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Contributors

New IMDEX MUD AID™ is proving to enhance productivity of drilling programs without a full-time drilling fluid contractor on site

Drill Safe

 
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There have been a vast range of improvements to exploration drilling programs, including the digitization and automation of procedures, together with our ability to obtain accurate data for critical decision making. Pleasingly, our operations have also got a lot safer with the introduction of innovative technologies.

A good example is IMDEX’s new remotely monitored automated in-field diagnosis unit – the IMDEX MUD AID™– which was designed to optimise and automate drilling fluid processes.

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The unit provides real-time information regarding drilling fluid properties and can integrate with the company’s secure cloud-based web portal – IMDEXHUB-IQ™– for complete visibility of live-sampled data anywhere and at any time.

Remote, real-time access to an operation’s drilling fluid properties enables clients’ greater control over their programs and product usage, reducing site visits by drilling fluid specialists and overall less movement on site. Using the IMDEX MUD AID™ means drilling fluids are optimised and consumption is generally lower, which can translate to less manual handling, slip hazards and vehicle movement.

Learn more about the safety and operational benefits of the IMDEX MUD AID™ in the following short video.

In addition, Chris Havenga, IMDEX’s Global Equipment and Integration Engineer said, ‘the data provided by the IMDEX MUD AID™ achieves greater drilling productivity and allows crews to respond quicker to changes in lifting capacity and solids content. This piece of technology means we can rectify issues on drill sites quicker and without having to be physically on site’.

At a trial on an iron ore site, IMDEX compared the observations of an experienced drilling fluid specialist with the data obtained by the IMDEX MUD AID™ to measure the accuracy and response time to the fluid test results.

The trial concluded that the viscosity recordings of the drilling fluid specialist and the IMDEX MUD AID™ were very similar, however, the IMDEX MUD AID™ using remote technology was able to measure not just viscosity but rheology, giving greater information in quicker times. The unit was also able to more rapidly detect the breakdown of liquid polymers, which are important to produce viscosity and the desired lifting capacity. The IMDEX MUD AID™ is a game changer for remote drill sites where clients need drilling fluid support, fast.

The IMDEX MUD AID™ is lightweight, highly-portable and easy to install and operate. Set up is provided by a certified AMC drilling fluid specialist and includes establishing site-specific parameters and automating alerts. 

Drilling fluid test properties can be viewed via IMDEXHUB-IQ™ and the unit display, which provides instant, secure access to real-time data and historical information. Data can also be downloaded via USB.


Further Information

Global Marketing Manager, Diane Porteous

Mobile: +61 401 392 163

Email: diane.porteous@imdexlimited.com


Corporate Communications, Kym Clements

Mobile: +61 415 181 172

Email: kym.clements@imdexlimited.com

About IMDEX

We are a global mining equipment, technology and services – or METS – company. Our IMDEX solution sets improve the process of identifying and extracting what is below the earth’s surface for drilling contractors and resource companies – we let clients know where it is and what it is, now.

Our company delivers these solution sets, which include: Drilling Optimisation; Downhole Navigation; Structural Geology; In-Field Geoanalysis; and Driller Operable Geophysics, to the global minerals industry and targeted non-mining applications via our leading REFLEX and AMC brands. For further information visit www.imdexlimited.com.

AMC redefines the way drilling fluids, equipment, technologies and software are used to optimise drilling programs – AMC strives to maximise productivity while enhancing safety and sustainability for clients. AMC has a strong presence within the global minerals, horizontal directional drilling, waterwell and civil construction sectors. For more information, visit www.amcmud.com.

REFLEX is a global supplier of advanced subsurface intelligence solutions comprising downhole instrumentation, data management and analytical software for geological modelling. These market leading technologies – recognised for their ease of use and accuracy – are completed by unrivalled expertise in geo-scientific data analysis and interpretation. For further information visit www.reflexnow.com.

Together, our products and technologies assist clients to reduce their costs and increase their productivity by providing integrated end-to-end solutions across the full mining life cycle. Our vision is to be the leading provider of real-time subsurface intelligence solutions for the global minerals industry.


Sandvik multifunctional wireline core barrel system

Erin Rice

 
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Sandvik has introduced a multifunctional NSU (N surface and underground) core barrel system, a first of its kind that features interchangeable components and offers standard and pump-in applications in a single system. The NSU core barrel system features an innovative new design that will not only increase productivity, but also offers a more cost-efficient solution by reducing networking capital and spare parts inventory, as well as safer operations when handling the system.

GAIN THE ADVANTAGE WITH SANDVIK’S SU WIRELINE CORE BARREL SYSTEM

Erin Rice

 
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Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s SU (Surface and Underground) wireline core barrel system is a first of its kind that features interchangeable components and offers both standard and pump-in applications in a single system making it a truly multifunctional core barrel system.

The flexibility of the system is its main benefit which translates into several customer values such as EHS requirements, cost savings and productivity. “The innovative design offers safer operations, increases productivity and a cost-efficient solution by reducing net working capital and spare parts inventory, says David Els, exploration sales at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology.

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With a shorter head assembly and shorter and lighter back ends, the system is easier to handle making it user-friendly. The intelligent overshot is automatically latch-locking and latches can be released without the presence of fingers in potentially high risk areas. A knuckle joint is featured on the overshot, which allows for ease of handling, particularly in the confined space of underground drilling conditions. Load-rated breakaway safety pins also provide a safer way to release the overshot from stuck inner tubes.

The overshot attachment to the wireline no longer requires cable eyes or cable splicing, enabling easier maintenance and repair in the field. A newly-designed logic tip on the overshot allows for in-hole dry releasing of the inner tube assembly once the water level has been reached, shortening the release time. The pump-in overshot features a ball valve indicator which alerts the operator of positive latching onto the core barrel’s back end.

Our iQ-FCV valve provides and maintains a constant alert via sustained high water pressure, assuring the operator that the inner tube assembly has positively latched into the core barrel, eliminating mislatches and ensuring valuable time is not lost,” Els says. “For better water efficiency, the iQ valve has been designed to always retain the volume of water in the drill string even in broken ground or dry holes, which is an important benefit in core drilling.”

The wireline core barrel system is available as BSU, NSU, N2SU, N3SU, HSU, H2SU and H3S sizes.
For more information contact david.els@sandvik.com

Have a look at our video showing the Sandvik multifunctional wireline core barrel system.

Released by: Livion Media
Telephone +27 83 231 4453
Email jonquil@livion.co.za
Web www.livion.co.za

For: Sandvik Mining – Alice Ward
Telephone +27 11 929 5300
Email alice.ward@sandvik.com
Web www.rocktechnology.sandvik

Maintaining drill rods in the extreme cold

Drill Safe

 
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Like construction workers, flaggers and crossing guards, drillers have to work in extreme cold. Some, such as those in Canada, often work in the most northerly, and thus the coldest, regions of their country. Temperature, snow and ice constitute constraints in a number of trades.

While cold presents a series of risks for body and mind, it also affects equipment like drill rods. Consequently, maintaining these rods carefully is essential when the temperature drops below the freezing point.

Read the full article to get some tops for maintaining drill rods in extreme cold.

JvR Safety

Drill Safe

 
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We welcome JvR Safety as the newest DrillSafe Contributor.

JvR Safety are a niche behavioural safety research consulting and training firm that forms part of Africa’s largest independent psychology practice.

JvR Safety have previously published an article called, Workplace safety: The good, the bad, the annoying, on DrillSafe. You can access the article below.


DIGITAL TOOLS KEEP SAFETY ‘FRONT OF MIND’ FOR ALL EMPLOYEES AT IMDEX

Drill Safe

 
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The introduction of iAuditor is just one of the initiatives to keep safety ‘front of mind’ for IMDEX – a leading mining equipment, technology and service company. It also aligns with the company’s internal digital transformation program to significantly improve its customer service and business outcomes.

iAuditor is an inspection App, which is helping to raise safety and quality standards across IMDEX’s global business. Commenting on the benefits of iAuditor, Lynda Tilbrook, IMDEX Global HSE Specialist, said:

“The user-friendly App and web platform enable us to collect consistent data, standardise operations, send digital reports, identify failed areas and get problems resolved – from anywhere on any device at any time.”

Other key benefits and features of iAuditor include: real-time incident reporting; simplified processes with actions automatically linked to IMDEX’s Quality Alert System; multiple languages; flexibility to customise for region-specific needs; and the elimination of paper-based forms, inspections and checklists – for example the company’s Take 5 hazard identification checklist.

Ms Tilbrook is confident the user-friendly design of iAuditor will encourage all IMDEX employees – not just operations’ teams – to download iAuditor and complete a Take 5 checklist before commencing all tasks – from driving vehicles and manufacturing equipment to lifting boxes and setting up trade shows.

Ms Tilbrook added:

“Unfortunately, accidents can happen to us all – even when completing routine jobs – but taking the time to stop and think of the possible hazards before acting, could prevent serious injuries, time-off work and all the adverse associated consequences.”

Other initiatives IMDEX has implemented to keep safety front of mind include its imSafe 10 Safety Principles, Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and Mud Schools.

IMDEX’s Product SDSs are prepared by accredited third party Chemwatch and are available in multiple languages. Clients can request an SDS via the company’s AMC website. Similarly, clients can request on-site support or tailored Mud Schools to learn more about the safe handling and optimal use of IMDEX’s comprehensive range of drilling fluids and equipment.

ABOUT IMDEX

We are a global mining equipment, technology and services – or METS – company. Our IMDEX solutions improve the process of identifying and extracting what is below the earth’s surface for drilling contractors and resource companies – we let clients know where it is and what it is, now.

Our company delivers these integrated solutions, which include: Drilling Optimisation; Downhole Navigation; Structural Geology; In-Field Geoanalysis; and Driller Operable Geophysics, to the global minerals industry and targeted non-mining applications via our leading REFLEX and AMC brands.
For further information visit www.imdexlimited.com

AMC redefines the way drilling fluids, equipment, technologies and software are used to optimise drilling programs – AMC strives to maximise productivity while enhancing safety and sustainability for clients. AMC has a strong presence within the global minerals, horizontal directional drilling, waterwell and civil construction sectors. For more information, visit www.amcmud.com

REFLEX is a global supplier of advanced subsurface intelligence solutions comprising downhole instrumentation, data management and analytical software for geological modelling. These market leading technologies – recognised for their ease of use and accuracy – are completed by unrivalled expertise in geo-scientific data analysis and interpretation. For further information visit www.reflexnow.com.

IMDEX’s latest technologies can be connected to IMDEXHUB-IQ™– an award-winning cloud-based web portal that collects, stores and provides critical operational data. This data is protected through a validated chain of custody and secure database and can be accessed from any internet connection to smart phone, tablet or PC.

Together, our products and technologies assist clients to reduce their costs and increase their productivity by providing end-to-end solutions across the full mining life cycle. Our vision is to be the leading provider of real-time subsurface intelligence solutions for the global minerals industry.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Kym Clements, Corporate Communications Manager

M +61 (0)415 181 172

kym.clements@imdexlimited.com


THE INNER TUBE PULLER: A SAFE, PROFITABLE, WELL-DESIGNED INNOVATION

Drill Safe

 
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In March 2018, VersaDrill Canada, a specialist in manufacturing multipurpose diamond drills and innovative products for the mining industry, launched its latest creation: the inner tube puller. MBI Drilling Products is now a proud authorised distributor of this product which, it’s safe to say, is a major step forward for drillers and assistant drillers.

Core extraction
Drillers’ health and safety is becoming a growing concern. Not only are more businesses working on prevention, they’re also aiming to improve their processes to avoid accidents. Core extraction is one such process in need of improvement.

Before, workers needed to force the inner tube out of a borehole. In underground operations or tight spaces, workers may have also needed to work in awkward positions. An inner tube full of rocks weighs approximately 75 lbs over 3 m, meaning that a 6 m tube can weigh 150 lbs!

Naturally, this puts constant strain on workers’ backs, making it one of the leading causes of absenteeism. What’s more, most workplace accidents are caused by excessive effort. That’s why it’s important to find a solution to make workers’ duties easier.

How it works
The patented rollers, the primary component of the inner tube puller, have been thoroughly studied to maximise grip and avoid slippage and drill rod deformation. It’s crucial that the inner tubes don’t slide back into the hole. That’s why a diamond coating was developed. Each diamond tip gently grips the inner tube to create optimal traction with minimal axial force.

The radius of the rollers was specifically designed to avoid deforming the tube. Additionally, a special diamond layer eliminates excessive friction between the tube and the rollers.

Watch this video to see how the inner tube puller works.

Our products and some interesting mining facts!

Drill Safe

 
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Did you know that you can download our full product catalogue from our website? Feel free to reach out if you need more information. 

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The mining industry is a crucial part of the economy, not only in Canada, but in many other countries as well! “Dig in” to the industry with this infographic from @Visual Capitalist. 

Our sites continue to achieve impressive safety milestones

Drill Safe

 
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By T.C.P. Booysen

Master Drilling’s Exploration division achieved 5 years without Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) at its underground operations near Bethal, Mpumalanga and 3 LTI-free years at its surface operations near Rustenburg.

The overall LTI frequency rate for 2018 is currently at 0.00 which is a remarkable achievement.

No LTIs were recorded for 2018 on any of the Exploration division’s drill sites. Master Drilling’s safety management team would like to congratulate these sites on their excellent safety performance thus far for 2018. These safety achievements are a testament to the effective safety management systems, continuous improvement, measuring and monitoring of any non-compliance to health, safety and legal requirements and reflect a good health and safety culture within the company.

Our innovations and case studies

Drill Safe

 
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Increased safety built into modern wireline coring tool design DiscovOre & Arrow 3S

Drill Safe

 
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The design of the traditional wireline core drilling system had in large part remained unchanged since its introduction to the exploration industry. A number of safety issues associated with the traditional wireline coring system have been addressed by manufacturers over the years. Most of the focus has been on mitigating risk of injury associated with failures of the roll pin and the spearhead associated with traditional wireline coring assembly designs.

Failures of the roll pin and spearhead are not limited to worn or damaged tools but have occurred even with new tooling. They include loss or failure of the roll pin, catastrophic failure of the lifting dogs and failure of the spearhead to connect. Methods used by manufacturers to address these failures have primarily involved incorporating twist-lock overshot locks into the traditional assembly design and the use of retaining lanyards.

Both of these strategies, however, rely on the wireline coring driller’s conscious, correct and consistent use of the safety feature. Yet they allow drillers to elect when they will or will not use the safety feature. That these safety devices result in increased cycle time by adding and additional manual step presents production-focused drillers an incentive to forego their use. The safety that these features offer can also become compromised through driller error during careless moments induced by fatigue or distraction. In actual practice, then, the safety features are not utilized by the wireline coring drillers, or are not utilized correctly, 100 percent of the time.

Furthermore, these devices are themselves subject to failure. The twist-lock overshot lock’s small parts and tight clearances can lead to jamming. Retaining lanyards can fail. When these features fail, they provide no additional measure of safety against over a traditional assembly design’s risk of injury.

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These inherent limitations have focused manufacturer efforts on incorporating safety enhancements into the design of the wireline coring system itself that do not rely on a driller’s conscious, consistent and correct use.

The DiscovOre & Arrow 3S wireline core tooling concept featured in this presentation shows how one manufacturer improvements upon common failure points of the traditional overshot and head assembly concept increase safety by making it an intrinsic part of how the components connect. The design employs automatically locking lifting dogs. It eliminates the roll pin altogether, and it eliminates failures associated with the traditional spearhead design, which the lanyard system was designed to protect against in other wireline coring systems.

 
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Most importantly, the additional measure of safety it provides is automatic. It’s not subject to human error or deliberate neglect. It reduces the driller’s hands-on interaction with the tooling. Furthermore, it does not add time to the coring cycle, preserving productivity, since its built-in safety is automatically engaged during connection, not as an extra, manual step. 

 
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The biggest advantage for more efficient (time related) function is in the overshot design. Drillers report that the N system is approximately 15-20% quicker going down the hole, 20-25% quicker when using H size system and 30-35% quicker when using P size. Note that the H system uses the regular N size overshot for recovery and P size ads only cross centralizer, so the displacement area of the larger H or P drill rod will facilitate increase in descent speed.

Of course, the speed and efficiency of the wireline cable as it spools off of the winch drum will have a big effect on the drop speed. Some drillers have reported that the Discovore surface overshot would go down faster than the cable will let it when in “free spool” mode, and most comment on how quickly the overshot drops.

There are many other positives to consider when using the Discovore system:

  • The head assembly is much more rigid due to larger spindle diameters and threaded connections.

  • The latches are much larger and stronger than Excore ( and most others in the industry) which makes them more resistant to breakage and general wear. In surface configuration, the latches are free floating and do not require “lock and load” procedure. This also allows the latches to wear evenly and last longer. The natural wear is compensated for by the floating style spring loaded latch.

  • The latches are better supported by the latch housing by more than 6x the contact area. This stabilization reduces latch wear and allows for much improved driving support for the latch when rotating the drill string”. Damage to the latch housing is also dramatically reduced.

  • Water flow through the head is unrestricted due to maximized porting up to the landing indicator bushing ( the landing indicator bushing is the smallest restriction in the flow system), we use the same indicator bushing that is currently in the Excore system.

  • The overall rigid assembly functions much more smoothly in drilling mode providing balance and low vibration which improves core recovery.

  • The Discovore uses solid assembly pins which have eliminated spring pins/split pins that were typically used to assemble head assemblies (latches, latch case, spearheads etc.) This improvement not only makes the system more rigid and reliable but reduces the need for hammer and punch for removal/replacement. Hammer and punch is not only inefficient but can also cause damage to the system, reducing life and affecting function of the system.

  • There is no pivot spearhead on the Discovore head, the recovery “point” is on the overshot. This eliminates concerns over weak or damaged spearheads malfunctioning down the hole making recovery impossible, also Damaged or Weakened spearhead pivot points presented dangerous conditions during lifting and lowering which could harm operators if such failures occurred out of the hole.

The overshot design features have addressed some of the underlying issues with “traditional” overshot designs:

  • Pivoting overshot design provides flexibility during connect and disconnect of inner tube assembly while out of the hole

  • Much more robust design of the pivot point provides a stronger and more reliable connection providing better safety and simplicity of function. Redundancy safety pins are still available for this design.

  • Lifting dogs are protected to a higher degree and are less subject to wear during lifting/lowering process ( currently we have reported life/wear measured in meters drilled being 3 times longer than traditional overshot design)

Some other features such as more common components between surface and underground heads are noted as well as simplicity to convert surface to UG.

  • The underground head assembly is the same overall length as the surface system so no need for special adapter couplings.

  • The drive key design for more efficient and reliable underground function over traditional systems.

  • New drive coupling design for transfer of rotation to upper head (incorporating drive key mentioned above)

  • A loading tool for underground use makes “lock and load” process a simple task, a one handed operation. Provides safe handling and guaranteed proper installation of the tube assembly.

  • Improved propulsion seal system provides more efficient pump-in of both head and overshot assemblies.

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THE INNER TUBE PULLER: A SAFE, PROFITABLE, WELL-DESIGNED INNOVATION

Drill Safe

 
smallerlogo.jpg
 

In March 2018, VersaDrill Canada, a specialist in manufacturing multipurpose diamond drills and innovative products for the mining industry, launched its latest creation: the inner tube puller. MBI Drilling Products is now a proud authorised distributor of this product which, it’s safe to say, is a major step forward for drillers and assistant drillers.

Core extraction
Drillers’ health and safety is becoming a growing concern. Not only are more businesses working on prevention, they’re also aiming to improve their processes to avoid accidents. Core extraction is one such process in need of improvement.

Before, workers needed to force the inner tube out of a borehole. In underground operations or tight spaces, workers may have also needed to work in awkward positions. An inner tube full of rocks weighs approximately 75 lbs over 3 m, meaning that a 6 m tube can weigh 150 lbs!

Naturally, this puts constant strain on workers’ backs, making it one of the leading causes of absenteeism. What’s more, most workplace accidents are caused by excessive effort. That’s why it’s important to find a solution to make workers’ duties easier.

How it works
The patented rollers, the primary component of the inner tube puller, have been thoroughly studied to maximise grip and avoid slippage and drill rod deformation. It’s crucial that the inner tubes don’t slide back into the hole. That’s why a diamond coating was developed. Each diamond tip gently grips the inner tube to create optimal traction with minimal axial force.

The radius of the rollers was specifically designed to avoid deforming the tube. Additionally, a special diamond layer eliminates excessive friction between the tube and the rollers.

 

Watch the below video to see how the inner tube puller works.


Improve safety and productivity - online training 2019

Drill Safe

 
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Online learning programs

Different job roles on a drilling operation require very specific knowledge and skill sets. With this in mind, we have developed certificate programs, packaged as various combinations of our 17 courses, to meet the requirements of these specific roles. Our four main certificate programs are:

  1. Drilling Skills for Geologists:This program includes the technical and safety knowledge and skills required to enable the geologist to better assist in effectively managing an exploration drilling operation.

  2. Safety Officer:This program is designed so that the fundamental technical andsafetyprinciples learned can be applied to any drilling method or operation. The safety officer will be able to identify hazards more effectively and therefore be more effective in managing safety on an exploration drilling operation.

  3. Exploration Supervisor: The supervisor is undoubtedly the most important person in the chain of command in a drilling operation. This program will enable the supervisor to better manage production and the safety aspects of a drilling operation.

  4. Drill Rig Inspector:It is essential that the person conducting pre-deployment inspections is competent to do so. This program is designed to enable the drill rig inspector to conduct a comprehensive pre-deployment safety audit on a drill rig and ancillary equipment .

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We offer 17 stand alone courses. If you have a specific area of interest, register for one or more of the below courses:

  1. Drilling fundamentals

  2. Introduction to drilling methods

  3. Common drilling calculations

  4. The use of drilling fluids in exploration drilling

  5. Fundamentals of borehole surveying

  6. Economic aspects of exploration drilling

  7. Fundamentals of hazard identification

  8. Fundamentals of risk assessment

  9. Legal aspects of exploration drilling (SA Law)

  10. Drilling engineering

  11. Dual-tube reverse circulation drilling techniques

  12. Diamond core drilling techniques

  13. Pre-deployment inspection procedures

  14. Practical hazard identification

  15. Fundamentals of directional drilling

  16. Directional drilling equipment

  17. Planning a directional borehole

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Reduce strain with our logging solution

Drill Safe

 
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Without fail the geologist or driller ends up bending, kneeling, squatting on the core or core box to mark, log and arrange core in the field or at the drill site.

Geo-Explore Store offers a small fold up stool with a zippered pouch that takes some of the strain from this activity. Fold up and leave behind seat or in load bay, ideal for field crews.

We also supply sun flaps for hard hats to keep the sun off the back of the neck when logging or around the rig.

 
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Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or quotes should you have a need.

Denis Blewett
Cell: +27 (0) 82 744 7594
Tel: +27 (0) 11 392 5324
Fax:+27 (0) 086 580 7392
Email: denis@geoexplorestore.co.za

Drill rod care & maintenance

Drill Safe

 
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MBI Drilling Products offers its products and services in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, South Africa, Morocco and even Russia. We’re currently looking at even more countries! 

As you know, drill rods need to be maintained properly to ensure their longevity. Watch this video to learn how to do it in just a few simple steps! 

 
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We recently announced that we’d be launching a blog on our website. It’s ready! Feel free to check it out and let us know if you have any ideas for more topics! 

Precise, delicate and challenging: drilling is a little-known form of art. Drillers aren’t often recognized, but it goes without saying that they’re indispensable. Learn more about the realities of Canadian and South American drillers in this new blog post!

It’s true that there are many types of additives, but grease is indispensable for lubricating accessories and reducing friction in drill rods. But how do you choose the right grease and determine how much to apply?


Gloves: what capabilities matter?

Drill Safe

 
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In the last ten years the mining industry has become very diligent about requiring gloves for tasks. In most cases, staff can choose from a wide variety of glove options, all providing good to excellent cut and puncture resistance for the most common hazards. The industry has seen a commensurate reduction in minor hand injuries as a result.

But what of heavier hazards? Especially around reverse-circulation and rotary-type drills, suspended loads are heavy and often must be maneuvered in close quarters. There are "driller's gloves" that claim to be suited for these tasks and some are.

Specialty driller's gloves were produced, promising fewer injuries and better grip. They certainly looked formidable, but how much protection did they offer and at what cost to manual dexterity? In many cases we found that heavy gloves were necessary only for limited tasks and those limited tasks did not require great dexterity. This allowed us to mandate the use of heavy gloves as appropriate without engaging on the dexterity issues. Crews are encouraged to change gloves for more dexterous tasks.

Any discussion of PPE must start with a task risk assessment or observation, followed by application of the hierarchy of controls for each step. Many of the conditions we once accepted as the way things were done have disappeared as guarding, communications and system checks have been added to the process.

The hierarchy of controls must include strong procedural and administrative controls for those tasks that cannot be eliminated. Your workers must know the requirements and the reasons for those requirements. The use of mandated safety gear must be supported and enforced by every worker, with audits and support from the safety group to ensure compliance. This article will describe desirable glove qualities for remaining hazards.

So, what qualities and capabilities matter to your users?

  • Colour: high-visibility colors are the only logical choice for heavy gloves. Gloves are being used as a last line of defense in a critical task. Awareness is the basis for physical protection. Give your users a chance to build awareness around where hands and fingers are in a given task. In addition to high visibilty colors, we trained that in a two-man team, each worker watched the hands of the other. The person with hands in the danger zone was watching the operator's hands to make sure no controls were in operation. The operator watched the worker's hands to make sure they were clear before operating. High visibility colors made this awareness easier.

  • Grip: Most heavy gloves are available with a variety of grip material from heavy cotton to leather. Including your workers in your risk assessment will point to the type of grip material best for the task you are evaluating. Remember to ask about grip conditions several hours into a shift. How does a material stand up to exposure to water, oil, grease or mud? How often should gloves be changed?

  • Padding: Padding choices in heavy gloves seem weighted toward knuckle-skinning hazards. While this is a reasonable protection for mechanic gloves, where there is a crushing hazard look for wrap-around padding that can distribute the force around the fingers. One manufacturer demonstrates this by encouraging customers to put their hand inside a glove then strike it with a mallet. Do not try this with knuckle-guard-only gloves! Where a large pad on the back of the hand may distribute force across the back of the hand to reduce injury, knuckle guards are too small to effectively distribute force across a larger area.

    Again, return to your risk assessment. If the hazard is skinned knuckles, guard against that. If the hazard is a crushing injury, make sure the glove pads can distribute the force.

  • Fit: every glove is most effective when it fits best and most likely to be used when that fit is comfortable. Involve your users in determining the range of sizes to stock and don't be afraid to give those with much larger or much smaller hands their own supply of appropriately-sized gloves. A glove left on the workbench helps no one.

  • Insulation: If a worker is wearing gloves to keep his hands warm, it will be hard to ask him to don cold heavy gloves for a task in cold weather or wet gloves. Change gloves with the seasons to assure use and keep enough on hand that employees can change them out when saturated.

Gloves are not cheap and heavy gloves are amongst the more expensive gloves. They are worth the expense when you are confident they provide the protection you want your workers to have. Training employees to use them appropriately will provide better protection for workers.
Keeping a bucket of soapy water available for saturated gloves provides a place to put dirty gloves during the shift. During cleanup, the gloves and water can be agitated to clean them then the gloves can be laid out to dry for use the next day.

Like all PPE, gloves are a last line of defense. Though we invest in gloves, we should all be spending much more time evaluating tasks and applying the hierarchy of controls to ensure we don't need that last line of defense for any of our PPE.