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Coldwell Drilling introduces Semi-Autonomous technology into fleet

Posted Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

With 43 years of expert drilling behind them, the team from Coldwell Drilling Co has recently introduced the Next Generation Cat® MD6310 Semi-Autonomous Drill into their fleet.

Innovating alongside the mining industry, Owner Gayle Coldwell, led Coldwell Drilling Co into becoming a well-respected, specialist blast hole drilling business. Ms. Coldwell is once again guiding the team into the future with the adoption of this new technology.

Ms. Coldwell said that the first Autonomous Drill now at work in South Walker Creek Mine, shows the company moving into the next era of advanced technology.

“A large part of the Coldwell strategy is to provide customers with safe, modern, and autonomous capable drills which are cost-efficient and productive” said Ms. Coldwell. “This new drill brings all of this to support our customers’ needs into the future.”

“We have always been 100% Cat Loyal with our drills, we’re preparing the business for the future and this technology will help us continue to train drillers for the industry, provide safer workplaces for our operators and show savings through fuel burn, consumable life, and reduced re-work.”

A large part of the Coldwell strategy is to provide customers with safe, modern, and autonomous capable drills which are cost-efficient and productive.

Brendan Coldwell, Fleet Manager at Coldwell Drilling Co said that it was the autonomy and safety gains on the MD6310 that would provide the most benefit to the operations and their customers.

“From a safety point of view, there are a lot more interlocks in the machine now that are there from factory where these were traditionally aftermarket in older models,” he said.

“Things like the Operator presence system within the machine, this system will shut down the machine when a risk is identified, these interlocks are key to safety onsite for our team.”

At 35, Brendan has spent almost 20 years working and training operators on mining drills and knowing the capabilities and operation of these machines is in his blood.

“The previous Cat models had no smarts like in the 6310, with the autonomous technology making it easier to implement the plan from the customers into the drill,” said Mr. Coldwell.

The Cat Terrain for drilling system built into the 6310 helps to guide the drill for greater pattern accuracy. Ensuring that every hole is accurately placed and drilled to plan.

The advanced Cat Terrain system is built around a high precision GPS system focused on accurate hole placement, depth, and angle.

“It looks at how hard the ground is, rotation speed, pull down pressure and bit air,” he states. “It will know when the machine is starting to become bogged and will optimize how it drills, which will make sure you have a longer bit life.”

Improving the accuracy of the drilling, the GPS will create a baseline and drill to a flat floor across undulating ground which significantly reduces rework and ensures accurate bench placement. The advanced technology also feeds back crucial strata recognition data to assist in accurate placement of explosives within the hole.

The focus on accuracy in drilling and blasting helps to make every other aspect of mining operation smoother, safer, and more productive. Even minor deviations from the pattern can have a big impact, resulting in higher cost per ton for the entire operation.

From purchase orders, parts orders, to wages and logistics, Gayle has seen the Coldwell Drilling Co move from strength to strength over the past 43 years and the purchase of the new drill will set them up to “Drill into the future.

“We stayed in the business for the love of drilling,” she said, “We’re pleased to be able to introduce this new technology into the fleet and ensure that we’re set up for the future.”