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December 8, 2021

Drilling Deeper with our Argentine Customers

For decades, Boart Longyear diamond bits have been the favorite of Argentine drillers. Drillers don’t like to change anything that’s not broken so, convincing them they should upgrade to a line of truly better diamond bits was no easy mission.

The constant innovation in the design and manufacturing of diamond bits is a result of a robust Research and Development process, driven by data from their customer’s specific needs and challenges. By working closely with its customers, Boart Longyear Argentina has developed a trustworthy understanding of the unique challenges of each mining company and contractor.

It was in 2004 when the Alpha series of diamond bits was launched into the market. Alpha bits proved to be much more resistant to wear, with a longer life and superior performance. In addition, Alpha bits met specific drilling needs in direct relation to Mohs rock hardness and ground conditions with bits ranging from Alpha 01 to Alpha 10. At the time, Boart Longyear engineers had developed a way to increase their cutting speeds up to 25% and overall life by 40% and they felt Alpha bits would stand a high standard. However, the engineering team knew they could bring better performance to the industry.

Innovation takes time and, after nearly 8 years, Boart Longyear delivered UMX series bits to the market. UMX series bits were recognized worldwide for their unique face design and composite innovation that delivered significant productivity advantages. The early adopters of UMX technology realized the new bits could drill faster, last longer, and outperform long-established diamond bit technology. "I knew we had to go to our customers and tell them that the coring bit we were selling them had been vastly improved and they should try the UMX series bits," said Fernando Pavarotti, Minerals and Exploration Sales Representative for Boart Longyear in Argentina. “It was challenging to convince them," he added, "as the Alpha series bits were performing exactly as expected.” However, the new technology made it possible to cover the full range of drilling conditions and rock formations with only five formulations (down from more than 20 variants). That made it possible for customers to reduce their bit inventory by nearly 75%. The benefits looked interesting, and many customers began drilling with the new bits.

"The UMX technology allowed us to position ourselves as a diamond bit leader in Argentina, despite the arrival of vigorous competition,” Fernando points out.

In 2018 Boart Longyear announced the release of a series of diamond drill bits better than the UMX design. The new Longyear bits would eventually revolutionize the diamond drilling market, thanks to a wide range of design improvements. “Of course, we had to visit each customer to explain the performance upgrade achievable with Longyear bit technology,” Fernando remembers, “and, it was no easy task to convince them – some customers are still using the UMX series because of its good performance.”

The Boart Longyear team in Argentina was convinced that the new Longyear bit design was even better and that the benefits would be easy to prove. "We were convinced, but we had to also convince the customer, who was already happy with our existing bits," says Fernando. The global reputation of the new bits ended up winning over Fernando’s customers and helped prove the team at Boart Longyear had outdone themselves, again.

Early data showed high performance with 20% to 30% improvements over the company’s previous diamond bits. In addition, the lower cost per meter was immediately appreciated by customers. It was also possible to identify other notable advantages such as longer bit life and less interaction with rod string translating into reduced risk for the operators and reduced downtime. The Longyear series of bits retained much of the previous generation’s range capabilities and helped customers keep inventory low.

High performance and close support

For Pavarotti, in addition to having one of the best bits worldwide, the advice that Boart Longyear delivers is highly valued by drillers. "We always work alongside our customers, we are with them in the field, and we know their needs. Furthermore, we have more than 130 years of global drilling experience, which has given us proven expertise to analyze all drilling conditions and to recommend the most suitable drill bit for each campaign,” said Fernando.

Boart Longyear recommends monitoring any bit’s effectiveness with rock hardness measuring instruments, such as core scratch pencils, which can be obtained directly from the company. "Core scratching is critical to determine which type of diamond bit is right for which ground depending on conditions such as hardness. As drilling progresses, it is necessary to monitor the process to confirm if conditions are changing, which may require using a different type of bit to avoid unnecessary or accelerated wear," Fernando explains.

The high quality of the Longyear series bit not only allowed Boart Longyear to become the preferred supplier of many companies in Argentina but also opened the door to customers in the market. Today, the performance achieved with Longyear bits has convinced customers by delivering cost savings and increased revenue. Many had been relying on other manufacturers and have grown to trust the Boart Longyear team.

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JamesBurris

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