Driller’s Office helping to deliver more efficient surface drilling operations
Norwegian surface drill and blast contractor, Inge Hjelle Entreprenør Forretning AS, is a company that has always been keen to use any developments that aid its operational performance. One of the latest tools from Sandvik, Driller's Office, is now being used enthusiastically by the company. This powerful data management program aims at improving surface drilling performance, and has become a key aid in enabling the company to improve its service to its customers through boosting its own performance.
Driller's Office is a practical software tool for surface drilling process management.
Alexander Hjelle established his construction business, Inge Hjelle Entreprenør Forretning AS, in the late 1970s. The company now operates from Hagavik, south of Bergen, Norway, focusing on surface drilling and blasting solutions in the region. This tight focus on both location and specialism are part of Alexander's strategy of ensuring his company is the leader in its field. Although tightly focused on one geographic area of operations, the company also has a number of small satellite offices located to assist work on specific projects. This includes ancillary work such as cuttings for roads, and also portal excavations for the new Ulriken rail tunnel project. The latter is being constructed by a joint venture of Skanska/Strabag for the Norwegian national rail authority, Jernbaneverket.
To service his customers' needs, Alexander's surface drilling is delivered by three Sandvik DX780 rigs. These are equipped with the TIM3D navigation system that uses GPS to control position and alignment of holes, so achieving improved efficiency and quality. Due to his long standing relationship with Sandvik, Alexander has had at times 7-8 rigs in his fleet, either owned or rented, depending on specific project requirements. With increasing volumes of data to manage on jobs, and a growing trend for secondary checks for project management and cost control, Alexander has placed emphasis on improving the business process systems used by the company.
As both a successful business owner and entrepreneur, Alexander has emphasized the use of the very latest tools in order to deliver a more efficient and effective service. As such, Alexander has been keen to learn of any new developments which could help the performance of his business, and hence the service he supplies to his customer base. Through the close working relationship that has been developed over the years with Sandvik, Alexander became aware of, and an early adopter, of the powerful new data management system for surface drilling – Driller's Office – which is now used in tandem with Sandvik's well proven SanRemo service.
Helping surface drilling operations
Originally Alexander discussed with Sandvik the possibilities of introducing more sophisticated data management in surface drilling, similar to those enjoyed in tunneling. Sandvik advised him that 'something is on the way,' with these early discussions leading to what would evolve, through collaboration, into Driller's Office. While initially focused on drill plans, Driller's Office's capabilities grew. Alexander feels his feedback and dialogue with Sandvik helped to expand this offering.
Sandvik's aim in developing Driller's Office for surface drilling was to boost drill plan design, data management and reporting. The package features simple visualization tools for both the drilling pattern and terrain models. The program has a 'Drill Plan Editor' function that enables individual adjustments to hole positions, floor level, inclination, direction and other factors. It also allows data from a site's actual bench shapes and forms to be included.
Data from the site comes back to the user's office in real-time via SanRemo service, which is located within Driller's Office. All of which improves accuracy, quality and the end result. It also improves efficiencies in terms of time and money in executing tasks. Through the program's reporting tools, the user has all the necessary information and data to provide others in the supply chain – the main contractor and project developer for example – with the details of hole coordinates and drill plan against the confirmed outcomes. The latter is made possible due to the navigation control technology TIM3D.
The introduction of TIM3D has been an important development, adding what is possible in surface drilling. This gave an added degree of control and accuracy that Alexander says, "Was so much better." He adds, "It formed the basis for going forward in data management." With TIM3D delivering control at the rig, Sandvik's well proven SanRemo service feeding back data, and now Driller's Office quickly and easily managing the information during a job, Alexander believes that the Sandvik solutions let him go further than before. "Without Driller's Office we can't do the activities how we want to," he says.
Driller's Office provides clear and simple visualizations of the terrain models and drill plans in 3D.
Improving business performance
Offering fast and accurate management in the flow and control of office-to-field communications, Driller's Office has quickly become integral to the operational performance and service delivery of Inge Hjelle Entreprenør Forretning AS. "We totally need it," says Alexander. The program is now helping Alexander transform his operations and ensuring that his customers benefit from more efficient and productive drill and blast operations. "We couldn't do what we do so well without it," he adds.
Driller's Office has effectively enabled Alexander and his team to readily access important data before, and during, field operations. This enables them to adapt to changing circumstances practically and quickly. As such, Driller's Office enables the company to achieve greater speed and productivity on any job, while ensuring that drilling accuracy can be readily confirmed. Alexander has been impressed by the benefits the program has delivered on its current projects, and believe the benefits will be even greater on larger jobs coming up.
Benefitting from a new way of working
Alexander readily acknowledges Driller's Office is now a lynchpin in his evolving business process system. Before any rigs are on site, members of the surface drilling team input design data into the program. The approach is then to plan around those design points, working with survey data to establish a practical drilling plan. "We do this week's before the rigs start drilling on site, which is different and a great business advantage," says Kjetil Jørstad, the company's surveyor.
By developing a unique and practical drilling plan, the approach is to focus on buildability that will easily, and in a pre-planned way, ensure delivery of the correct design alignment. It does so in Driller's Office by setting, alongside the design alignment a fairly uniform 'constructability margin' – the outer edge of which is a fixed offset from the design coordinates. The offset data is then fed to the rigs, where TIM3D guarantees the delivery of the drill coordinates, and also helps to ensure productivity from the plant on site.
On first becoming familiar with Driller's Office, and in joining the program testing, Kjetil could immediately see the potential for both productivity on site and improving business processes. He says, "The drilling is more correct, meaning the holes are more correct and, consequently, fewer holes are needed to achieve lines wanted for the constructability margins." He adds, "The difference can be seen easiest in very big blast patterns. On each part of the project there are benefits in terms of business process continuity. The productivity benefits will become more pronounced on the bigger jobs coming very soon."
Driller's Office provides clear and simple visualizations of the terrain models and drill plans in 3D.
For Inge Hjelle Entreprenør Forretning AS business processes, though, for the moment, there is a last step – billing – that still needs the existing systems familiar to the regional construction sector. Alexander Hjelle and Kjetil Jørstad see scope for change once main contractors and clients become more familiar with how the system confirms what has been done on site. They will then increasingly accept what real-time data is telling what is being achieved in delivery to design alignments. Then, Alexander believes, there is potential to have reliable build data without requiring external surveyors.
Moving from old to new business process systems will happen in steps, realigning the chain of various programs being used, but with Driller's Office at the core. "It is a key part of the business process system – a key step," Alexander says. By running his old and new business process systems in parallel for a time, Alexander and his team will enable the main contractors and clients to compare them and their results. To Alexander, it's all part of continuously improving his business by cutting out unnecessary time consuming or costly steps. The benefits are achieved – and shared in the supply chain – one project at a time. Then, gradually, the success can lead to shift in practices in the market.
As part of Inge Hjelle Entreprenør Forretning AS development, the key is to help lead the changes in the way surface drilling operates and reports. Alexander Hjelle will continue to work closely with Sandvik Construction to fine tune the benefits delivered by Driller's Office. To do this he will keep discussing any 'extras' that the program might further deliver, helping to expand its role in his company's evolving business process system, and cut down even more the last step to billing. "That means competitive advantage," he concludes.
Photographs: - Photo A: Driller's Office is a practical software tool for surface drilling process management. - Photos B, C: Driller's Office provides clear and simple visualizations of the terrain models and drill plans in 3D.
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