At present a large horizontal directional drilling and trenching project is taking place that extends over three states and encompasses over thirty plus miles of new and replacement natural gas infrastructure. The project will provide gas service to thousands of residents and also ensures continued work for hundreds over the next year or so. The following describes one of the many directional drilling jobs required on this project along with some issues they encountered. The bore hole is predominantly in rock and required specialized tooling to complete it within the required time frame.

The proposed supply line that would feed into the multiple distribution lines route would take it through a pristine part of Seneca, Missouri’s landscape that was owned by a local rancher. The supply line would have to cross a county road that could not be disrupted by normal open cut methods. Where open cut methods could be used, the contractors were utilizing a Vermeer 755 heavy trencher with rock teeth. On completion of the site investigation it was determined that the majority of the bore hole consisted of solid flint rock which is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz. The proposed bore path cover a distance of over 400 feet, crossing the road and proceeding up-hill to a pre-determined exit point. To carry out the job with conventional directional mud drilling tooling would be extremely difficult. The contractor decided to complete the job with Vermeer D24x40 horizontal directional drilling equipment using a Mincon HDD50 hard rock pneumatic hammer drilling system.

In 2006 Mincon commenced development of a range of premium performance Reverse Circulation Hammers. The strategy from the outset was to have a separate manufacturing facility focused primarily on RC products located in Perth, Australia. This plant was then equipped with state of the art machinery. Bringing our considerable experience to RC hammer design the MX line of RC Hammers produced a design that has become recognized globally for its performance, reliability and sample quality.

Mincon Perth PlantSince 2006, Mincon has enjoyed strong growth in RC business resulting in the need to move to a larger manufacturing facility at 8 Fargo Way in Welshpool, on the outskirts of Perth. The strategy when selecting a new facility was to find a location that was going to allow for all of our current manufacturing needs with room for further expansion as necessary. The move has now been completed with minimal disruption to the manufacturing operations thanks to all the hard work of all the staff Mincon Rockdrills Pty., Ltd.

More state of the art machinery has been sourced adding significantly to the capacity of the plant. In addition there is more room for storage, assembly and order filling.

Mincon Southern Africa recently worked in conjunction with truck manufacturer Western Star Trucks to deliver a 35 tonne custom built custom-built 4900 series Western Star truck to Booysen Bore Drilling Company.

The truck will be used at the JSE-listed Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine where it will be used for drilling holes for mine dewatering.

The truck is equipped with a Schramm T685 drill rig, mounted on a six by eight chassis, and has been specified with three of the four axles on the truck being driven axles to provide traction for operating in difficult terrain.

Mincon International celebrated their 30th birthday in February 2007 and the celebration was befitting the occasion.  For those that know Mincon, the following should give a better idea of the steps that have brought us to where we are now.  For those that do not, we hope you take the opportunity to get to know us and discover some of the reasons that have made us “The Driller’s Choice” for so many.

Mincon International, founded in 1977 to service the underground  metal mines in Ireland with Top Hammer drilling parts has experienced unprecedented growth since their new range of ‘Down-the-Hole’ Hammers was introduced in 1999.

Since then the company has grown substantially, surpassing expectations year after year with demand for Mincon product ever increasing.

Mincon has an established track record of delivering, world wide, high quality and superior performance tools to the Rock Drilling Industry. Maximum customer service and satisfaction is its primary focus and has a team of highly motivated personnel to achieve this.

In 1998 the Company embarked upon an ambitious plan to develop a new range of Down-the-Hole Hammers. In tandem with this a major re-equipment programme was undertaken at its Shannon facility. The Company significantly strengthened its technical and sales function which today has a philosophy of total customer satisfaction. We are now well on the way to achieving our objectives.

Our In-house Research & Development Team designs the product to the highest industry standards. The Company is committed to being a Market Leader and significant resources are expended annually on research and development. Working in partnership with our customers and distributors with a view to supplying advanced solutions has to-date proved to be a cornerstone in the success of our New Product Range. A number of new designs are presently on the Drawing Board.

Drilling in bad ground is not a driller’s most favourite pastime as he runs the risk of loosing his DTH tooling. Bad ground may be made up of broken or fissured rock, clays, sands or damp heavy conditions where dust can cling to the wall of the hole. Naturally it is important to keep the borehole open during the drilling process.

High air pressure helps to keep the hole clean and sometimes a “Back Reamer” can assist to break up loose rocks within the hole or help to ream away any built-up caked dust on the wall of the hole. Mincon Hammers have variable choke systems that allow increased airflows through the Hammer to assist in purging the hole.

Foams and water may be used in construction and water well drilling to purge the hole clean. Foams are particularly helpful where the air pressures and volumes are low.

A basic, but important, tip is to “Keep it Clean”. Even the smallest foreign particle can cause untold damage to the Hammer.

“World Class” DTH Tools need tight tolerances between the piston and the internal running surfaces for speed and efficiency. Dirt or other foreign bodies passing through can become trapped between the outer wall of the piston and the internal bore of the cylinder.

When this happens, with the piston striking the bit at over 30 times per second, intense heat can be generated and minute cracks can begin to develop from the surface and travel inwardly to cause piston failure.

How many times have we come to change the bit or strip the Hammer only to find that it cannot be dismantled without extreme difficulty and much effort.

Hammer manufacturers are sometimes at a loss what to do when it comes to thread design. If the threads are of one design they may be hard to unscrew, whilst of another design they may become unscrewed in the hole with the loss of the bit and retaining rings. Either case does not suit the driller.

Most makers opt for a compromise and adopt the 3 start thread arrangement, where there will actually be 3 threads following each other, instead of just the one that is common on a simple bolt and nut.