Sandvik’s new DE Carbide drill bits deliver massive increases in bit life

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Updated: April 11, 2014

Sandvik has announced the release of a new range of drill bits for mining exploration, production and grade control applications, which deliver massive increases in bit life, particularly in very challenging ground conditions.

Sandvik’s new Diamond Enhanced (DE) Carbide range of drill bits offer far superior wear and abrasion resistant characteristics in difficult mining conditions, said Richard Reed, Sandvik’s Global RC aftermarket product line manager.

The wear and abrasion resistant properties of DE Carbide bits have resulted in increases in bit life by a factor of three to five times – greatly reducing the need for multiple bit changes when drilling deep holes in abrasive formations, he said.

The new bits have been successfully trialed in a range of drilling applications around Australia, including DTH (down-the-hole), TH (top-hammer) and RC (reverse-circulation) drilling.

“Sandvik’s DE Carbide bits use a poly-crystalline diamond structure to achieve unprecedented levels of hardness and abrasion-resistance,” Reed said.

“For example, when using standard carbides, in a typical 400 m deep hole for exploration drilling, depending on abrasiveness and ground conditions, up to 20 bit changes can be required.

“However, using Sandvik DE Carbide bits, the great majority of those bit changes are eliminated.”

In trialing its new bits, Sandvik carried out many months of testing in various ground conditions around Australia, including banded ironstone formation with layers of magnetite and quartz, where bit changes were sometimes required every 6 m.

“We knew that if we could develop a bit and get it to work in these conditions, it would work anywhere,” Reed said.

“Frequently with deep and abrasive drill hole conditions, less than 50% – and sometimes less than 25% – of a shift, can be spent actually drilling.

“With the use of Sandvik’s DE Carbide bits, drill time can be increased to over 80% of a shift,” he said.

Particularly suitable for abrasive ground conditions and deep holes, Reed said the main benefits of the DE Carbide bits included:

  • Eliminating the need to sharpen bits
  • Increasing bit life by a factor of three to five times
  • At least two-to-three times increase in productivity, depending on ground conditions
  • The potential to reduce hole costs by more than $10,000 per hole
  • Reduced wear and tear on the drill rig
  • Improved safety through no bit sharpening and fewer rod pulls required.