Rugged, Reliable & Flexible: The UB1000


Following nearly three years of operation and many thousands of meters boredTERRATEC’sUB1000-R16 Universal Box-Hole Borer remains a reliable and efficient workhorse for its Western Australian mining contractor owner.

In 2013, the UB1000-R16 Universal Box-Hole Borer was designed by Terratec at the company’s facilities in Tasmania, Australia, and was delivered to a mining contractor for use in the Western Australian Gold Fields in 2014. It was specifically developed to meet industry requests for a 1.06m diameter Box Hole Boring machine that would meet all Australian mine safety standards, plus be low profile, and also could be quickly switched to operate as a conventional Raise Borer, capable of pulling up to 3m diameter holes.

The UB1000-R16 went into service in late 2014, working in a narrow vein gold mine, and was used to produce box-holed stope slots and escape ways, along with some larger, conventionally raise bored, ventilation shafts. Initial box-hole trials were successful and a number of improvements to the rig were identified, which were successfully incorporated in mid-2015.

Once the refinements were installed, the machine went on to operate almost continuously for over two years, with no major down-time and no repair interventions required. This period took the machine to 9,736 operating hours of drilling, box-holing and conventional raise-boring.

During the two-year period mentioned, approximately 200m per month of 1.06m diameter box-holes were bored on an ongoing basis. Typical turn-around between box-holes was just under three days, including mobilization, set-up, drilling/boring, de-rigging, and crawler transport to the next site. A number of larger conventional raises were also done during this period, including several at 2.4m diameter x 80m deep, and one hole at 3.1m diameter x 85m deep, at a 70-degree dip angle.

/files/02.jpgoverhaul work was minimal, with thrust cylinders not requiring to be replaced or overhauled.

In Late 2017, the machine was taken out of the mine, to do some derrick maintenance work, plus a gear-box rebuild. Even though the gear box was well past its recommended hours between services, it was found to be in excellent condition.

The main bearings were replaced, and the used bearings were in good enough condition to be kept as emergency spares. All gears were in good condition, and were re-installed, being judged as suitable for another 10,000 hours of service. Derrick

Following nearly three years of operation and many thousands of meters bored, the derrick and gearbox service work was completed in a period of less than four weeks.

Labour costs for operating the machine are minimal, as mechanized rod handling and crawler transport/erection mean the machine can be operated by a single man. The contractor using the UB1000-R16 machine has found that two operators are most efficient though.


Recent discussions between Terratec personnel and the mine managers where the rig is operating indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the machine’s capabilities.

They highlighted its ruggedness, reliability and especially its flexibility. They are particularly happy to have a single machine on site that can perform box holes and medium sized conventional holes, rather than having to maintain and schedule two different machines.

Also, the ability to switch from box-hole to conventional mode very quickly gives the mine managers more flexibility to change their sequencing of holes later in the production schedule.

The UB1000-R16 is currently boring a series of large conventional holes, and continues to operate reliably and efficiently for its owners.

Unique Design features of the Terratec UB1000 Universal Box-Hole Borer:

The machine is able to be erected and operate (including installation of 1.06m box-hole reamer and non-rotating stabilizers) in a 4.5m x 4.5m drift.

/files/04.jpg It is able to operate as a box-hole borer or rapidly switch to conventional raising as required. Change over from box-hole to conventional modes is done by turning the gearbox, using a custom turning cradle. No crane is required and change-over has been proven to be readily achieved in less than four hours in underground conditions.

All drill string items, including 1.06m diameter reamer, 1.06m diameter non-rotating stabilizers, 10” diameter x 1.22m long drill rods and 12 ¼” hex stabilizers are able to be handled by the pipe-loader. Pick-up location is near ground level, regardless of left or right-hand dip angle, at up to 45-degrees either direction.

All 1.06m diameter drill string items are able to pass though the upper work-table doors and through a second set of doors in the muck chute. Two sets of upper doors mean there is almost never a situation where the open hole is exposed.

/files/05.jpg It is able to operate at up to 45-degree dip, either side of centre-line, in a “cross-drift” orientation, with no requirement to turn the rig first. No modifications are needed to the rig to change from a left-hand to right-hand dip.

The Integrated Powered Wrenching System at the upper work-table doors ensures no man access is required at height.

The gearbox is fully Terratec designed and built, with special sealing arrangements to suit box-hole conditions, and has a hollow shaft for bailing water. It can be positioned with the drive box pointing up for box-holes or downwards for conventional raise boring.

/files/06.jpg The derrick is mounted on a powerful diesel crawler, with radio controls, for fast turn-around between holes and for movements in and out of the mine.

Integrated Torque Column/Thrust Cylinders provide balanced thrust and clear access from all sides. Thrust Cylinder Rods are coated with laser deposited HVOC ceramic coating for corrosion and wear resistance.

The muck chute for box holing is extendable up to 6m back height and creates a “safety shield” around the open hole. It also has integrated “Stinger” rods which are extended to the rock face to control vibration.

Supplied with a Drill Rod Feed Cassette which holds ten (10) rods. The cassettes are mechanized to feed one rod at a time to the pipe loader, or accept one rod at a time from the pipe loader when removing rods from the machine.

No electrics on the derrick (all hydraulics) mean mine water falling onto the machine when box-holing has no opportunity to cause electrical failures. This increases reliability of the machine while box-holing by a large factor.


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