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When WesTrac delivered four new Cat MD6250 Rotary Blasthole Drills to site at Indemitsu’s Boggabri Coal Mine in North West New South Wales, Ausdrill’s Australian Surface Plant Manager Peter Ranking admits he was surprised at how smoothly the operation ran.
Not that he has ever had issues working with Caterpillar® or WesTrac, but given the logistics of moving four significant drill rigs from Caterpillar’s US factory to WesTrac’s Tomago branch and then to site – and with the impacts of COVID still being felt across the world – Peter says he did not expect it all to be smooth sailing.
However, the whole process far exceeded his expectations.
“It was seamless,” Peter said. “With COVID affecting international transport, no one knew exactly what we were up against, but there were no hiccups.”
In fact, according to WesTrac Mining Sales Manager Nicholas Harris, the rigs were delivered to site a month earlier than first anticipated, allowing Ausdrill’s operators plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the new machines.
Peter says acceptance by operators – many of whom were accustomed to older models and other competitor equipment – had been highly positive.
Nicholas adds that one of the reasons for the high rate of acceptance is the familiarity that operators may feel when entering the cab.
“The cab maintains a similar feel to other Cat machines with a focus on ergonomics and productivity,” Nicholas said.
“Operators familiar with earlier models of the Cat 6290 will recognise plenty, but there have been some comprehensive changes to the underlying technology and features.”
Fitted with the proven Cat C27 engine, the MD6250 comes in Tier 2 or Tier 4 options for emissions compliance.
Depending on the application for the drill, customers can select from three air compressor options and can incorporate a range of drill assist functions including auto mast, auto level and auto drill.
There are two dust suppression options – either a dry dust collector with a water injection system or water injection system only. For the second option, the dust collector is replaced with a secondary after-tank. There is also an optional tram off spray system if additional dust suppression is required.
Mast length comes in a choice of either 11.2m or 13.6m (single pass depth) with both masts also having a compatible carousel option.
The rigs can achieve drill hole diameters of between 152mm and 250mm. An angle drilling package option allows for hole angles, in five-degree increments, up to 30 degrees.
The MD6250 drill rigs are equipped with Cat MineStar™ Terrain to assist with improved safety, productivity, reliability and accuracy in drilling.
Peter has had considerable experience working with Caterpillar and its local dealers, and says he has always found the quality and reliability of Cat equipment, coupled with the professionalism of sales and service personnel, to be exceptional.
“My whole career has been based around Cat equipment and the entire time, Caterpillar and its local dealers have ticked all the boxes,” he said.
“I’ve also had previous experience with these 6250 drill rigs over the years and they just keep improving.
“The new MD6250s are structurally stronger and more robust than some of the earlier models, and a lot more accessible for maintenance with all regular servicing items very easy to get to.”
Both Peter and Nicholas say the overriding key to success in the project was the collaborative approach taken by WesTrac and Ausdrill, with a tailored support package designed to provide maximum value.
“Both companies knew from the beginning that for the project to be a success, everyone had to be on the same team,” Nicholas explained.
“With the combination of Ausdrill’s drilling expertise and WesTrac’s OEM knowledge, we knew success relied on a partnership approach, so we worked together to develop a support package that included permanent WesTrac onsite support.”
According to Peter, the combination of the drill rigs and the unique support agreement is providing considerable value.
“Having WesTrac specialists on site with us as part of our 24x7 workforce is providing huge benefits and efficiencies,” he said.
“The ongoing teamwork and collaborative approach between Ausdrill and WesTrac gives our client total comfort that they are getting the most productive and efficient service possible.”
Peter added that four months into the three-year production drilling contract, targeted drill metres have been consistently achieved.