Remote drilling: do you know how it works?
Excavations (manual or mechanized) are steps common to any and all works. After all, it is through them that it is possible to carry out the soil openings necessary for the implantation of foundations (such as shoes, foundation blocks and piles), or other structures located below the natural elevation of the land (such as buried reservoirs, pits or installation of pipelines).
The machinery used in excavation activities is widely known. Excavators, loaders, crawler tractors, scrapers, hydraulic breakers, rock drills and, eventually, explosives are used.
In this article, we will delve into the main aspects about the use of a new distance drilling technology, an innovation that has been changing activities such as geotechnics and the construction of foundations. Before that, however, we will explain about the material from the excavation of the land. Follow.
Classification of materials from excavations
The choice between manual or mechanized excavation will depend on the nature of the material and the volumes to be excavated. In general, the massifs, for excavation purposes, are divided into three categories:
1st category material – covers soils in general, rolled pebbles or not, residual or sedimentary, with a maximum diameter and less than 0.15 m, whatever the moisture content. This type of soil can be excavated manually and mechanized. In addition to the benefits already known for the purpose of foundations, geotechnical investigations allow the identification of the category of soil to be excavated.
2nd category material – comprises soils whose resistance to mechanical disassembly is lower than that of unaltered rock, in which the extraction takes place by means of a combination of methods, requiring the use of scarification equipment for later removal of the material to be excavated.
3rd category material – comprises soils whose resistance to mechanical disassembly is equated with unaltered rock, and blocks of rock, with an average diameter greater than 1.00 m, or a volume equal to or greater than 2 m³, whose extraction and reduction occurs through use of explosives.
Remote control excavation
Excavation services require at least one machine and one operator. However, the human-machine interaction has undergone strong changes, especially with the development of the automation of machines and equipment.
A device that allows remote control of heavy machinery, such as bulldozers and drilling machines, is already being tested: Safety Sense, from the Humanistic Robotics company. This is an advance to the traditional operation of machines, since this technology does not require the use of cables, allowing a wireless connection and high usability.
Through this type of technology, the worker can activate the command functions in the control without directly operating the machine, which allows the process to be carried out at distances that already exceed 100 m.
This type of control also has an emergency stop system and is equipped with sensors that eliminate possible unintended or unsafe operations on the part of the operators. Its controls are relatively simple and intuitive, with a battery that lasts up to eight hours.
As its name suggests, this category comprises performing the drilling service remotely. In it, the worker, who is on a base called the control station, operates the machine remotely through the use of a remote control.
Similar to what the remote control excavation proposes, the employee responsible for operating the drilling machine does the job without having to be inside the machine. Thus, he initiates the excavation by guiding the equipment at a distance and controlling the entire operation by viewing cameras positioned at different angles.
Although resistance by some operators who claim to need to “feel” the machine is common, the reaction after the remote operation has been positive. This is because the evolution of the service is monitored with the use of specific meters and sensors, which send all details to the operator during the drilling cycle itself, bringing safety to the operator.
All parameters of the operation can be recorded and archived on electronic media, so that the data is easily transportable to any location, including other drilling platforms.
In addition, it is possible to carry out an analytical evaluation of the activity, through graphics generated by the system, allowing a quick decision making.
Advantages of remote drilling
The first and main advantage of this modality is, without a doubt, the optimization of processes. Remote operation eliminates the performance of several activities that would be indispensable in a face-to-face procedure.
In this example, we can mention the need to inspect the entire work area, before the start of the operation or the task of cleaning up fragments – activities that become unnecessary in a remote job. As a result, there is a reduction in executive steps, with repercussions, even in the financial aspects.
Speed in execution is yet another benefit of this method of work. The professionals, who can operate the machines from anywhere in the world, are able to evaluate any deviation in the evolution of the works practically in real time, making it possible to control the process with greater speed and assertiveness.
The increase in security levels represents yet another positive aspect in the adoption of remote technology. It represents a solution that significantly reduces the risks related to the safety of workers in excavation activities, since they will not be directly involved in the process.
Record long distance drilling
Now, in 2018, the largest remote drilling in the world was carried out using remote technology: an intercontinental excavation carried out in Texas, USA, with the operator based in Stockholm, Sweden, at a distance of more than 8,100 km.
This record happened during the execution of a work in the mining industry with the use of the Pit Viper 275 drill. The feat was worthy of being registered in Guinness World Records, as the largest remote excavation ever carried out.
Expectations for the future
In fact, even though it is not yet being used on a large scale, distance drilling technology has a strong potential to become a true star in this field of engineering – both for providing more agility and speed and for offering more precision and safety. Its applicability can reach both geotechnical investigations and the execution of foundation services.
In this context, choosing a company that demonstrates concern with updating itself in the use of the most modern excavation technologies is fundamental, especially for the improvement of the final quality of the works.
Did you understand how remote drilling works? Are you really ready to embrace the innovations and technologies in this sector? So, keep going deeper into the geotechnics and foundations area, knowing some tips when choosing the ideal company to carry out your soil surveys with quality and precision.
- SeemaRai consultancy Services