TATA STEEL, ONE OF the top steel manufacturers in the world, produces about 30 million metric tons of iron ore a year from its ore mines and quarries division (OMQ), consisting of four mines: Noamundi, Katamati, Joda East and Khondbond. In order to enhance operations, Tata Steel recently added six SmartROC D65 MK II rigs to its fleet at the Noamundi mine. This surface drill rig delivers high-quality blast holes with accuracy and precision and is loaded with smart features such as automated drilling and rod
Additionally, Tata Steel purchased two BenchREMOTE operator stations that enable the operator to handle not one but up to three rigs in parallel. This ensures much safer operation since the operator is seated on the BenchREMOTE, 100 meters away from the rig. Atul Kumar Bhatnagar, the general manager of Ore Mines & Quarries, explains how the additions have worked for Tata Steel.
Why was the SmartROC D65 rig considered in the first place?
“We constantly aim to enhance equipment reliability, availability and productivity, based on which we evaluate equipment selection. SmartROC D65 enhances digitalization in mining operations and can be extended to remote operations. This was one of the key features that we considered to have a long-term sustainable mining plant.”
How would you measure the scale of improvement compared to the rigs used earlier?
“The SmartROC D65 rigs have delivered on all parameters. We have achieved great results in drilling efficiency, quality and cost of drilling.”
How about the automation features?
“This rig has all the features we need to ensure a safer work environment, which is very important to us. Also, the performance information available online in real time makes it a delight for both the maintenance engineer and the operators. It helps in improving effectiveness of operations.”
How does BenchREMOTE affect safety matters?
“The feature helps us in operating the machine from a remote, safer place, so there are obvious gains. BenchREMOTE ensures that the operator is not exposed to the hazards near the drilling.”
How has support from Epiroc been so far?
“We have been working with Epiroc for almost 30 years, and the relationship is growing stronger with each year. Epiroc has always been open to our concerns to ensure safe operations and has tried to incorporate the same approach into the machines.”
How do you view the Tata Steel-Epiroc relationship
“We foresee continuous engagement. We will continue to discuss the new challenges we face in mining, and I am sure we will be provided with the best solutions available.”
• Main application areas:
Open pit mining and
• Drilling method:
• Hammer size:
4", 5", 6", 7"
• Hole diameter:
110 mm (4 1/16") – 229 mm (9")
• Maximum hole depth
with XL feed: 56 m