Publications / 2014 Proceedings of the 31st ISARC, Sydney, Australia

Automatic Positioning and Alignment for Hole Navigation in Surface Drilling

T. Pirinen, J. Lassila, M. Loimusalo, J. Pursimo, S. Hanski
Pages 88-94 (2014 Proceedings of the 31st ISARC, Sydney, Australia, ISBN 978-0-646-59711-9, ISSN 2413-5844)

Satellite-based positioning is becoming the prevalent solution for positioning and alignment of drill holes in open pit mines, quarries and construction sites. This is due to the accuracy and convenience of the systems, leading to improved blasting quality and thereby reduced costs and improved productivity. In a conventional hole navigation system, the operator is assisted by precision sensors and a satellite positioning receiver which compare the boom position and attitude to those pre-defined by a drilling plan. While such an approach provides a superior accuracy of the holes in comparison to conventional systems, the boom still has to be positioned manually using the rig controls. This work describes an automatic hole positioning and alignment system developed for drill rigs. The novelty of the solution is in the surface drilling application and the versatility of a typical drill boom. The system has been tested both in a simulated and a prototype environment. The main result is that automatic positioning improves the positioning accuracy and reduces the time required for the positioning task. This is because the automatic system overcomes the main restrictions of manual operation, namely the time and attention needed to position the boom given its dynamics and the actuator-based controls. Furthermore, the operation of the automatic positioning system is effortless and fast. These developments lead to further improvements in drilling quality, which in turn yields better blasting results and higher productivity in excavation. The developed system is also an essential part of remote operated or autonomous drill rigs.

Keywords: Automation and control, drill rig, hole navigation, surface drilling, positioning, alignment, autonomous drilling, drill automation