Stapylton, Sandvik Mining's vice president for rotary and HP DTH drilling, explained that "with this customer trial, we wanted to prove that the CMS could consistently produce significant savings for our customers".