Sandvik at the forefront of new safety standard series
EN 16228 is a new safety standard series introducing a number of new requirements for surface drill rigs and associated equipment. The standard came into force on December 1st 2014 necessitating intensive product development. Due to Sandvik's commitment to safety, these changes were warmly embraced with implementation work beginning in 2013 resulting in the first surface drill rig complying with the new standard, a Ranger DX, being successfully delivered to its customer on December 8th 2014.
The new safety standard series has led manufacturers to look again at their drilling rigs, and to ensure that operational safety is notably improved. One of the major improvements in the standard is the revised requirement to protect operators, and other personnel, better from the entanglement hazard caused by the rotating drill steel. Committed to continuously improving safety, Sandvik's solution to this requirement was to develop and install a safety cage around the feed beam.
Another example of how the new requirements have been approached is in reducing the risk of fire in case of hose leakages. To accomplish this, protective sleeves have been fitted over hydraulic hoses in coolers and the power pack. These are just two examples of how Sandvik has, through its proactive collaboration and membership of the safety standards committee, been at the forefront of improving product safety, and vitally, ensured that all Sandvik drilling products meet the new standards on the day that they became operational.
SAFETY - A BASIC VALUE FOR SANDVIK
Sandvik is proud of its endeavors in safety and continually invests in developing drill rigs where safety is an inbuilt property. To this end Sandvik Construction drill rigs are internationally renowned for being at the forefront of technical safety. Fulfilling the requirements of any new safety standard is a challenging experience; however, for Sandvik Construction there are also many benefits. "Product standards are very important to us. From Sandvik's point of view it is a definitive benefit to be able to bring high quality products that comply with the requirements to all market areas. With the help of safety standards we are able to show the safety level of our drill rigs." So commented Päivi Kautiainen, responsible for the general development of drill rig safety at Sandvik.
Ensuring that Sandvik not only complies with safety standards, but is proactive in their development, Päivi now leads a global safety team which consists of 11 experts working for Sandvik Mining and Sandvik Construction. This team is also responsible for the safety engineering during product development. "We make sure that product development projects have all the necessary information on the technical and functional safety requirements for different market areas. They have to be taken into account from start to finish in every project", Päivi explains.
REQUIREMENTS TURNED INTO SOLUTIONS
One of the most important functions of safety standards is to inform manufacturers of the current technical safety level required from their equipment. To this end drill rigs now have a specific European safety standard EN16228 – Drilling and Foundation Equipment - Safety. The preceding standard for drill rigs had become outdated due to technical and regulatory development, for example, since it was first published 20 years ago. The work for creating the new standard lasted several years, with the final requirements coming into force at the end of 2014. "We turn the requirements of the safety standards into technical solutions", Päivi proudly states.
Standardization work is usually carried out over several years in continuous international cooperation between different manufacturers and authorities. "Because drilling is one of our core businesses, it is very important that we are constantly involved in the development of related standardization. The new safety standard is a harmonized product type specific C-type standard, which provides conformity with European requirements. In addition to this, we certainly need to know about and adapt to the safety requirements currently in force in other areas, because the whole world is our market. Safety is important wherever our equipment operates", explains Päivi. "Safety is also a priority to our customers. For example in the USA and Australia the level of safety requirements concerning drill rigs is high."
HELPING CUSTOMERS' WORLD-WIDE
As surface drills rigs operate in a variety of different and demanding conditions, including land strewn with boulders, in blasting areas, or on slippery rocks, but always in dusty, noisy conditions under constant vibrations and often at great heights, solutions to the new requirements have to accordingly take into account these diverse operating conditions. This has led Sandvik to produce practical solutions which adhere to the new standards, but also benefit customers in other ways.
"Naturally we pursue development for competitive advantage in the market, of which safety is one of the most important ones. We focus on improving safety all the time. For example, one of the most notable changes in the new standard is the requirement of covering the spinning drill steel. We solved the problem by building a protective cover to be installed on the feed beam, which prevents the operator from accidentally getting into touch with the rotating steel", says Jarno Viitaniemi, Product Manager for surface drill rigs. "In addition, our 3D hole navigation system, together with the drilling pattern design program, significantly improves safety and productivity of the drilling-blasting process", Jarno continues.
"In developing drill rigs we constantly pay attention to machinery and functional safety, which in turn helps our customers to improve their own safety at work", states Jarno. "Nowadays the customer is able to choose such items such as remote controlled drill rigs, dust sealing compound systems and noise protective systems, as our customers are increasingly seeing the benefits of professional safety design and safety solutions." Jarno further explains how Sandvik approaches the development and implementation of new safety features: "We started a specific product development project for taking care of even the smallest changes required by the new standard. The standard came into force on the 30th November 2014 and all equipment manufactured after the date had to comply with the standard. We were so well prepared that the first product delivery with the new safety features - a Ranger DX - was completed already on the 8th December."
Jarno concludes by explaining that European standards carry a great of importance even in countries outside of Europe. "Though this is an EN standard, we have a lot of customers in various markets who want drill rigs that are built according to EN standards, and therefore possess high quality safety solutions, even if their local legislation does not require them." This means that wherever Sandvik Construction drill rigs are in operation in the world customers know that the drill rigs are built to the highest standards available.
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