This month we are not very busy so we are building a machine for stock. It is our 50 HP Underground drill. We have only built two of these drills before, but we have used many of the components for quite a few years. I think it is the best little underground drill on the market. We are going to make one so that we can show it. Once people see it they are going to want one. It is made to do short B size holes to a depth of about 900 feet. It drills, moves and sets up fast. Our customers have found that they often drill 80 meters a shift. The two we have made are very well liked by the operators and the owners. These drills are based on over 30 years of experience. They are designed to be simple. The trouble is a lot of other drills are not designed with that goal in mind. It is not easy to make things simple. Many of the other manufacturers don’t even try. I think many engineers tend to make things complicated because they understand it, and it is cool. It is the wrong way. Also, many of the other drills on the market are designed by someone who doesn’t know how to drill, and has never even been to an underground drill station. Often the design task is separated from the construction, and various parts of the design are assigned to different departments such as the hydraulic designer and the mechanical designer working separately. Hydracore machines are not designed that way and the drillers can tell.
During the 90s we sold a lot of small underground machines 25 or 30 HP to drill A size holes. They were called Gophers. Morrisette bought 25 of them. Those machines filled a niche that had been filled previously by air powered machines like the Boyles JVs. A size drilling is not done much anymore and most drilling is now B or N size. This newer machine is designed to be a modern replacement for machines like the old underground Gophers. Often a big core size is not really required, and the hole depths required are not deep either. When that type of drill is needed, it is a shame to have to haul around a 100 HP (75kW) drill when a smaller machine could be moved so much more quickly. This drill is made for that type of work.
There are not many drills this small but ones that are similar are the Boart Longyear LM 30, or the Sandvik DE110. These machines are OK, but they have not been made with the simplicity that we prefer in our designs. Both machines have quite a few unnecessary features that make the machines more expensive to buy and maintain, but do not necessarily contribute to higher production or safety. Both the Sandvik and Boart machines have overly complex hydraulic systems, and less reliable head designs than we use. We have by far the best hydraulic cylinder and feed frame design. No one else has the designs we use right now. We can also supply parts and service for this machine quicker than Boart or Sandvik can service their machines, especially for operators in Canada.
This drill is being built so that it can be moved around underground by a machine with a 4000 lbs. lifting capacity in one piece. A separate lift would move the rods and accessories that go with the drill. This small machine needs to be moved quickly because it will be moved frequently. Moving in one piece simplifies the moving and keeps the whole hydraulic system nicely sealed.
I think that once people see this machine they are going to buy them. We sold the first two without advertising them at all and both of those customers are very satisfied. One customer is considering a second one.
I hope we can sell lots of these drills. The one we are building now might be for you.