Technical Drilling and Blasting Co. Standardizes on Sandvik Tophammer Rock Tools

John Hooper, Joem Promotions
Special Collaboration

Drill and blast contractor Technical Drilling and Blasting Co standardizes on Sandvik rock tools for its fleet of drill rigs operating across Fujeirah; providing quality gabbro aggregates.

The Emirate of Fujairah continues to be the regions “bread basket” for construction projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And, with many neighbouring Gulf countries banning quarry operations, its gabbro – based aggregates and rock armour for breakwaters are equally in high demand.

Recognized as one of the world’s hardest rocks, gabbro with a typical density in excess of 3 t/m3, a crushing factor of 10, and a 61% silica content, demand remains intense.

Every hour of each day, a continuous team of trucks makes the journey from the dozens of quarries in the Hajjar Mountains to the projects across the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the global economic slowdown, demand continues to be felt at the front end of the “aggregate food chain” where the requirement for drilling and blasting activities remains high.

With blasting strictly regulated across the Emirate, five companies specialize in drill and blast contracting in varying degrees for the quarrying sector.

Market leader Technical Drilling and Blasting, specializing virtually 100% in quarry activities, handles contracts for around 24 quarries in Fujairah.

The company’s technical manager, Bill Armstrong, confirmed that Technical Drilling and Blasting has a fleet of 16 surface top hammer drills and two down the hole drill rigs including nine Sandvik rigs which are proving
ideal in development and difficult access areas of the quarries.

According to project manager, Alok Ojha, the key to much of the company’s success has been the operational life and productivity of its Sandvik rock tools – all ordered through local distributor Dynatrade.

“Initially we used rock tools from the respective rig manufacturer but trials soon found that the Sandvik rock bits and rods were providing 100% longer operational life.” He continued, “for example, we were using 60 rods which were continually “snapping” compared with 30 Sandvik rods in the same conditions.” And, for the drill bits, the life expectancy was even greater, as much as three times with Sandvik Retrac bits According to Bill Armstrong, “generally in the hard rock conditions we are getting 700-800 drill metres/bit and up to 2000 in softer conditions.”

Technical Blasting and Drilling carry out on-site regrinding after the first 400 m with a second regrind after another 200 m.
Each blast site is thoroughly surveyed with extensive details of each drill hole recorded. Blasts are planned weeks in advance and the explosives ordered.

UAE police and security witness all blasting operations and carefully monitor the explosives used.
The growth in demand over recent years put extra strain on the police forces resources and Technical Drilling and Blasting has been negotiating with the local authorities that a change in restrictions would help.

Until recently only 2 blasts at a maximum of 3 t each day on a single site could be undertaken. Technical Drilling and Blasting was able to demonstrate that a single blast of 10 t made everyone’s life easier and allowed the police and other authorities to visit more sites without taking any extra time.

Today, Bill Armstrong is actively trying to increase the 10 t limit to streamline the process even further.
In a typical quarry development, Technical Blasting and Drilling use a combination of the Sandvik rig and tools to supply around 65 000 m3/month. “It should be more but many of the quarry managements are poor at planning” said Mr. Armstrong, but confirming that in the better months up to 80 000 m3 is supplied.

“This is achieved working 10 hour shift over six working days with a 4 inch holes in hard rock,” he added.

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