Successful drilling consists of several factors: substrate knowledge, the right tools for the right time, and support when needed. In addition, Robit is of the opinion that drilling consumables are always at the heart of operations. And drilling consumables are what Robit specialises in.
The latest consumable innovation to be launched by Robit is its range of diamond button bits for top hammer drilling.
"Traditionally, bits have had hard metal buttons, but in the new Robit Diamond Button Series bits the buttons have an industrial diamond coating, which lasts many times longer than a regular bit and does not need to be sharpened," explains Niko Ojala, Robit's R&D engineer and materials specialist.
The diamond coating is applied to Robit buttons in the same way as diamonds are naturally created, namely by subjecting it to high pressure and heat. This is a process which makes Robit's coating more durable than natural diamond.
"The coating has several layers, which ensures adherence and enables the Diamond Button bit to withstand the shocks and heat fluctuations of top hammer drilling. Robit Group has previously used the diamond coating with success in oil and gas operations in softer substrates. Now the durability of diamond coating is offered for the first time for shock drilling in hard rock," says Ojala.
Robit has had its Diamond Button Series products in development for five years. "Field tests have been conducted extensively with ever-improving results and great success, and now the 0 series products are available to customers," explains Robit's Kimmo Kangas, sales manager. "Mass production and deliveries will begin during the latter part of the year and initially 89mm and 102mm diamond bits will be offered. We have also already signed the first extensive agreement in the mining sector with Agnico Eagle Kittilä mine, Finland, which will start using the Robit Diamond Button Series this autumn."
Drilling metres multiply
In test use, the new diamond bits have yielded outstanding results as Ojala explains: "When drilling hard granite you may have to sharpen (change) a traditional hard metal button bit, for example after 80m, while with the Diamond Button Series bit you can drill nearly 1km. As the diamond buttons do not, in practice, wear out, their penetrating ability does not deteriorate like regular hard metal buttons.
"Drilling speed, therefore, remains the same throughout the bit's time of use. Similarly, the diameter of the borehole does not decrease as the bit ages, resulting in a more consistent and predictable end result in production drilling.
"The much greater interval between changes of the bit saves time and is particularly important for remote-controlled drill rigs in fully automated mining environments where people are not present during the process," concludes Ojala.
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