The Sandvik Top Hammer XL delivers alternative to DTH drilling


Sandvik has created its new Top Hammer XL to deliver the benefits of top hammer drilling as a viable alternative to down-the-hole (DTH) drilling. 

The new drilling system, designed for quarry and surface mining, offers a faster, more fuel-efficient and cost-effective way to drill 140 mm to 178 mm holes. The components of the system include the new Pantera DP1600i drill rig, RD1840C rock drill and new LT90 rock tools.

In addition to its drilling performance, Top Hammer XL offers an effective solution to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The more fuel-efficient, yet productive, drilling method can help Sandvik customers grow their business in a more sustainable way.

The system’s components work seamlessly together and provide smooth operation and a highly productive system with optimum drilling results. 

“A key asset of the Top Hammer XL drilling system is that all three main components —the drill rig, rock drill and rock tools — have been reviewed, redesigned and mutually optimized,” said Jukka Siltanen, product line manager for Rock Drills at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

The Top Hammer XL system has been tested and proven in several field tests by drilling more than 100,000 metres in challenging rock conditions. 

The test results in the given conditions show a 50 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, 25 per cent reduction in total drilling costs, and 15 per cent increase in productivity compared with the DTH drilling method.

Pantera DP1600i

The Pantera DP1600i is the newest member of the Pantera DPi series family of intelligent top hammer drill rigs. Designed for large hole size drilling, the Pantera DP1600i is ideally suited for production drilling in large quarries or open pit mines. 

Together with the powerful RD1840C rock drill and robust LT90 rock tools, the end result is extreme capacity for a larger hole size, without increasing the actual physical drill rig footprint. 

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“The Pantera DPi platform has proven itself over the years, starting as far back as 2008, so it was a natural choice to upgrade the existing platform to the next level for this new solution,” said Jarno Viitaniemi, product manager for surface drilling at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

RD1840C rock drill

The new RD1840C rock drill is designed for large hole drilling with 66 hp of drilling power. Its design and well-balanced long piston percussion package are made especially for demanding conditions. The new layout of pressure accumulators maximizes efficiency and minimizes hose vibrations. The state-of-the-art manufacturing process ensures the required high quality of the rock drill components.

The long piston technology generates high-impact energy with pulse form, optimizing performance in large hole drilling without compromising the rock tools’ service life. The geometry and physical dimensions of the new RD1840C rock drill have been optimized for the entire Top Hammer XL drilling system.

LT90 rock tools 

The LT90 rock tools are developed to match the other components in the Top Hammer XL system. 

The tools — consisting of a shank adapter, MF tube rods and drill bits — offer the best possible drilling dynamics and rock breaking efficiency. 

“Our patented and optimized LT90 rock tools design increases productivity, improves hole straightness and provides great coupling characteristics and a long service life,” said Fredrik Björk, product manager for top hammer surface tools at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. 

“All in all, this new shoulder-driven system with a double-pass thread gives our customers a much better drilling experience. Combined with Sandvik’s class-leading rock tools services, it will truly help our customers reach new levels in their drilling operations,”

The LT90 shank adapter is designed for optimal energy transfer from the rock drill piston into the drill string and is developed in close collaboration between Sandvik’s experts on both rock tools and rock drills to ensure ideal performance.

With the new MF tube rods, developed to convey high-energy shock waves with minimal energy loss in the threads, the Top Hammer XL delivers a higher rate of penetration, straighter holes and increased service life for the whole drill string. 

Premium steel grades and heat-treatment processes further improve its durability.

Sandvik’s classic and patented retrac design form the base for the LT90 drill bits, with a strong gauge row, excellent flushing, high rock-breaking capabilities and reduced hole deviation. The drill bits can be delivered with standard carbide grades as well as PowerCarbide, depending on the rock formation.

“Our aim is to serve our customers with the best solutions for every application and in all conditions in order to maximize their productivity with a strong focus on safety and sustainability,” said Petri Virrankoski, president of surface drilling at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. “We are extremely excited to lead the way in the industry as Top Hammer XL opens up completely new possibilities for our customers to improve their operations.”