Mining and construction techniques


A professional approach to rock drill refurbishment and repair

With the nature of their operating environments, drills are very often subjected to the harshest working conditions. For this reason, on average, drills need to be stripped, checked and repaired approximately every 400 percussion hours.
A problem that many mines experience is getting their rock drills properly serviced and repaired within the shortest possible time. In addition, on the mines, the expertise to restore a drill to its factory condition is often lacking.

Atlas Copco South Africa has tackled this problem head on by building an efficient, rapid turnaround, rock drill refurbishment and repair centre at its Head Office in Boksburg, Gauteng.

Exceptionally fast turnaround

At this new facility, drills can be brought in, serviced and repaired, and then, most importantly, tested to ensure they perform to 100 per cent of Atlas Copco specification. All of this can be done while delivering an exceptionally fast turnaround.

At Atlas Copco’s rock drill refurbishment and repair centre, the refurbishment is carried out in six steps. These are:


cleaning and stripping 


component repair or replacement





To ensure a fast turnaround of repair jobs, an overhead monorail swiftly carries work-in-progress from one work-station to the next. Also, throughout the repair process, a professional documentation system ensures that every job is completed to the highest standards.  



The rock drill refurbishment and repair centre is staffed by a team of some 13 properly-trained Atlas Copco technicians.  
After a drill is received, it undergoes chemical and high-pressure water cleaning, before being taken to the component repair facility. At this facility, which is housed in a separate ‘clean’ area, the drill is mounted on a purpose-built stripping pedestal. On this pedestal, the technician can rotate the drill to any position for fast and efficient stripping. The stripping pedestal is also equipped with drip trays so that waste oil poses no threat to the environment.
After final cleaning, all drill components undergo detailed inspection. Here, the components are laid out on an inspection table where a qualified technician inspects each one, according to Atlas Copco’s re-usability and repair guidelines, to establish whether components can be re-used and or need replacing. The dismantled drill is then crated and sent to a dedicated holding area.


Knowledge-based quotations

With the inspection complete, a repair quotation is generated, which is double-checked and forwarded to the customer for approval and order generation. Once the customer gives the go-ahead, the required replacement parts are ordered.
Re-assembly takes place on purpose-designed pedestals that sport good overhead lighting and installed air hoses. Also, each pedestal has its own fully-equipped toolbox containing all specialised re-assembly tooling. Everything needed for re-assembly is stored within easy reach.
Once re-assembled, the overhead monorail system conveys the repaired drills to the test bench. This bench has a sophisticated IT-control system, which is able to test, in the shortest possible time, if a completed rebuild meets Atlas Copco’s stringent standards.

Testing for cost effective operation

Housed in a pressurised sound booth, the test bench contains all the needed power sources so that drills can be set up for testing in the shortest time possible. The oil needed for testing is stored in a special 800-litre reservoir and is fed to the unit under testing through a filtration system.

The electronic test bench control module is operated by means of a touch screen, and is able to perform both manual and full-sequence testing on the complete range of Atlas Copco rock drills.
As the test bench booth is equipped with CCTV cameras and a double glazed window, the test technician can conduct a comprehensive battery of tests from outside the booth, away from harmful noise pollution.
Upon successful completion of testing, the IT control system automatically prints a test certificate for the customer as verification of the quality of the rebuild. This certificate also forms the basis of the warranty consideration. Finally, the repaired drill is painted and has the appropriate decals applied to it.
“Our Component Rebuild Centre means that drills destined for repair are out of production for the shortest possible time,” says Johan Blight, Business Line Manager for Parts and Service at Atlas Copco Construction and Mining Technique.
By refurbishing drills to Atlas Copco’s factory standards, our rebuilding facility ensures the customers’ rock drills deliver the lowest possible life-cycle costs,” he concludes.


Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W:

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