The Development History of Rock Drilling Tools

Table of Contents

Rock drilling tools are indispensable tools in the mining, construction, and geological exploration fields and have experienced a long and colorful development process in the long history of human beings. Human beings’ pursuit of the mining of underground resources and the advancement of construction technology has also promoted the development and improvement of rock drilling tools. From the earliest simple stone tools to modern high-tech materials, the evolution of rock drilling tools has reflected human wisdom and made significant contributions to the progress of human civilization.

Early rock drilling tools date back to the Stone Age. During this period, humans used simple chisels and hammers made of stone and wood for basic rock drilling needs. Although their efficiency was limited, they laid the foundation for later technological developments.

rock drilling tools

In the 16th century, as a tool for breaking rocks and drilling rock holes, rock drilling tools were born with the use of gunpowder to blast rocks. Before the middle of the 19th century, human beings used artificial hand hammers to drill rock holes. In the middle of the 19th century, with the collapse of feudalism and the rise of capitalism in European society, the demand for coal and minerals increased greatly, and plenty of tunneling was needed to build railways. Hand hammer drilling was not inefficient enough to meet engineering requirements. In 1813, steam-powered rock drills appeared in the UK. In 1857, Italian engineer Germain Sommeiller successfully trial-produced a piston pneumatic rock drill with an impact frequency of 200-300 times/min and was widely used in tunnel engineering and mining production in Italy, Germany, France, and other countries.

In the drilling process of the rock drill, scooping rock powder can not meet the progress of the project, affecting the whole rock drilling efficiency. The engineering situation urgently requires continuous powder discharge in the rock drilling process. At the earliest, people used threaded solid drill rods, but its structure was complicated, and the powder discharge was not smooth.

In the drilling process of the rock drill, the use of scoop rock powder can not meet the progress of the project, affecting the whole rock drilling efficiency. The engineering production situation urgently requires continuous powder discharge in the rock drilling process. At the earliest, people used solid drill rods with threaded, but its structure was complicated, and the powder discharge was not smooth.

rock drilling tools

In 1897, John George Legner proposed the concept of modern percussion rock drilling and the famous patent of “intermixing” water and air to discharge rock dust through the drill rod. The world’s first pneumatic percussion drill with a free piston and automatic gas distribution has been successfully developed with an impact frequency of 1800 times /min. Combined with the hollow rod, invented in 1893, the pressurized gas and water can discharge the rock powder at the bottom of the rock hole through the drill rod. This technique realized wet drilling and made the first breakthrough in the present drilling technology. In 1917, the first hand-held pneumatic rock drill was successfully trial-produced. In 1919, the guideway rock drill appeared. In 1920, the automatic rotary impact rock drill appeared.

Since the 1960s, high-power independent rotary rock drills, hydraulic rock drilling rigs, and down-the-hole rock drills have developed rapidly. In 1970, the Montabert from French produced the world’s first hydraulic impact rock drill. The Simba H252, TH286, TH178 double-arm, three-arm, and four-arm drilling rigs with COP1032, COP1038, and COP1238 rock drills of Atlascopco in Sweden come out one after another. It has achieved high efficiency, low energy consumption, and noise-free drilling, and has become another breakthrough in rock drilling technology. Therefore, the development of rock drills has promoted the development of rock drilling tools.

In general, the development of rock drilling tools includes two major development stages: early rock drilling tools and modern rock drilling tools. The two stages can be roughly demarcated from 1920. The service of rock drilling tools in early development stage is very short, and the production efficiency is low with artificial hand hammers or other methods. Rock drilling tools in modern development stage are diversified, the production quality is good, and the service life is long. Cooperating with high-frequency and high-power modern impact rock drills, the production efficiency is high.

Throughout the development history of rock drilling tools, the emergence and development of rock drilling machines and various kinds of brazing steel have played a critical role in the development of rock drilling tools. This is inseparable from the cooperation of different enterprises in the industry. For example, Atlascopco and Sandvik were business partners until 1989, and all Atlascopco’s COP rock drilling machines are equipped with Sandvik’s rock drilling tools. After 1989, it began to set up its production system of rock drilling tools and rock drilling machinery.

With the continuous advancement of science and technology, materials and manufacturing processes of rock drilling tools are also continuously improved. Modern rock drilling tools are more often than not made from high-strength and high-hardness steel materials, which are manufactured through delicate processing and heat treatment processes. At the same time, some new rock drilling tools also adopt aerodynamic design, which makes the drilling of holes more efficient and accurate.

In short, the development history of rock drilling tools witnesses the progress of human science and technology and the accumulation of wisdom. From simple stone tools to modern rock drilling tools, they have provided crucial support for human construction and mining. Every tool innovation drives the development of fields such as construction, mining, and geological exploration. With the continuous evolution of science and technology, rock drilling tools will show more diversified and efficient applications in the future, which also ushers in a broader development prospect of rock drilling tools.

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