The serviceability of equipment is just as important as raw drilling power when mining for quartzite all day, every day. Drillers at the Had Soualem quarry in Morocco found a reliable solution.
At the Had Soualem quarry near Morocco’s Atlantic coast, some 40 km south of Casablanca, the quarry Gravettes et Bâtiments has time and again faced challenges with runaway costs and lost time associated with maintenance..
“Wear and tear is the number one challenge and this affects the cost of repair and productivity. The quartzite stone at Had Soualem has a silica content of 90 percent on average which makes it very hard and durable, and of course attractive for our customers,” explains Boubker Moukafih, Site Manager, Gravettes et Bâtiments.
The production output from this quarry is destined for a wide range of applications including railways (ballast), harbors (big boulders), roads and concrete.
In the quest to extract the quartzite at Had Soualem the drilling team produce 12 m deep, 76 mm diameter blastholes in a pattern of 2.6x3m. By introducing the Epiroc PowerROC T35 drill rig at the site to replace old equipment, Gravettes et Bâtiments achieved major improvements on all fronts.
Reliable performance day in and day out and easy maintenance are two key hallmarks of PowerROC T35. This hydraulically-controlled drill rig is a workhorse for construction operations, aggregate and limestone quarries that also boasts low fuel consumption and an ergonomic design.
Site Manager Boubker Moukafih continues:
“The PowerROC T35 was recommended to us by the blasting contractor we collaborate with at the quarry who also offers drilling services and owns the explosives subsupplier CADEX. Our daily production target is 2000 m3 which we can now achieve in a ten-hour shift with minimal disruption.”
"Upgrading to the PowerROC T35 has also improved the working environment for our operators. The cabin is more comfortable and the joystick controls are far easier to use than the levers on our previous equipment"
With six technicians dedicated to servicing all the quarrying equipment out of 70 employees working at Had Soualem, establishing an easy maintenance routine was crucial for the team. An Epiroc service technician visits the site from time to time to keep the maintenance process running smoothly.
Thanks to the low number of moving parts on the PowerROC T35 and good accessibility, the team are able to carry out scheduled preventive maintenance in just one hour or even less, cutting the average service time by 30 percent.
In addition, the debut of PowerROC T35 at the quarry meant that Gravettes et Bâtiments were able achieved a penetration rate that was 25 percent higher than previously, much thanks to the COP Logic system which ensures that hydraulic drilling adapts automatically to the ground conditions at any given moment.
The COP Logic system also helps to avoid jamming which translates into less downtime and longer service life for drilling tools. But that’s not all. The PowerROC T35 is also equipped with a highly efficient oil cooling unit which is capable of resisting tropical temperatures up to 50 ℃, making it an ideal choice for the hot and dry Moroccan climate during the summer season.
“It takes us about 30 minutes to drill one 12 m hole using the PowerROC T35 and the overall performance and reliability of the drill rig means that troubleshooting has decreased significantly. This has elevated both our productivity and cost competitiveness,” Moukafih explains.
Since introduced at Had Soualem, the PowerROC T35 has improved the quarry’s drilling performance in more ways than one. Site Manager Boubker Moukafih is keen to highlight the gamechanging impact of using the Epiroc COP hammer which comes as standard.
With its dual-dampening system, the hammer provides more power using less energy which further improves the service life of drilling accessories. In this context, Boubker concludes that impressive progress was noticeable from the very start.