Driving down costs in Turkey
They live and work in different parts of the country. They face different challenges and have different goals. But Turkey’s surface drillers all have something in common – ready access to technology that can drastically lower their fuel costs.
Many of the country’s rock quarries and open pit mines are already enjoying the advantages of this new opportunity – and in many cases the results exceed expectations.
For example, the Atlas Copco SmartROC T35 drill rig is one of the forerunners of this new technology, helping contractors to cut fuel consumption and rig running costs by up to 50%, irrespective of the application.
This is due to a fundamentally new approach to rig design. Instead of providing full power at all times, regardless of whether that capacity is actually needed, the rig’s engine rpm is adjustable, enabling exactly the right amount of power to be delivered for any given operation.
Similarly, various functions on the rig such as air flushing and dust collection are also adjustable and easily fine-tuned by the operator, further helping to reduce the amount of fuel these functions would normally consume on a conventional rig.
‘A pleasant surprise’
Mining contractor Çiftay İnşaat Taahhüt ve Tic. A.Ş. says it was surprised by the rig’s performance. During tests at the open pit Erzincan-İliç Gold Mine, owned by an international gold mining company, the rig worked 18 hours per day. “We were surprised to learn that the savings could be so significant, but after operating the rig for a few days we soon realized it was true,” the management says.
The company’s SmartROC T35 consumes 17–19 liters of diesel fuel per hour, which is about 35% less than the conventional rigs in its drilling fleet. As a result, the company aims to successively replace its conventional equipment with SmartROC rigs as “the savings together with the better performance will increase our productivity.”
‘A big step in the right direction’
A similar conclusion has been reached by drillers at the YDA İnşaat quarry. Here, the SmartROC T35 is used to produce aggregate and fill material for the construction of a nearby high-speed railway project.
Working two, 9-hour shifts per day, it is reported to use 14.5 liters of diesel fuel per hour, compared to 23–24 l/h with other equipment, corresponding to a saving of 35–40%, or 80 liters per day.
“We wanted to reduce our operating costs while maintaining the same production level and the SmartROC T35 has done that,” says YDA İnşaat. “It’s a big step in the right direction for us and has made our production much more efficient so we hope to acquire more of these rigs in the future.”
Meanwhile, at another high-speed rail project, at Yozgat-Akdağmadeni, a fleet of SmartROC T35 rigs have been providing fuel-efficient drilling services ranging from rock reinforcement and slope stabilization to bench drilling for aggregate fill.
Working four hours per day, seven days per week, each rig consumed 17–19 liters per hour, compared to 24–26 l/h with previous rigs, corresponding to savings of 35–40% overall.
“We think the SmartROC series is a revolutionary improvement in the drill rig market,” comments contractor Özkar İnşaat Sanayi ve Tic. A.Ş. “The main reason for this is that you do not need to operate the machine at full load. The operator can adjust the air capacity and that together with the automatic control of engine rpm, results in big fuel savings.”
The fleet consisted of four SmartROC T35 and two ROC D7 rigs, also from Atlas Copco. But it was the SmartROC T35 that increased the company’s productivity, enabling it to meet its production target.
‘Solid impact in cement’
Cement quarrying is another industry in which every percentage point earned in terms of lower drilling costs has a significant impact on the bottom line. A typical case in point is the Ordu-Ünye Cement site, owned by a prominent industrial group in Turkey.
More than 9 000 tonnes of raw material for cement production are produced here every day by subcontractor Çiftay İnşaat Taahhüt ve Tic. A.Ş. using a SmartROC T35. Working one, six-hour shift per day, the rig consumes 18 liters of diesel per hour, compared to 26–27 l/h with the firm’s ROC D7 rig – a saving of 30–35%.
“Even though we only use one SmartROC T35 in the quarry, the saving is still significant for us,” the contractor points out. “In addition, the rig is fully computerized which means it controls every parameter during the drilling operation, helping to prevent operator error and excessive drill steel and machine wear.”
Like many other contractors, Çiftay İnşaat Taahhüt ve Tic. A.Ş. says it didn’t quite expect the SmartROC T35 to be so fuel efficient and concludes: “Obviously this is the technology we need, both today and for the future.”