Sandvik offers new version of Digital Driller operator training simulator

The Digital Driller family from Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has been developed to improve performance in mining and tunnelling underground hard rock drilling. It is designed to simulate the operation of a real rig - specifically the DD422i/iE, DT922i, DL432i, DL421 and now the DS422i - using the same control system software as found on the Sandvik drills.

The new version of operator training simulator provides a comprehensive technical training, allowing the development and refreshing of operator skill, explained Sandvik. This ranges from the skills required by the novice operator to conducting the entire drilling cycle, with all the versions of Digital Driller being fully integrated with Sandvik’s iSURE software - a tunnel and drill plan management tool for accurate drilling, charging and blasting.

Digital Driller significantly reduces the drill start up period, as it enables rig operators to familiarise themselves with the features and capabilities of the relevant Sandvik rig right from the start. Moreover, as training is simulated, there is no risk of equipment damage, zero consumption of rock tools and fuel, zero emissions and no exposure of the trainees to risk when becoming familiar with a new drill rig.

With its compact, small size, Digital Driller and its wheeled carrying case can be easily transported by one person anywhere. Thanks to its short set-up time, operator training can begin even before the rig has been delivered and commissioned, providing increased levels of operational efficiency, with no learning curve having to be gone through prior to using the rig on site.

Three levels of skills

Digital Driller offers three levels of drill rig operator ability training: drillmaster, professional and beginner. This allows a trainee to progressively learn to use all functions of the drill rig and set parameters of the control system, accurately controlling the boom in a pre-defined plan. As the trainee progresses, other tasks are added, such as marking and setting angles and drilling start points as well as drill hole collaring in varying start positions.

Furthermore, the trainee is shown how to navigate the rig to match the drill plan using navigation tools and drill in varying rock conditions, use different cable bolting processes – like cement or grouting – and undertake cable installation. Digital Driller has also been designed to assist in safe daily maintenance and to manage other customer specific applications/functions.

Digital Driller comes with a software that includes a range of specific operator exercises for recording and measuring operator behaviour. This enables the trainer to initiate machine faults, incidents or hazards in order to train and assess operators, thereby ensuring they are able to respond correctly to any scenarios for maximum efficiency.

Training sessions can also be conducted for multiple participants, keeping them away from any risk of injury, or material damages. In order to evaluate and measure trainee performance, a report on operator development ensures that the ongoing training undertaken will directly benefit operators when learning how to use the full array of features on the drill. Training exercise results are measured against time, accuracy and various parameters such as optimal feed / rotation pressure, percussion and flushing.

Digital Driller ensures that operators can use the drill rig to its full potential safely, productively and quickly. With the training course management tool, the trainer is able to customise training and use the multiple pre-planned training scenarios to build tailor-made learning sessions.

According to Sandvik, the use of the Digital Driller provides the highest levels of flexibility and is estimated to generate a 5% increase in annual productivity due to increased rig availability alone, and training costs can be reduced by up to 35%. Digital Driller achieves these results through developing operator knowledge and ability to use rig features in an optimal way, as well as through teaching maintenance teams basic drilling operations.