Sandvik develops a new test mine for future surface drilling technologies

To support the shift to electrification and advances in surface drilling autonomy and optimization technologies, Sandvik has acquired a new test facility in Finland to develop and test future surface drilling technologies.

surface drilling technologies

The open-pit test mine is located 40 kilometers northwest of Tampere and is Sandvik’s famous underground test mine. The area that was previously a quarry will be developed through a separate drilling program. The site is Sandvik’s first to focus exclusively on surface drilling on such a large scale.

“Developing comprehensive solutions that not only leverage the latest technology but also deliver productivity and reliability in customers’ real-world applications and conditions requires a realistic testing environment,” said Petri Virrankoski, President of Surface Drilling, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. “The open-pit pilot mine will facilitate the exchange of our extensive expertise in equipment manufacturing, rock tools, automation, and digitalization, and support the design and development of more new products and solutions in the future.”

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Sandvik is currently developing the site, officially known as the Sandvik Test Pit, and is testing its first drill rig there. Over the next two years, the company plans to construct a permanent office building and designated customer facilities at the site.

Sandvik will use the pilot mine for research and development of surface drilling rigs

Sandvik will use the pilot mine for research and development and to host customers for technology demonstrations, particularly related to the automation, digitalization, and electrification of surface drilling rigs. The site will provide technology development and training for surface boom and rotary drilling rigs, rock tools, parts and services, and related digital technologies such as automation and fleet telematics and monitoring solutions.

The test mine will also enable Sandvik to explore and demonstrate alternative energy sources in a real-life environment where infrastructure can be deployed to support the electrification of boom and rotary drilling.

“Decarbonization across the industry is accelerating, and the role of electrification in the sustainability of open pit mining will guide the development of new systems and solutions,” added Dave Shellhammer, President of Rotary Drilling at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. “Testing is an important part of our research and development cycle. This new test mine will help us reduce time to market and more quickly validate that we are delivering the safest, most reliable, and most efficient rigs to our customers.”

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