In the world there are rocks hard enough to give the most sophisticated drilling rigs a worthy battle rotary or percussion. When these conventional methods do not work, dynamite is often used, but the shock waves generated by this alternative make it an impractical option. So what can be done in these kinds of complex scenarios? The company Petra believe your robot Swifty may be the solution.
The San Francisco-based firm says it has developed a semi-autonomous thermal drilling robot It can work in conditions where conventional drilling systems would end up destroyed. Swifty uses gas to apply extreme heat and literally pulverize “the hardest rocks on Earth without touching them.” All this, according to Petra, without noise and at low cost, something that could be more convenient than using dynamite.
Spraying rocks at 982 ° C (and without touching them)
Kim Abrams, the founder of Petra, said in an interview with CNBC that Swifty works semi-autonomously. The robot is controlled via remote control meters away from the drilling area and uses artificial vision to do its work. Unlike other solutions, can create tunnels from 46 to 152 cm in diameter. It does this by heating the rocks above 982 ° C and turning them into small pieces. He also has the ability to backtrack over the area that he drilled himself.
To demonstrate the robot’s capabilities, Petra csuccessfully completed a 6 meter drill hole through Sioux quartzite, which the company describes as “the hardest rock on earth, harder than bluestone granite and the type of rock that would generally have to be dynamited.” In the test, the robot was able to advance one inch (2.54 centimeters) per minute.
This system, which according to Petra, can help to drill small tunnels in impenetrable geologies could help expand underground utilities to keep them safe from vandalism, wildfires, high winds, and other threats. For the time being, the company will continue laboratory testing, drilling Swifty through various rock types such as granite, dolomite, limestone and basalt.
Petra aims to put her thermal drilling robot to work on utility works. If everything continues as before, expects to start commercial operations by the end of 2022. Initially it seeks to occupy the role of subcontractor of companies that carry out tunnels of this type in the United States, although they do not rule out also carrying out their own projects.
More information | Petra
Source: Xataka by www.xataka.com.
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