Lean and green in Poland - optimized quarrying with SmartROC T35
The GZD Siewierz quarry in southern Poland is gearing up for leaner production with a SmartROC T35 that has cut noise levels and energy consumption by half.
The dolomite quarries of the Brudzowice mining area keep Poland’s wheels of industry turning. They feed the construction sector with road base and aggregate, supply agriculture and fertilizer material and provide flux for iron and steel smelting.
Dolomite, which is classified as both a mineral and a rock, is excavated in the south of the country where many copper and coal mines are also located. Here, some 35 km from the town of Katowice in southern Poland, an Atlas Copco SmartROC T35 has been put into operation at the GZD Siewierz quarry. It is on a mission to boost productivity in blasthole drilling, lower the cost of extraction and improve the operators’ working environment.
“We introduced the SmartROC T35 because we needed to make savings in our drilling operations. Compared with our older equipment we can reduce running costs by 50 percent,” says, Zbigniew Tomsia, President of Górnicze Zakłady Dolomitowe S.A., which owns and runs the quarry. He continues: “The SmartROC T35 has been tailored to our needs. It has modern solutions including a silencing kit which was important for us in order to improve working comfort.” The GZD Siewierz quarry has a yearly output that varies from one million up to 1.9 million tonnes. The production capacity can reach 2.5 million tonnes if demand is high. The quarry features six excavation levels with various dolomite types at each level.
A key factor in the company’s decision to upgrade the fleet and invest in “state-of-the-art equipment”, as Tomsia describes it, was the possibility to obtain financing for energy efficient equipment. “We were able to demonstrate to our bank that a minimum of 20 percent energy savings could be made by introducing the SmartROC T35, which benefits the environment,” he says. “The operation-per-meter ratio is phenomenal. We achieve a fuel consumption of 0.38 litres per meter drilled, or 12.89 liters per hour.” This is equal to a 50% reduction in fuel costs.
“Another advantage is the online machine monitoring,” he adds. “We can carry out a full analysis and read out how many holes have been drilled on any given day, how long the drill rig has been in operation, the distance it has covered and the engine hours.
“Due to the environment we have also had a new dust collector system installed on the drill rig,” adds Tomsia. The company has a long-standing relationship with Atlas Copco dating back to 1997 when the first ROC D7 drill rig was purchased.
The newly introduced, SmartROC T35 features automatic feed alignment and rod handling systems as well as GPS. It is equipped with 45 mm drill rods and 76 mm drill bits. The rig achieves a penetration rate of 1.52 m per minute on benches 10–14 m high with a burden and spacing of 2 m x 2.5 m.
Before purchase of the SmartROC T35, operator Ireneusz Borówka visited a quarry in the Czech Republic to evaluate the drill rig’s performance and comfort. “There’s a lot of space in the cabin and the two multi-purpose joysticks are very useful,” explains his shift partner and second operator, Marek Borówka. “Every button is multifunctional which means I can use the same joystick to add drill rods while drilling and then switch to control actuators.
“The air conditioning system also does the job and is highly efficient when the ambient temperature is high and the air is moist, preventing the rig windows from fogging up. In addition, the silencing kit has reduced noise by 50 percent and makes the drill rig comfortable to work with. Now we can actually hold a conversation when standing nearby.”
While 60–70 percent of the quarry’s dolomite becomes aggregate for the construction of roads and buildings, Tomsia emphasizes the challenge of seasonal demand. The quarry is currently supplying more dolomite to chemical plants and manufacturing fertilizers and this winter expects to be supplying the steel industry. “This means that flexible, low-cost production is essential,” he says, “and this is why it is important to increase efficiency. The new SmartROC T35 is helping us to achieve that goal."
Epiroc operated under the name "Atlas Copco" until January 1, 2018.