WorldWide Drilling Resource®

Drones, Drills, and Data ~ Using Technology to Drill Better Part 1 by Jeremy Stafford, Vice President, Ideal Blasting Supply and Ravi Sahu, CEO, Strayos Technology can radically improve your drilling game, in par- ticular, the combination of drones and data analytics. Combine drones and data analytics with a smart drill, and you have the per- fect storm of drill-enhancing technological muscle at your disposal. These tools increase efficiency by drastically increasing accuracy, cost savings, and more importantly ensure safer operations. Drones - It’s easy to see how drones can be used for agri- culture and surveying, but it’s a bit harder to see how they can be used in mining, drilling, or blasting. After all, drones fly in the air, drilling is done underground, but don’t be mistaken, like so many other industries, drones are a game changer for the drilling industry. “How?” you ask. Well I’m glad you brought it up. Drill and blast technicians need maps of the terrain of the location where they are drilling and luckily, drones fly and can take pictures of the drilling site. Traditionally, drill operators and blasters use the data gathered by terrestrial laser scanners to map drill holes. However, it has been proven a drone can col- lect the necessary data in a fraction of the time it takes for two guys lugging equipment across the site accumulating point after point of readings. This saves the project vast sums of money on labor costs; plus, it allows projects to move signifi- cantly faster. Drones can do in hours, what a surveying team takes days to complete. Need proof? Wingtra, a Swiss drone manufacturer, was able to use their VTOL drone to map Jellinbah’s coal mine in Australia, at one-tenth the time and cost of airplane surveys they had been using. Another powerful benefit of drone mapping, as opposed to terrestrial methods, is its ability to easily, quickly, and frequently update results, creating highly accurate maps. “Because a drone can map a site in a fraction of the time of other laser scanner methods, the mapping frequency can be significantly increased while still costing less than the laser scanning,” said Ravi Sahu, CEO of Strayos, a cloud-based, subscription, data analytics company specializing in the mining, blasting, drilling, and quarrying industries. “If it takes one hour to fly over a site and survey it, and then another couple of hours for image pro- cessing, the site map can be updated every day - [and possibly] multiple times a day.” A drill operator working on a complicated or large project, can drill a part of the project then have a drone fly over to verify the accuracy of the drilled boreholes before continuing. The real power of drones shows up in the backend. If this is paired with additional technology, like a smart drill, the benefits are even greater. We’ll cover that topic next month. 14 JUNE 2020 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® EXB