Sandvik develops new test mine

Sandvik’s new test mine.
Sandvik’s new test mine.

To support the shift towards electrification and the advancement of autonomous and optimisation technologies in surface drilling, Sandvik has acquired a new testing facility in Finland to develop and prove future surface drilling technologies.

The test mine lies 40km northwest of Tampere and Sandvik’s underground test mine. The site is Sandvik’s first dedicated exclusively to surface drilling on a large scale.

Sandvik surface drilling president Petri Virrankoski commented on the facility.

“The development of comprehensive solutions that not only harness the latest technologies but also deliver productivity and reliability in our customers’ real-life application and conditions requires a real-life test environment,” he said.

“The surface test mine will facilitate the exchange of our deep know-how in equipment manufacturing, rock tools, automation and digitisation, supporting the design and development of even more new products and solutions in the future.”

Currently, Sandvik is developing the site — known as the Sandvik test pit — and testing its first drills there. Over the next two years, the company plans to construct permanent office buildings plus designated customer facilities.

Sandvik will use the test mine for research and development as well as hosting customers for technology demonstrations, particularly those related to automation, digitisation and training for drill rigs, rock tools, services and related digital technologies.

This test mill will also allow Sandvik to explore and demonstrate power source alternatives in a real-world environment, in which infrastructure to support both boom and rotary drilling electrification can be provided.

Sandvik rotary drilling president Dave Shellhammer says the test pit will enable the company to worker quicker than before.

“Decarbonisation is accelerating across our industry and the role of electrification in surface mining sustainability will help guide our development of new systems and solutions,” he said.

“Testing is a major part of our R&D cycle. This new test mine will help us shorten time to market and verify even more swiftly that we’re delivering the safest, most reliable and productive drill rigs to our customers.”