Drilling Down Into Underground Mining Equipment
Sana Kazilbash posted on August 17, 2020 |
South America’s Resemin thrives in the international mining market with low-tech reliability.
Dassault Systèmes has sponsored this post.
Resemin’s Raptor-55 production long-hole jumbo. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)
Resemin’s Raptor-55 production long-hole jumbo. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)

News about underground mines is not usually good news. For example, there are often stories about miners being trapped for months, receiving food and letters through bore holes while rescue teams plan and execute painstaking extractions.

But underground and out of sight, mining has been evolving. The parade of coal-covered men emerging from mines with shovels has thinned out. The canaries used to check the air for carbon monoxide finally disappeared in the late ’80s. Modern mines incorporate extensive ventilation systems and high-tech equipment to ensure the safety of all mining personnel.

And Then, There’s Resemin

Resemin, headquartered in Lima, Peru, is the only Latin American maker of underground drills – and is the third-largest in the world, behind only Swedish drilling giants Sandvik and Atlas Copco.

Resemin leverages advanced design and engineering technology with a focus on safety and reliability within the extreme environments found in underground mines. The company secured ISO 9001:2000 certification in 2002. In addition to producing drilling rigs for mining and tunneling applications, the company provides machine components along with maintenance and mine operation services.

Resemin had its beginnings in 1989, when founder and CEO James Valenzuela experienced widespread shortages of spare parts that he was selling to foreign mining equipment companies, due to inflation that had gripped Peru. Having studied engineering, Valenzuela realized that he could use the situation to his advantage and build simplified versions of the same equipment—and thus, Resemin was born.

In 2001, Resemin launched the Raptor long-hole drill rig, and almost immediately acquired a foothold in the international market with sales in countries such as Zambia and Chile. The company underwent further growth when it entered Mexico in 2010, going from seven machines to a fleet of more than thirty.

After developing the Bolter and Troidon series, Resemin experienced its greatest level of success with the game-changing Muki model, which expanded sales over five continents. Today, Resemin’s jumbos, bolters and drills operate in over 20 countries, including India, Iran, Bolivia, Argentina, Canada, Australia, Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Muki drilling rig. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)
The Muki drilling rig. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)

Resemin has a number of partnerships which allow it to continue positioning its brand at a global level. After winning Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2017, the Peruvian-based company was selected as the exclusive licensee for all Schopf mining vehicles outside of Europe, under the Goldhofer Group. Then, in October 2019, Resemin announced its collaboration with Caterpillar—one of the world’s biggest names in the heavy equipment industry with more than 110 facilities across the globe.

Resemin’s Products

Resemin currently offers more than 30 equipment models grouped into frontier jumbos, long-drill jumbos, bolters, utilities and loaders. The wide-ranging underground mining equipment is used for tunnel development, roof support and production drilling.

For instance, bolters are used to force bolts into roofs, securing supports to prevent collapses in coal and soft mineral mines. Drills are used to create extensive series of holes which are then filled with explosive charges to blast away chunks of ore-filled earth.

The Bolter-99 hard at work. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)
The Bolter-99 hard at work. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)

The Troidon-55 is an electrohydraulic jumbo equipped with an 1838 HD drilling machine. Its arm reaches cross-sections of 40m2, and the distribution of its components allows for easy access during maintenance.

Troidon-55. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)
Troidon-55. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)

Resemin’s most noteworthy product is the Muki, a 1.05-meter-wide front-facing electrohydraulic drilling rig designed for getting into tiny spaces. Named after a creature from Andean mining folklore, the Muki is the smallest drill rig on the planet—perfect for mining narrow vein mineral deposits.

In 2016, Resemin launched Scalemin, a rock loader which comes equipped with a special Montabert SC 28 hammer for efficient scaling. The technology safely carries out dangerous work that was previously performed manually by human workers, which often led to accidents in harsh operating environments.

Scalemin-L rock loader. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)
Scalemin-L rock loader. (Image courtesy of Resemin.)

What Distinguishes Resemin from Other Brands?

In a nutshell: simple and robust equipment design.

Unlike its competitors which boast collaborative robots (“cobots”), Resemin machinery stays away from computerization, maintaining that the lack of electronics keeps drill rigs easy to use and cheaper to maintain. In addition, the excess water and high temperatures often found in underground mines would cause highly digitized systems to fail.

“Underground mining is a mess,” emphasizes Valenzuela in an interview with the Global Mining Observer. “It is the worst environment for machines. If you include a lot of electronics, you have stopped machines, a lot of failures. You need to keep a balance.”

While this may seem to go against high tech innovation, we can’t argue with Resemin’s mining equipment being remarkably cost-effective. The low complexity of its machinery makes operator training straightforward while still aligning with international safety standards.

Speaking of Safety...

If there was one area where “over-engineering” would be acceptable, it would be safety.

All Resemin machinery complies with ISO 3449:2005 falling-object protective structures (FOPS) performance criteria. This international standard aims to protect seated operators of underground machinery from heavy falling objects such as rocks, by evaluating the impact penetration and load-carrying characteristics of equipment supporting structures.

FOPS are usually presented in the form of a sheet metal structure fitted at the top of a cab to cover the mining operator. These FOPS are required to meet certain durability standards, and the use of analytical methods alone for determining cabin performance is forbidden due to the unpredictable nature of inelastic materials.

Full-scale destructive testing absolutely must be carried out—which can be expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, non-linear contact with plasticity analyses can be used to simulate FOPS testing through finite element analysis (FEA). The FEA approach has been proven to correlate well with experimental results, resulting in FOPS designs that minimize the number of prototypes needed for full-scale destructive testing.

The methodology involves classifying heavy falling objects into potential energy ranges, after which the energy adsorption capability of FOPS structures is analyzed. When a falling object of a prescribed shape and weight is dropped onto a FOPS cab ceiling from a pre-determined height, the deformation of the FOPS must not reach its deflection limiting volume (DLV).

FOPS deformation at the time of maximum deflection. (Image courtesy of Komatsu.)
FOPS deformation at the time of maximum deflection. (Image courtesy of Komatsu.)

This is Not a Drill. It’s a Simulation.

This is where Resemin meets SOLIDWORKS Simulation.

Resemin optimizes its FOPS designs by using integrated SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium software to simulate the effects of a 227kg rock falling a distance of five meters onto the protective canopy of its mining equipment.

Using an analysis of mechanical properties based on material stress-strain curves, contact combinations and time-serial calculations, it is possible to simulate the occurrence of a rupture. SOLIDWORKS Simulation determines a material’s elastic deformation up to its yield point (YP), after which the model is subject to plastic deformation up to its yield tensile strength (TS).

Plastic deformation continues until the model ruptures under its true rupture stress, σT. Simulation properties are compared against measured values obtained from the destructive FOPS test to further validate equipment models. (To learn more about nonlinear analysis using SOLIDWORKS Simulation, check out this article.)

A sample FOPS stress-strain curve. (Image courtesy of Komatsu.)
A sample FOPS stress-strain curve. (Image courtesy of Komatsu.)

In addition to FOPS studies, Resemin also uses SOLIDWORKS Simulation to conduct fatigue failure analyses.

Conducting fatigue failure analyses using SOLIDWORKS Simulation. (Images courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)
Conducting fatigue failure analyses using SOLIDWORKS Simulation. (Images courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

Data acquisition technology provides detailed load input data for increased accuracy of simulation. SOLIDWORKS Simulation processes these loads on existing surfaces—for example, on the weld fillet of mining bolter equipment.

Fatigue failure of mining bolter equipment. (Images courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)
Fatigue failure of mining bolter equipment. (Images courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

Variable amplitude loading is used to predict fatigue failure in 3D models at different frequencies in order to determine the actual excitation.

Finite element mesh. (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)
Finite element mesh. (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

Frequency response. (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)
Frequency response. (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

Static and dynamic analyses are carried out to forecast the life of the structure. Real-time failure prediction utilizes a large set of simulations to estimate structural integrity.

Static analysis in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. (Images courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)
Static analysis in SOLIDWORKS Simulation. (Images courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

According to Resemin’s engineering manager Fernando Díaz, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium can carry out a nonlinear contact with plasticity analysis in a couple of hours, as opposed to previous simulation software which would take two days. The speed and accuracy of design validation has resulted in significant time savings and a 70 percent reduction in prototyping for the company.

Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium to conduct complex nonlinear analyses for compliance with FOPS standards. (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)
Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium to conduct complex nonlinear analyses for compliance with FOPS standards. (Image courtesy of SOLIDWORKS.)

“We decided to move from AutoCAD 2D design tools to a 3D development platform to support a high level of design customization and accelerate the creation of 3D geometry to support simulations,” Díaz recalls. “Resemin implemented SOLIDWORKS Premium software in 2008 because it was too difficult and time-consuming to translate AutoCAD 2D drawings into 3D geometry to support FEA, and faster and easier to just create our designs in 3D in SOLIDWORKS.”

The switch to SOLIDWORKS 3D design has also accelerated product development, enabling Resemin to slash equipment delivery times in half and considerably boost throughput.

“In 2008, before we standardized on SOLIDWORKS, we designed and manufactured an average of two machines each year,” Díaz asserts. “Right now, with SOLIDWORKS, we’re producing 60 machines annually. The impact of transitioning to an integrated SOLIDWORKS 3D solution on our business has been huge.”

Resemin’s positive experience with SOLIDWORKS has encouraged the mining equipment manufacturer to implement additional SOLIDWORKS solutions. For example, after adopting SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional for product data management in 2012, Resemin has seen improved input from the field which has proved valuable for streamlining the equipment design process. That same year, the company also incorporated SOLIDWORKS Composer for its technical communication needs.

“We implemented SOLIDWORKS Composer to produce visuals for our spare parts manuals and animations to demonstrate how our machines operate,” Díaz says.

Resemin adopted SOLIDWORKS Inspection quality assurance software in 2014 to allow for the inspection of components in digital formats, after which inspection reports would be connected to physical parts of the PDM system. Engineers at Resemin have realized further productivity gains in the design, manufacture and assembly of underground drilling machinery through the application of SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic design, SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D design, SOLIDWORKS Visualize rendering and DraftSight 2D design software.

“Because we’ve experienced important benefits with every SOLIDWORKS solution that we’ve implemented, we make sure to keep our subscription up-to-date so we can take advantage of the new capabilities included with every new version,” states Díaz.

What’s Next for Resemin?

The company’s latest technological development involved the launch of its first electric battery-powered jumbo in November 2019. Further advancements include a laser alignment system which would be used to improve drilling efficiency and precision.

For more information on Dassault Systèmes and SOLIDWORKS, visit their website.

For details on SOLIDWORKS Simulation, check out this research report and this eBook.


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