The Autonomous Drill Rig: Tomorrow’s Technology, Today

Considerable technological advances have been made in the past 20 years. These advances have changed not only industrial and commercial activities, but also our entire lives. In recent years, automation technologies have made great strides and revolutionized many fields. Automated equipment, heavy machinery, vehicles, devices, and many other tools can offer solutions to various problems or simply make our everyday lives easier.

Not only does automation reduce the time needed to complete tasks (thereby reducing costs), it also standardizes and optimizes operations and performance for industries. What’s more, it means that tools can run 24 hours a day without interruption.

These features make these technological advances very useful in the mining sector. Like most industries, the mining sector is not immune to the demands and challenges of the 21st century. The type of mining we have known until now is quickly transforming into Mining 4.0.

Mining in the 4.0 era

We all know the basic equation for successful business operations: reduce costs, increase returns. However, in today’s environment, there are also factors such as labour shortages and ever-growing operating and material costs to consider, not to mention the fact that all mining exploration companies are looking to streamline their operations. There is a simple solution to all this: the autonomous drill rig.

Imagine a drill that requires only one operator, compared to the two or more people required in the past. A drill that allows the operator underground to communicate with their colleagues on the surface. One with built-in safety features, that can also collect data.

That drill rig exists. It’s called the VersaDrill Canada autonomous drill rig.

The invention of the autonomous drill rig

In 2016, the company decided to develop a state-of-the-art drill—a futuristic tool with features to optimize drilling operations.

With the ongoing transformation of the mining industry, this autonomous drill rig meets a widespread need on the market by providing a device that simplifies drillers’ work while allowing data to be collected and used to guide the drilling operation.

A drill for the future of mining exploration

Drawing on its knowledge and expertise in mining exploration, VersaDrill has developed an autonomous drill rig that offers exceptional time- and money-saving performance advantages.

Those advantages include:

  • Access to real-time data allowing drillers to adjust settings so that they can use the drill to its fullest and optimize drilling
  • Reduced expenses in consumables thanks to real-time data access
  • Communication between surface foremen and underground drillers, limiting downtime and allowing help to arrive quickly if problems arise
  • Continued drilling between shifts
  • Reduced wiring, cutting down on disconnection time when you need to move the drill
  • Fast insertion and retrieval of drill rods by a single worker—no operator needed
  • Wireline that can come back up on its own

Moreover, this modular drill can manage an entire site and requires only one employee to operate it, which is a definite advantage given the labour shortage and the need to streamline operations.

Safety and performance all rolled into one

This drill offers many performance and safety features that make the driller’s job safer and easier:

  • Inner tube puller
  • Single-wire control panel (leaving more room to work)
  • Ability to communicate directly with surface workers
  • Optical guard that automatically detects an obstacle and stops the drill

Learn more about the autonomous drill rig:

This highly ergonomic and user-friendly device also simplifies the operator’s task, which can compensate for employees’ lack of experience.

In short, a drill rig like this is a definite game changer in mining exploration and an asset to any drilling operation.

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