Tag Archives: Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology


With a corporate focus on facilitating predictive maintenance through the flow of real-time data on its equipment, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions offers various parts supply and management options to suit customers’ needs.

Among the options, according to Amith Ganasram, business line manager – parts commercial at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, is Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI).

“To streamline the availability of spare parts, our people can be on site with an inventory of stock that we manage,” says Ganasram. “The main advantage here is that this makes parts available to the customer at reduced lead times.”

He notes that his team works with the customer’s operational staff on site, as well as with the service teams from Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions. This means that uptime can be optimised, as the right parts are readily available when they are required.

Alternatively, customers may prefer to opt for a stock model that is based on consignment. Under this arrangement, the customer manages a parts holding on their own site, but they only pay for what they consume.

“We can conduct a regular audit every couple of weeks, for example, to check that the stock level is well balanced with the parts that are actually used,” he says.

Every effort is made to allow customers to leverage the value of OEM components, as their inherent quality safeguards the lifecycle of machines, minimising any unplanned downtime which could lead to lost production and revenue.

“We make it easy for customers to standardise on OEM parts, by creating bundled offerings when they purchase equipment,” he says. “This allows the customer access to high quality parts at a discount, when they take advantage of a total offering with new equipment.”

Through its advances in fleet data monitoring (FDM) solutions, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions offers customers digital tools to track the performance and condition of their equipment. This includes prediction of key indicators like Mean-Time-Between-Failure (MTBF), so that servicing and parts supply can be better planned. All these factors contribute to safer and smoother operations, with the lowest total cost of ownership for operating equipment.


As mines in Africa are constantly turning to modern technologies to run more efficient operations and improve safety, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has seen renewed interest in its DD422i, the next-generation mining jumbo with the widest range of automatic drilling functions.

Having sold the first DD422i development drill in Africa to Black Mountain Mine in 2018, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has seen a ramp up in sales in the past three years, with nine more units making their way onto local mining sites, averaging at least three machines per year.

Saltiel Pule, business line manager for underground drilling in southern Africa at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, says the will be more than 10 units operating in southern Africa by the end of 2022. The Sandvik DD422i has proven to be a machine of choice for tier one mining contractors operating at high-production mines in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

“Traditionally, mines in Africa have always lagged behind their global counterparts in adopting new technologies,” says Saltiel. “However, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the application of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies in the local mining industry, hence the ramp up in sales of the DD422i drill since 2020.”

The local mining sector, adds Saltiel, has in recent years started to witness increased digitisation of the work processes, as well as the adoption of automation and other innovative tools.

“The Sandvik DD422i made its global debut in 2016 as the founding platform of Sandvik’s next generation underground drills designed to meet the industry’s growing need for new 4IR technologies such as digitalisation and automation,” says Saltiel.

The overarching differentiator, says Saltiel, is the iSURE®8 software (Intelligent Sandvik Underground Rock Excavation), a computer programme for mining drill and blast process control. It produces all the data miners need for an optimal drilling and blasting cycle.

The recent Sandvik automation upgrade packages, the Teleremote drilling and drill bit changer, further enhance the Sandvik DD422i’s automation functions. Teleremote is a reliable and easy way to control the drill from a remote location.

Sandvik’s patented drill bit changer further improves drilling productivity by allowing the operator to drill a full round without leaving the cabin to change the bit manually.

“Another major talking point on the Sandvik DD422i is its high speed, made possible by the 25 kW RD525 drifter, the biggest in the Sandvik face drilling range. This is a significant improvement on the predecessor range’s HLX5 drifter, which offered 19,5 kW of drilling power,” concludes Saltiel.


In the mine of the future, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are poised to play a leading role in improving health and safety, boosting efficiencies and achieving sustainability goals.

With BEV technology at their disposal, southern African mines are now able to consider how to prepare themselves to best advantage, argues Deon Lambert, business line manager for load and haul at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

“For mines who are working towards carbon neutrality, there are options to combine on-mine renewable energy generation with BEVs,” says Lambert. “In countries where grid power is unreliable, this strategy also holds the promise of more streamlined and uninterrupted operations.”

With a solid reference base of its battery-powered LHDs and trucks already operating in the field, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has made considerable progress in introducing BEV technology into mines. From 4 t LHDs in 2 to 3 m tunnels to 65 t trucks in 5 to 6 m tunnels, the BEV proposition is well-proven. The key, he says, is to ensure that there is the right level of site readiness before bringing any innovation into an existing process. 

“For instance, it is clear that BEVs cannot on their own improve on the carbon footprint of an older, cable-trailing fleet if the mine’s source of electricity is still a coal-fired power grid,” he notes. 

Key to the enabling infrastructure for a productive BEV fleet is the necessary expertise for maintaining and servicing all technical aspects to achieve the expected performance levels. This process of skills development is well underway among Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions people in southern Africa, and will be rolled out into an upskilling process for customer personnel. 

“An advantage of our technology and design is that we minimise the new infrastructure that mines need to put in place to run our BEVs,” he says. “Our LH518B underground loader, which will soon be introduced to this region, needs no cranes or forklifts to change the battery, for example.”

Equipped with Sandvik’s patented AutoConnect and AutoSwap functions, the loader can change batteries on its own in just six minutes. Similarly, the battery charging facilities – complete with cooling component – can be readily moved and installed to suit the location of the fleet. The charger is also designed to have only a light impact on the mine’s electrical network. 

Lambert also highlights the importance of the extended technical support that Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions can offer to mining customers who employ BEVs for the first time. Service level agreements can include close monitoring and maintenance of equipment, and options such as batteries-as-a-service rather than purchasing batteries.

“The entry of BEVs into our market is an exciting development for the future of mining,” he says. “To fully leverage its value, though, we need strong partnerships at mine level for mines and suppliers to succeed in this technological journey together.”


Leveraging the powerful telemetry and data acquisition capability of its mining equipment, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions is rolling out its Remote Monitoring Service – which analyses data to optimise valuable uptime.

By translating vast amounts of data from underground mining equipment into actionable recommendations, Remote Monitoring Service can also reduce the cost per hour of production equipment, lengthen its lifespan and improve operator safety. 

According to Imraan Amod, business line manager services responsible for Southern African at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, the innovative system effectively merges telemetry data from the equipment fleet with Sandvik’s digital and OEM technical expertise. 

“This includes a global pool of reference data and in-depth analytical skills, which combine to produce actionable recommendations for continuous improvement of mining operations,” says Amod “We know our equipment through and through, so we are uniquely positioned to maximise its productivity wherever our data analysis presents an opportunity.”

Sandvik data scientists continuously monitor and analyse the data points acquired from customers’ production equipment. They identify root causes for abnormalities and develop predictive solutions to increase the mean time between failures.

By monitoring and analysing machine data and operator behaviour, Remote Monitoring Service can answer important technical questions to help streamline operations. For instance, it gives insight into why one operator consistently achieves better productivity than another, or why a specific loader suffers from unplanned downtime more often. 

“An example of what Remote Monitoring Service offers is to avoid improper gear selection, which can easily damage power train components,” he says. “It can identify incorrect gear selection when driving uphill and downhill, utilising algorithms tailored to the conditions at the customer’s mine.”

Another scenario is premature engine failure; Remote Monitoring Service uses a neural network to observe operational signals from the engine. This determines the possible defect before it leads to power loss and engine breakdown. 

“This is an attractive value proposition for mine owners and mining contractors, as it allows mean time between failures to be targeted and improved,” he says. 

In addition to technical improvements, there is also the bigger picture of stakeholder expectations. Emerging social investors and other stakeholders today expect results and transparency around decarbonisation and sustainability, not just financial performance. Remote Monitoring Service can identify opportunities for reduced fuel consumption – and hence less climate emissions – so that mines can focus their operator training accordingly. 

The service is primarily designed for underground mining, suitable for both large and small operations as well as all types of underground production equipment. Remote Monitoring Service does not require customers to invest heavily in IT infrastructure or associated resources. Rather, the service provides a high return on the initial investment along with short lead times and low risks.


With exciting prospects for new mines and brownfield projects in Zimbabwe, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions’ Harare-based operation remains at full capacity and at the leading edge of industry innovation.

“We are looking forward to two new platinum operations taking shape, which could be producing within five years, as well as the expansion and digitalisation of existing operations,” says Ian Bagshaw, territory manager for Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions. “There will also be the rejuvenation of brownfield operations in surface and underground mines.”

Strengthening its capacity to serve its market – which includes customers in Botswana and Mozambique – the company has upgraded the skills, tooling and equipment of its service centre and completed a state-of-the-art technology centre. 

The service centre in Harare remanufactures all current models of Sandvik mobile equipment and also houses  a repair and rebuild facility for all major components as well as a dedicated drifter repair and test centre. 

Its world class Technology Centre works with customers to fully utilise the range of Sandvik digital tools to increase safety and productivity in mining operations.

“We are proud of our strong technical foundation, with about 60% of our 420 plus workforce being engineers, artisans, auto-electricians and other technical specialists,” says Bagshaw. “Investing in training our own people is a priority, and we are proud to note the considerable interest from women in Zimbabwe in pursuing technical careers with some 30% of our apprentices being female at any time.” 

Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions’ Zimbabwean operation supports the full range of Sandvik equipment in the country ranging from underground trucks and loaders to surface drills and crushing and screening equipment. Bagshaw explains that service and support is tailored to suit each customer’s requirements and ranges from full maintenance contracts to field service callouts, both back by a comprehensive parts stockholding, digital monitoring and ongoing training. 

He highlights the value of the company’s dedicated training department – delivering operator and technical training in-house and for customers. Gap analysis is also provided by the training team, helping mines to assess their skills base and provide targeted training programmes for operators as well as technical and supervisory staff. 

“We are also looking forward to mineral developments in Botswana, where activity on the Kalahari copper belt have created significant opportunities for the mining industry,” he says. “In the near future we will see copper and diamond operations going  underground, which is an exciting prospect.”

Bagshaw notes that Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Harare facility has remained fully operational through the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring that mines could continue producing optimally as essential services even during the ‘lockdown’ months.

“We are staying abreast of the latest global sustainability trends and corporate mandates, having installed a 420 panel solar energy system to generate 100 kW of power to our facility,” he says. This supplies about 75% of requirements, and reduces its carbon footprint by over 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.  


Achieving ISO certification for the roll over protection structure (ROPS) and falling object structure (FOPS) of the Sandvik LH115I low profile loader is another feather in the cap of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ South African operation.

The ROPS and FOPS for the South African-built Sandvik LH115I low profile loader has always been engineered in accordance with ISO standards, says Deon Lambert, business line manager at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. 

“The only difference was that local customers initially requested a total height of 1,6 metres for the unit, which meant it was limited to low height deflection-limiting volume (DLV),” says Lambert. “More recently, we have increased the height of the canopy by 70 mm, giving us the DLV to secure full certification in terms of ISO.”

Following the acceptance of the new canopy design from the factory, the way is now clear for manufacturing to be carried out locally. The new design was successfully tested at the company’s Finland head office facilities. The LH115I loader has been produced in South African since 2017, when Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions established a manufacturing facility in Jet Park. This has allowed about 70% of the machine’s content to be locally sourced.

“The first customer to place an order for a machine with the new canopy height already has five of our locally produced LH115I loaders on its mine, and these will be retrofitted with the new certified canopy,” he says. “All future units of this model produced by our local facility will also have the newly designed canopy and the associated certification.”

In addition to complying with the latest safety requirements of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the local content of the Sandvik LH115L low profile loader will assist mines in meeting their Mining Charter local procurement targets. Designed for harsh underground conditions, the loader boasts high availability and ease of maintenance, together optimising its lifetime operational costs. 

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions provides the full low-profile portfolio offering of underground drills and bolters to ensure matching sets of equipment.


The recent move by Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions to its new and upgraded Khomanani facility has boosted the company’s already considerable service capabilities. 

The modern premises near Kempton Park in Gauteng include a mega-workshop that now rates among the global company’s largest facilities, according to Imraan Amod, business line manager – services at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions.

“Our workshop incorporates both the mechanical soft-rock cutting business and the hard-rock mining business,” says Amod. He highlights that this configuration has allowed the integration of skills and competencies of each field under one roof, strengthening the company’s ability to support its product range with a depth and breadth of expertise.

There is also added capability that includes an extensive new bead blasting bay, large wash bay with robotic washers, modern spray painting bay and newly equipped machine shop. 

“We have invested heavily in the most up-to-date machinery such as vertical and horizontal boring mills, milling machines and CNC machines,” he says. “It is an ongoing priority that we stay abreast of the latest technology available.”

He also notes the commitment of Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions to excellence in its technical skills, supported by ongoing training and coaching of personnel. This is combined with experience in the field, to deliver quality service solutions.

“As part of our continuous adaptation to changing customer needs, we are also operationalising a ‘roving team’ to provide OEM intervention support on site as and when necessary,” says Amod. “The aim of this strategy to help customers to resolve relatively minor issues on any of their machines, without having to take them out of service for transportation to a formal workshop setting.” 

He emphasises that this flexible and agile team will have the experience and skills to deliver services that meet stringent OEM standards. This is always a significant consideration, as it assures the customer of a quality result that does not introduce any legal liability.

“There may be safety and warranty implications when using non-OEM repairers, so the roving team will help mines to remain compliant while maximising uptime,” he says. 


In a strategic move that will consolidate its resources and further enhance its service to customers, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has moved its South African headquarters to brand new, purpose-designed premises in Kempton Park near Johannesburg.

According to Simon Andrews, managing director at Sandvik South Africa, the state-of-the-art Khomanani facility includes three large workshop areas and office space on a 62,000 square metre site.

“As the Tsonga name Khomanani reflects – “hold each other together as a unit” – our new home unites us under one roof to collaborate, adapt and learn as we strive towards higher standards,” says Andrews. “The technical synergies of the workshops add to our commitment and capacity for local production that meets global quality requirements.”

Two of the workshops are dedicated to refurbishment and rebuilding of local equipment for the southern African region – mainly Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. This is  where new standard-format equipment is configured for local use – typically including features like safety systems, lighting, toe-hitches and decals to customer specifications.

“Our remanufacturing facility allows us to completely rebuild machines to OEM standards, including the sub-assembly refurbishments on transmissions, axles, differential and pump motors,” he says. 

The first workshop has 23 bays for machines to be refurbished, while the second is specially equipped with 100 tonne capacity flooring for the heavier tracked equipment such as underground continuous miners and surface drill rigs. The fit-for-purpose layout of the spacious site allows the heavy transport vehicles to loop in and out with equipment without needing to manoeuvre. improving workflow and efficiency. 

A combination of cranes from 5 tonne to 30 tonne capacity – as well as a specialised 50 tonne forklift – facilitate safe and quick off-loading and reloading. 

The third workshop focuses on local assembly of equipment for both South African as well as global markets to Sandvik’s well known high OEM standards.

“Our investment in local manufacturing capacity is an important vote of confidence in South Africa and its mining sector,” says Andrews. “The quality of our work is also world class, allowing Sandvik to shift certain manufacturing duties from elsewhere in the world to our new facility.”

In line with Sandvik’s international guidelines, the design of Khomanani prioritises energy and water efficiency. With a shared solar photovoltaic system and use of LED light bulbs, the building is expected to achieve a 48% saving on energy, also making greater use of natural light, roof insulation and ‘low-E’ coated glass. Water-efficient fixtures, fittings and systems, as well as rainwater harvesting, will improve water consumption levels by 42%.


Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ newly launched Technology Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, is assisting the region’s mining industry on its exciting journey into the digital future. 

The centre has already begun working with technology-focused customers in underground hard-rock mines locally to raise the productivity bar. According to Sandvik Technology Centre manager, Hosea Molife the facility’s key aim is to use digital technology to make mines safer and more productive. 

“Our starting point was an Optimine implementation for the monitoring and tracking of underground mobile equipment and customer support for a MySandvik project,” says Molife. 

He explains that hardware is installed on the equipment together with the software to gather and transmit operational data, allowing mine management to view equipment location and productivity at any time. The data is automatically analysed giving the customer decision making dashboards. 

Ian Bagshaw, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions territory manager, says the technologies employed by the company essentially ‘take the lid off’ the mine, revealing vital real-time information such as tons mines and holes drilled. The Technology Centre can make use of various Sandvik solutions to render the data useful to the customer. These include MySandvik for equipment monitoring using up-to-date information, Optimine for integrating resources and optimising processes and Automine for automating mining activities.

Bagshaw highlights that the Sandvik Technology Centre has been welcomed by technology-focused customers in the region, who believe that this direction is an important differentiator. 

“These customers are certainly leading the way globally in the platinum mining sector,” he says. “There is  a strong safety element in the digital journey, as machine automation can help keep operators away from the workface and other potentially hazardous areas of the mine.”

There are already three projects underway at the Technology Centre, says Molife. The MySandvik solution is being provided to 100 machines on one site, while Optimine is being installed on a 76 unit fleet and Automine is initially being used to create a trucking loop for a single unit pilot project.

“The beauty of our facility is that it can be quickly ramped up as demand grows, allowing us to serve a growing customer base as mines see the practical value of applying digital technology,” he says. There has been considerable interest expressed by the region’s mines to date, with potential projects for the Technology Centre emerging in South Africa, Botswana and possibly further afield . 

According to Bagshaw, applying Sandvik’s digital solutions is the beginning of a  journey for mines, as they move away from paper-based and static data platforms. 

“In addition to installing the hardware and software to generate real-time data for mines, we also work closely with customers on how best to utilise the reports ,” he says. “Building these reports into their daily operations and real time decision making will bring the productivity value add.” 


Having been introduced to the southern African market only a year ago, there are already two Rhino 100 ‘plug-and-drill’ raiseborers from Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions destined for local mining sites. 

One unit will soon be at work in Botswana, while the second will be delivered to a large South African mine later this year, according to Saltiel Pule, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions’ business line manager for underground drilling in southern Africa. 

“This machine has raised considerable interest in our market, and we fully expect to see five units at work in our region by the end of 2022,” says Pule. The primary application of the Rhino 100 is for drilling of production slots, but it also makes a valuable contribution in a range of other applications – from ventilation raises and escape routes to ore passes and connections between tunnels. 

“Using conventional drill and blast methods, these vertical or inclined holes can take mines three to six months to complete,” he says. “With the Rhino 100, we are talking about durations of less than a week.”

Drilled as relief holes in sub-level open stoping, slot raises provide the necessary void space for blasting, allowing the expansion of blasted rock into the void to improve fragmentation. Dean Zharare, sales engineer for underground drilling at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, highlights that the conventional blasting of slot raises often creates a bottleneck for mines. 

“We have encountered situations where mine personnel have to return two or three times to a slot raise before it is ready, due to misfires, for instance,” says Zharare. “This creates a bottleneck in the mining process, reducing the monthly metres achieved.”

The mobility and drilling speed of the Rhino 100 can transform this scenario, he says, with an expectation that monthly metres drilled could be improved by 65%. There is even the possibility that one of the units in South Africa will be operated remotely with the operator based on surface while it drills underground stopes. 

Drilling holes of 750 mm in diameter, the Rhino 100 boasts penetration rates of about 2 metres per hour, more than double the rate of conventional methods. As important as the speed, he says, is the reliability of the result.

“These larger holes make the blast much more reliable, avoiding any time consuming and dangerous redrilling in the even of a block ‘freezing’ after an unsuccessful blast,” he says.

Underpinning the machine’s mobility is its ability to carry its own components, including rods, cables, hydraulics and the raiseboring head. It is pulled by a specially adapted double-axle John Deere tractor. To optimise the set-up time – which can take as little as 10 minutes – it has outriggers for stability rather than needing a concrete pad to be poured. No roof bolting is required either, as an inclinometer gives the operator the necessary coordinates for a surveyor to confirm before drilling operations begin.

Since the Rhino 100 was launched 2017, it has achieved a strong global footprint, with over 20 units operating worldwide. Australia has seen particularly strong take-up, with one contractor already ordering four machines. Underground expansions at almost a dozen operations around southern Africa present exciting opportunities for the future of the Rhino 100 in this region, says Zharare.