Mexican drilling contractor Constructora Zemer specializes in providing drilling services to the cement and aggregates industry. It has approximately 500 operators at work across 10 sites, nine of them in Mexico and one in the U.S., producing 70–80 000 tonnes of limestone per day.
When the company decided to upgrade its drilling fleet, it chose the Atlas Copco PowerROC T35 E and created a new milestone in the industry by becoming the first drilling contractor in the country to do so. Zemer put the rig to work in the Cerritos quarry near San Luis Potosi which is owned by cement producer Cementos Moctezuma. At this site, 3.5 million tonnes of material is extracted annually of which 2.5 million tonnes is limestone.
The new rig arrived on the site in 2013 and since then, according to Jaime Lopéz, Manager of Zemer Unidad Cerritos, it has made a significant difference to productivity. “The PowerROC T35 E enables us to extract this material very efficiently,” he says. “Drilling on the benches here, which are 16.5 meters high, the rig gives us a production of 25 to 32 meters per hour. That’s a very good performance for us.” A typical week at Cerritos consists of 7.4 hours of drilling per day and 11 shifts. The PowerROC T35, which uses Atlas Copco T45 rods, drills 89 mm holes, drills to a depth of 17 m according to a drilling pattern of 3.1 m x 4.3 m. Lopez notes that the rig takes an average of 32 minutes to complete one hole. It drills on average 25 m per hour for 16 hours per day which gives a total productivity of 400 m per day. In terms of wear, the lifelength of the drill rods has been calculated to be 1 390 m and 1 112 m for the shank adaptors, without regrinding.
The safety factor
Lopez continues: “We have worked with several different machines over the years and we are proud to be using the PowerROC T35 E. It is a very innovative and efficient machine. In addition, it gives us increased safety which is very important for our operators. For example, the rig comes with different control panels so that it can be controlled from different angles. This enables them to work at a safe distance from the pit slopes between the benches. “We are concerned for the safety of our personnel and this equipment provides better safety and comfort than other equipment we have used. With the combination of improved efficiency, productivity and safety the PowerROC gives us what we need in order to be able to continue growing as a company. “Also, when we are buying this kind of equipment, it demonstrates our concern for our operators’ safety and comfort and that’s something they appreciate because it makes them feel more secure in their work.”
Today, Zemer has two PowerROC T35 E rigs in its fleet which, until now, consisted of seven ECM 590 and ECM 350 pneumatic rigs, also supplied by Atlas Copco, and with its sights set on growth and expansion, the company says that Atlas Copco is making a big contribution. “We have been working hand in hand with the personnel from Atlas Copco for a number of years,” Lopez points out. “They have answered all our calls for support. They gave us training when the equipment was delivered. They contact us regularly to see how
the equipment is doing, and they have been here to carry out the few service operations that are required on this machine.” Summing up, Lopez adds: “All of this enables us to comply with our customers’ requirements and gives us more confidence to continue working with Atlas Copco.”
Epiroc operated under the trademark “Atlas Copco” prior to January 1, 2018.