Things Have Started to Pick Up

Things have finally started to pick up around here after a very slow 2009. We are building three Manportable drills, two Hydracore 2000s, and one Gopher top drive.

These Hydracore 2000s will be the first two machines we have sold with our new Hydracore Link Chuck. We have sold two heads with this new chuck now, but these will be the first complete machines that will come with them. The new chuck finally removes the only weak spot on the Hydracore 2000. I guess this new chuck is pretty unimpressive looking on the outside. It looks a lot like a normal auto chuck. This chuck is deceptively strong though. Not only is this new chuck strong, but it is also simple and durable. Drillers like using it. Eventually I think a lot more chucks are going to be made this way. I noticed on a specification sheet for the LF 70 drill that Longyear’s patented Nitro Chuck in the H size is rated at 30,000 lbs. axial holding power. That is pretty good, but I have seen our Link Chuck holding 33,000 lbs. without slipping. So far we have not had the equipment to test it at any higher forces than this. That is the maximum safe pullback on our Hydracore 2000 feedframe. It may be that the Link Chuck is actually stronger than the Nitro Chuck! The Link Chuck is barely any bigger and no heavier than the original Longyear 3-7/8 auto chuck that could barely hold 18,000 lbs. Once we have more experience with this new chuck we will know for sure. It is certainly a lot simpler. If you are considering buying a Nitro Chuck, you should look at our Link Chuck, it is about $10,000.00 less expensive, and you don’t even have to buy any different sized jaws.

If you look at the drill bit size chart you will also find a drill rod size chart. Both of these charts have some extra information on them that you cannot get anywhere else. What I have is some constants that you can use to estimate the torque required to turn different sized bits and rods.

One thing I don’t have on the drill rod chart is the maximum torque rating of the drill rod threads. These specifications are available on Boart Longyear’s site in their drill rod catalogue. No one pays much attention to what the maximum amount of torque a drill rod string can take is. Many drills are capable of producing enough torque to break off a string of rods in first gear easily. Most drillers barely pay any attention to any numbers at all except maybe the number on their paycheque. At Boisvenu Drilling the use of first gear on the Boyles 56 drills was banned because it was really too strong, if it was ever used it normally ended up in broken rods. Most drills have a really low first gear mainly because the transmission is really designed for use in a truck. The older mechanical drills often had some really low gear ratios, but some protection was given to the rod string because the engines would not produce much torque when they were almost at the point of stalling. Usually drillers discover this limit by breaking off a rod string.

On the specification sheet for a Hydracore 2000 the torque in low speed mode is not as high as with some other drills like a Longyear LF 70 for example. This lack of torque is because our drills don’t have a gear box. The low speed mode is really equivalent to 2nd gear on other similar sized drills. This sometimes makes our machines seem to appear inadequate on paper. In practice this lack of torque does not end up being detrimental at all. It prevents broken rods. The Hydracore 2000 actually has more torque available than an LF 70 at all normal drilling speeds. The LF 70 has an impressive 3400 ft-lbs. of torque in low gear. This is more than the maximum recommended torque for PHD rods according to Boart Longyear’s own published data from their web site drill rod catalogue. It is enough torque to easily wreck anything less than P size. On the Hydracore 2000 drills you don’t have to worry about this unless you are drilling with BTW, or BO, in the case of those sizes you have to leave the hydraulic motor at minimum displacement, or there is a risk of breaking off the rods. With NO or larger you don’t have enough torque to break the rods off. The torques and speeds available from the Hydracore 2000 drill head are just what is needed for safe high production.

I think that our machines are in many ways a more logical solution to drilling problems that most other machines available. Many of our customers have found this out by running these machines. Hydracore machines work really well! There is a lot more to them than you can see.

This month I have added a few links on our site to other companies who are our authorized distributors.

That’s all for this month.

Nigel Spaxman