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Spotlight

Taking Boxhole Boring Machines to the Next Level

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 17:23

A large number of underground mines around the world need to a variety of slot holes and vertical or inclined shafts to be drilled in order to access the ores. To achieve this, Herrenknecht engineered and developed a revolutionary device, known as the Boxhole Boring Machine (BBM). The design behind this BBM is based on microtunneling pipe-jacking that has been tried and tested in underground operations in several mining jurisdictions. While Herrenknecht has over 25 years of experience in underground tunneling, its BBM has set new standards for safety and minimal drift dimension. With this technology, mining operators can now achieve higher production rates while gaining significant time savings in the creation of slot holes. The BBM provides operational advantages that cannot be matched by the traditional drill and blast method or by blind-hole techniques.

Since its creation, the BBM has been primarily used for gold and copper mines, where it has proven its advantages during the block caving process since it contributes to outlining and preparing the drown point needed during the excavation process. Other common applications mining companies have found for the BBM are the drilling of ventilation shafts and the tunneling that is needed to transport extracted materials from the production level to the haulage level. So far, the BBM has proven itself to be one of the most valuable tunneling technologies when it comes to consistent and high production rates as well as high mobility and flexibility. The first model to enter the mining market was the BBM1100, a tailor-made product designed to construct safe and fast slot holes that could drill shafts of 30° with diameters ranging from 1.1 to 30m in hard rock formations. During the engineering process, the company focused on creating a product that could be remotely operated in order to avoid exposing workers to risks and to optimize the machine’s mobility. Herrenknecht was also seeking to create a borer that could be quickly relocated in reduced spaces. To facilitate transportation, the product is equipped with a compact crawler that allows it to be moved quickly from one point to another in confined underground environments. All of the central components, such as the cable drum, power pack, and jacking frame, can also be positioned separately due to a modular design that facilitates operations in tight spaces. A further competitive advantage of Herrenknecht’s BBM is that it can be fully remote controlled. These advantages have made Herrenknecht’s BBM the ideal product in mining situations where the flexibility to operate in confined spaces is required. Although these machines have not yet entered the Mexican market, Herrenknecht is planning to release them here soon as it is certain this technology will have a similar impact on mining operations in the country.