Tough con­di­tions mean tough equip­ment needed, but not at the ex­pense of ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity and op­er­a­tor com­fort. In an in­tense quarry en­vi­ron­ment, one spe­cial­ist det­o­na­tion com­pany chose a Fu­rukawa FRD rock drill to get the job done

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Online - Words and im­ages by Fabian Cot­ter

In the nine-to-five grind it might be easy to lose sight of what a quarry is other than a mas­sive pit in the ground worked hours on end, day in day out, to garner use­ful ma­te­ri­als and nat­u­ral re­sources. Yet to ‘big kid’ out­siders it might all seem just like a mas­sive grown-up’s play­ground. Huge earth­movers and tip trucks scoop­ing up, rip­ping out and haul­ing co­pi­ous amounts of rock, dirt or earth, cut­ting a dusty swathe that traces their paths and move­ments through­out the work­site.

Yet, as with any young kids en­joy­ing the muck, it’s not great if said kid’s toys break or fail on them, or just don’t func­tion as they should com­pared to the other kids’ stuff, so you’ve got to have the right gear for proper play­ground ‘sand­pit’ cred.

At Han­son’s Quarry at Wil­liams­dale on the NSW/ACT border – a medium-sized site by gar­gan­tuan quarry stan­dards, with a bench height roughly about 17m – we took a quick look around there to see how op­er­a­tor South­ern Ex­plo­sives Sup­plies (SES) was tak­ing to its new ‘toy’ – a Fu­rukawa FRD HCR1500 ED Se­ries II drill, which it pur­chased re­cently from the Porter Group.

By all ac­counts the staff there are elated with the dura­bil­ity, power and per­for­mance of the prod­uct.

“In com­par­i­son [to others] it’s easy to op­er­ate; it drills re­ally fast and it’s very, very com­fort­able. It’s just a nice drill to op­er­ate,” SES head driller Matt Chalker says.

“It def­i­nitely has enough power for the hard Basalt rock here; it han­dles it eas­ily.

“The Fu­rukawa works ‘all day’ – we drill for 12-hour shifts here. It’s air-con­di­tioned in the cabin and it has a good heater in it for cold days,” he says.

“The drill is highly ma­noeu­vrable, es­pe­cially with the re­verse cam­era, so you can see right around, with the mir­rors. It’s re­ally easy to move around on the site.

“Also, it’s got a spe­cial mode in it so you can’t ac­tu­ally op­er­ate any­thing un­til the hy­draulics are warmed up,” Chalker says,

We have no­ticed an in­crease in me­ters per hour and also an in­crease in the qual­ity and ac­cu­racy of the holes that are drilled

“which is a good thing. So it only takes about five min­utes un­til it’s all warmed up and then you can op­er­ate.”

A key at­tribute to the suc­cess of the Fu­rukawa FRD is that the drill [bit] can just be changed eas­ily and quickly and there’s no spe­cial­ist needed to do so.

“The drill that’s on there now is about $180,” SES su­per­vi­sor Daniel Gaunt­let says. “They prob­a­bly last about six changes with sharp­en­ing, which we do – we have all the equip­ment to do that.

“Some com­pa­nies don’t; they just use them un­til they [the drill bits] are dead then throw them out. But cost wise it’s bet­ter to re-sharpen and use them again, we find.”

SES was formed in 1980 by cur­rent di­rec­tor Brian Grigg. He started the com­pany as he wanted to pro­vide the quar­ry­ing, civil con­struc­tion and min­ing in­dus­tries with a pro­fes­sional and re­li­able drill and blast con­tract­ing ser­vice, which has a pas­sion for what it does.

South­ern Ex­plo­sives Sup­plies now has a fleet of 12 drill rigs and a team of six full-time drillers with Cer­tifi­cate 3s in drilling op­er­a­tions, four li­censed shot fir­ers, two blast sur­vey­ors and var­i­ous con­trac­tors to en­sure op­er­a­tions run smoothly.

So how did the SES and Porter Group re­la­tion­ship come about?

“SES ap­proached Porter Group as we were in the mar­ket for sev­eral new drill rigs as new ad­di­tions to our fleet,” Gaunt­let ex­plains. “Porter Group was cho­sen as they are the lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor for Fu­rukawa gear.

“We found them to be very pro­fes­sional and easy to get along with. They made the de­liv­ery of our first ma­chine an ab­so­lute dream and did what was nec­es­sary to meet our needs.

“We chose to pur­chase an FRD as our friends at Mor­ri­son Rock Drilling Ser­vices use th­ese rigs and had noth­ing but good things to say about them.

“So far in the time we have been us­ing th­ese rigs we have no­ticed an in­crease in me­ters per hour and also an in­crease in the qual­ity and ac­cu­racy of the holes that are drilled,” he adds.

So just how does the Fu­rukawa FRD from Porter mesh with the machi­na­tions of the rest of the SES cap­i­tal equip­ment fleet?

“SES Op­er­ates a to­tal of 12 drill rigs,” Gaunt­let says. “So far we only have one rig from Porter, but have a sec­ond on the way. With the need to keep our fleet re­li­able there are views of an on­go­ing re­la­tion­ship with Porter Group in fu­ture.”

Over­all, the drill and blast in­dus­try is cur­rently thriv­ing with the con­stant need for rock to be ei­ther ex­tracted or moved – whether that be for min­eral ex­trac­tion, crush­ing for ag­gre­gate, or if there’s rock that needs to be blasted be­cause it’s sim­ply in the way.

How­ever, with any in­dus­try that is thriv­ing, there is also a lot of com­pe­ti­tion. South­ern Ex­plo­sive Sup­plies is cre­at­ing a bench­mark by pro­vid­ing a pro­fes­sional drill and blast ser­vice, and Porter will as­sist SES’s ser­vice ca­pa­bil­i­ties by sup­ply­ing new equip­ment, Gaunt­let says.

Porter serves a num­ber of in­dus­tries: quarry and min­ing; con­struc­tion, re­cy­cle and land­fill; in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural; and forestry in­dus­tries. It sup­plies a range of qual­ity new or used ve­hi­cles and parts for pur­chase or hire. Th­ese in­clude: dumpers, dump trucks, ex­ca­va­tors, graders, load­ers, rollers and wa­ter carts.

It de­liv­ers suc­cess­ful global brands to suit all ap­pli­ca­tions, such as Hyundai, Fu­rukawa, Madill, NC and ASV, to “re­solve the ma­chine-op­er­a­tor-ap­pli­ca­tion prob­lem”.

And it’s all backed up by solid af­ter-sales ser­vice and highly trained tech­ni­cians, the com­pany says.

The Porter Group, es­tab­lished in 1945, sup­plies world-lead­ing brands through sales and rentals in four coun­tries — New Zealand, Aus­tralia, Pa­pua New Guinea, and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in the United States.

Fu­rukawa’s his­tory lies in the op­er­a­tion of cop­per mines and it’s been con­tribut­ing to in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment in Ja­pan for more than 130 years.

It has de­vel­oped and ap­plied its tech­nolo­gies and prod­ucts in di­ver­si­fied fields in re­sponse to the de­mands of the times, the com­pany states, adding that in the rock-drilling busi­ness it has strength­ened its over­seas sales net­work and is meet­ing de­mand as one of the ma­jor in­ter­na­tional rock drill man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Far left: The

FRD HCR1500 ED Se­ries II rock drill Left: Han­son’s Quarry at Wil­liams­dale

SES bought the rig on the rec­om­men­da­tion of Mor­ri­son Rock Drilling Ser­vices

It def­i­nitely has enough power for the hard Basalt rock here; it han­dles it eas­ily

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