Miners want to drill uninterruptedly, nothing else. That’s how you become profitable. It’s also how your operation becomes as gentle as possible on people and the environment.
At Epiroc, we know what has bothered miners for long. Bits getting stuck deep down below ground. Inserts wearing out prematurely. Bearings corroding due to moisture.
We decided to do something about it. We went back to the drawing board and asked our engineers to fix these problems. They came up with a set of truly clever features. Brand new functions that we had some of our customers test in real and demanding conditions. Like Torrent AWS and Tornado. They’ll blow you away.
For us at Epiroc, being your first choice is what counts. We know the importance of premium bit quality to minimize total drilling cost (TDC). The better the bit, the higher your profit – simple as that! We spend considerable resources on R&D, including extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses. Not for show, but to boost drilling performance. Like with Epsilon², where our customers' tests show up to 61 percent longer distance drilled before bit discard compared to a standard tricone air bearing bit. Quality pays off and it will show on your bottom line.
Bearing failure is a common problem with air bearing bits. Either the bearing inside each cone becomes too hot due to friction, or it corrodes due to intrusion of damp from water injection for dust suppression. Not anymore. We developed new and patented features that cool bearings more efficiently, using almost completely dry air – thus solving both problems. As a result, we managed to increase bearing air flow by 60 percent and reduce cone erosion by 59 percent – doubling bearing life. Add more effective cleaning of the rock face, and you are looking at significantly faster penetration rates and longer life of the cutting structure.
Reducing climate impact
At Epiroc, we are attentive to the demands of a changing world, and we are determined to grow our business safely and sustainably. Continuously reducing climate impact – our own as well as our customers’ – is a key focus area for us. This quest characterizes every part of our business – from pushing the frontline of fossil-free electric drilling rigs to developing smart air bearing bits such as Epsilon². Because a bit that offers uninterrupted operation and extended service life means fewer products manufactured, less outtake of raw materials and reduced transportation.
Different insert configurations
Epsilon² comes in many varieties, ranging in diameter from 6-3/4 to 16 inches (171 to 406 mm), and with different insert configurations (cutting structures) for soft, medium, hard and very hard rock types.
Stronger. Tougher. Harder. Enduro.
Enduro carbide inserts last longer. They are more wear resistant, therefore keeping their original shape and sharpness longer. They are also tougher, so they won’t break as easily, even under severe drilling conditions of broken rock or at high rotational speeds.
Strongest steel ever
We put our metallurgists to work with a simple request – invent the most durable steel we’ve ever used in a drill bit (and our history dates back to 1873...). They got back to us with a new alloy of outstanding wear resistance and fatigue strength. Lug and cone material improvements mean a stronger, longer lasting structure.
Prepared for connectivity
Automation. Autonomous drilling. Inventory control. These are all new areas of any mining or construction enterprise. We online-enabled Epsilon², so it comes prepared to be scanned into your inventory and tracked throughout its life.
Epsilon² comes with standardized API or BECO threads for easy integration with your existing drill string equipment.
Did you know that...
The new Epsilon² comes with three patented features that make other tricone air bearing bits seem obsolete: Tornado vectored precision air bearing, Torrent AWS (air-water separator) and Nozzle optimization system (NOPS).
Keeping bearings cool – Tornado
Tornado, or the Vectored precision Tornado bearing airflow design, directs air to the load side of the bearings, thus improving cooling performance and increasing bearing life.
Keeping bearings cool and clean is a constant problem with tricone bits. We used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to effectively distribute the compressed air delivered to the bearings. This way, we were able to improve the cooling effect of the air on the frictional heat generated by continuously rolling elements supporting tons of load.
Previous designs almost immediately exhausted the air from the bearing through the exhaust ports, before it had the chance to cool the load side of the bearing (which is by far the hottest). Excessive heat would then deteriorate the bearing’s surfaces, reducing its life. With Tornado, we devised a different path for the air through the bearing by optimizing the location of the exhaust ports and exhaust pathways inside the bearing.
Reducing bearing corrosion – Torrent AWS
Torrent AWS efficiently prevents moisture from water injected for dust suppression from entering the bearings.
The dust generated by blasthole drilling in rock often contains high levels of silica, a direct contributor to silicosis. Torrent AWS allows for water to be injected to suppress the dust and control fugitive dust in the environment, while reducing the exposure of water to the bearings.
Torrent AWS channels dry air through the bearings, while allowing the remaining saturated air mixture to flow through the nozzles. The air-water mixture going to the bearings has to pass through two vertical 180 degree turns, which water struggles to do, separating 95 percent or more of the water – increasing bearing life by up to 100 percent.
Fastest cuttings evacuation – NOPS
Nozzle optimization (NOPS) helps to evacuate cuttings 50 percent faster, reducing cone erosion by up to 60 percent.
NOPS, a patent licensed from Baker Hughes, optimizes the direction of the nozzles used for water injection. This helps to remove cuttings and clean the rock face more efficiently, thereby increasing the rate of penetration (ROP) and extending the life of the bit's cutting structure.
NOPS cleans the bottom of the hole by targeting critical areas and making a smoother evacuation of the cuttings, while cleaning the cutting structure. This reduces tooling wear, extends bit life and reduces cost.
Each component is important
When developing a rotary drilling system, most of the attention is given to the drill rig – the capital equipment that requires significant investment and hence a planned payback.
The second priority in the system tends to be choice of rotary tricone drill bit. However, to utilize the full power and capacity of the rig and the bit, and at the same time increase service life and productivity, serious consideration must be given to each component in the drill string.
The drill string’s primary purpose
The primary purpose of the drill string is to transmit the rotational torque and weight from the rotary head power source to the rock breaking drill bit.
As in every rock drilling method, the power must be transmitted as efficiently as possible, and return as few vibrations as possible, as these cause unnecessary wear on the drill rig and reduce penetration rates.
Located closest to the rig, at the top of the drill string, the shock absorber effectively absorbs damaging vibrations from the bit.
Top thread saver sub
The top thread saver sub reduces wear on the threads of the shock absorber and drill pipes.
Drill pipes must be stiff to drill straight holes, tough not to break if bent, have high fatigue strength and be wear resistant to offer a long service life.
The last part before the tricone drill bit is a bit sub (sub-adaptor), or a roller stabilizer, whose purpose is to stabilize the hole and optimize drilling performance.
Rotary deck bushing
The rotary deck bushing centralizes the drill string as it passes through the deck of the drill rig.
Epsilon² drill bit
The new Epsilon² rotary drill bit is the crown jewel of the drill string, boosting service life and rate of penetration (ROP) to new levels.