January 18, 2023
What made you choose the SmartROC D65?
We’ve had the drill for over 6 months now, we use it in the aggregate sector in large quarries and we chose the SmartROC D65 because we needed a rig with technology that allows us to download the drilling patterns directly into the drill. That way, we can avoid having to send a surveyor to the quarry to spot the holes and when the driller gets in the machine, they have their drilling pattern right there.
Also, we wanted to have the fuel management technology that comes with a smart rig because fuel consumption is a big factor in our cost. This rig allows us to minimize that cost without affecting our productivity. The precision and straight holes it offers us while drilling is a benefit as well, the down-the-hole drilling technology is probably what we use the most in our company.
What Epiroc equipment have you worked with in the past and what has been your experience?
We use a variety of Epiroc rigs, mostly the ROC D7, ROC D9 and FlexiROC T40s on the tophammer side – we’ve also used the FlexiROC and SmartROC D65.
We’ve also purchased two DMLs for a mining contract we had in 2017, so we have a lot of experience with the Epiroc rigs and we’ve always been satisfied with the technology and productivity of the machines as well as the ergonomics – the drillers love those rigs.
How large is Dynamitage Castonguay?
We are spread across Eastern Canada and the north of South America; these are the areas we cover. We have over 200 employees and our main sector is surface mining, which represents over 70% of our revenue. We work with quarry operators all across Eastern Canada and we also work in specialized construction – we have 3 offices across Ontario and Quebec.
When did the company start?
The company was founded in 1971 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, so we’re now 51 years old. We still have an office and workshop in Sherbrooke and our head office is in Val-d’Or, Quebec, which has a lot of mining activity.
Is the SmartROC D65 an important part of your company’s future goals/expansion/journey?
Absolutely, it fits with our vision of growth and our future goals, especially for the automation of the rig. Automation is key for the future of drilling operations; it has become harder and harder to find operators with experience using drilling equipment.
So, the automation of the drilling functions is the future for us because we believe we will be able to hire labourers who might have less experience, but still achieve the same level of productivity.
What numbers have you seen for productivity and efficiency? Drilling productivity, drilling meters etc.?
We use the SmartROC D65 rig in a limestone quarry and we’ve compared the productivity with other rigs and its been very good. Where we’ve used the rig, we’ve achieved drilling speed of 40 meters per hour for the net drill speed, which is great for a limestone quarry. It has done this on a very stable and reliable basis – it’s been operating in that quarry for almost a year now and we’ve had those numbers consistently week after week. We’ve been very impressed overall with the fuel consumption – especially in proportion to the productivity it can achieve.
The SmartROC D65 allows for the addition of features/future proofing (automation, smart features), what do you currently use and what plans do you have for the future?
We’re still learning all the technology the rig can currently offer us, but I would say what we need from these rigs in the future is for them to be as user friendly as possible and easily maintainable. The competence and the knowledge in the industry to troubleshoot rigs when they have an issue can be a challenge, but as far as technology goes, we have a lot on the machines now and once we’ve extracted 100% of the benefits it gives us, we’ll be ready for more.
How has the relationship between Dynamitage Castonguay and Epiroc evolved over time?
It’s been longstanding, I believe the relationship between Epiroc and Castonguay is older than me *laughs*. It has always been a very good relationship and we’ve always treated each other with respect which is a core value for us. Epiroc has a very good group of service representatives that take care of us, so the relationship is still very strong between our two companies.
In what ways do you collaborate with Epiroc?
It depends on the type of project. For instance, with certain conditions of terrain and the area of where the work will happen, we know when we need an Epiroc rig. There is certain sectors where we know Epiroc has the right drill for us.
What has been your experience with servicing the machine and Epiroc’s technicians?
I mean technology is obviously nice, but the more technology on the rig the more knowledge you need to work on the machines. We have certain technicians in our company who have learned how to service Epiroc rigs over the years. However, there are times where we’ve turned to Epiroc for technician services and we’ve never had issues, they’ve always been very competent and shown good knowledge.
Have you noticed improvements in fuel consumption?
It always depends on the technical parameters you’re working within, but in the particular quarry we’ve been working on we have seen significant improvements to fuel consumption versus the other rigs we’ve used.
What safety features do you find most beneficial? How has automation contributed to increased operator safety & satisfaction?
The rig is configured in a way where it isn’t too big for its capacity, which is a safety benefit because it can move around easier than other rigs. Also, factoring in the boom and the breakout table and the access to the top of the cab – all around it is a safe machine. The automation brings a safety factor of course, and with all the safety devices on the rig the automatic functions will help stop you before you can do something wrong.
What is the impression and experience from the operators in terms of ergonomic benefits and the new, improved cabin features?
The drillers love it, it’s comfortable and very ergonomic the way the joysticks and screens are set up, right down to the visibility in the front and side of the rig. They’ve been made for drillers and the drillers love them.