by Rune Lindhjem, Senior Technical Advisor at Devico AS
Recent years have seen a big shift towards digitalization and wireless communication in mining operations worldwide. Network access has become common even in the underground sector, improving planning, scheduling and overall daily operations. With live communication and data transfer between workers, progress can be shared, issues can be corrected and the right decisions can be made immediately. It follows naturally that drilling programs should benefit from the same advancements.
In a drilling program, an important part of the daily communication between drill site and ‘office’ relates to drill hole positional and navigational data. The drill crew requires information on where to start drilling and when to continue, while the geologists and engineers need to be updated on the current drill hole position and the final results of completed holes.
The traditional ways of sending information over the phone, two-way radio, text, email or hand-delivery via USB sticks and paper notes have served reasonably well in the past. However, these methods also lead to issues such as difficulties in organizing the data, errors due to poor signal, typos, data loss, security vulnerabilities, as well as inefficient delivery or feedback. All these issues cause countless delays or errors to the drilling operation.
DeviCloud is Devico’s complete survey data management system, connecting drillers, geologists and engineers through a fast, secure and uncomplicated cloud-based platform. The onsite processing, transfer and management of borehole survey data are more streamlined than ever. Providing each defined (and unlimited) user group with immediate access to surveys, as soon as they are uploaded directly from the handheld survey instrument at the drill site. Supporting two-way communication between site and office, DeviCloud also makes it possible to share and sync drill plans directly to the handheld device at the drill site, reducing the risk of miscommunication.
At its core, DeviCloud is a drill hole position and navigational data management system set to modernize the way information is shared within a drilling program. However, with its advanced functionalities like direct quality control, plotting and data analysis, DeviCloud is far more than just a data sharing and storing solution. Being cloud-based, the system may be accessed from any device with a network connection, making it easy to follow up on the drilling program even while working from the office, on-site or anywhere else.
A major benefit of DeviCloud is that users can never run outdated software. DeviCloud is continuously advancing its functionalities and being cloud-based, updates immediately become available to all the users. Moreover, security is at the forefront throughout the whole process, with the system utilizing encryption, authentication, managed access levels and geo-redundant storage to safeguard the data. Cloud storage and login systems are sourced from renowned, industry-leading third-party providers to minimize downtime and ensure the highest possible security. As survey data is uploaded and becomes available in DeviCloud, the user group will have the opportunity to view it in an interactive 3-D plot and compare the surveyed trajectory to the planned.
Furthermore, the quality of each survey can be viewed and assessed, with options to approve and reject data as needed (Figure 1). For drill holes that have been surveyed multiple times or at different stages, all the survey runs can be plotted, analyzed and combined to provide a complete and definitive survey report. Finally, the data may be exported, either as a configurable text file for import into a wide range of geological modeling software or as a final QA report for offline archiving.
The DeviCloud program was developed in-house by Devico AS in cooperation with its Australian subsidiary, Downhole Surveys Pty Ltd, who like Devico has been at the forefront of survey data management and QA processing software development since the early 90s.
In early 2020, a comprehensive beta testing phase was initiated in Australia for active DeviGyro users, and later that year expanded to include users worldwide. Over the course of the test phase, more than 300 drilling programs including 12 000 holes and more than 55 000 surveys were created and uploaded. Along with direct feedback from the clients, this extensive database provided invaluable information to the development team.
‘The most effective and time-efficient part for us as the users is the ability to simply log on and upload all the collar shots and gyro (surveys) in a matter of seconds. The safety of the client loading their drill files into DeviCloud leaves little to no room for error when setting up the drill rig.’ Drilling Supervisor, Western Australia
The DeviCloud addition has enabled us to move to a fully cloud-based system and has streamlined the way we manage drill data and survey information onsite. We are extremely pleased with the service and support provided.’ Senior Underground Geologist, Western Australia
‘One of the benefits we like with DeviCloud is that after the surveyor downloads the data from the tool, they can share it immediately with their workmates at the office. Allowing them to discuss the results and make decisions while both having the full set of data. Later, reports can be created at the office while the surveyor continues with their work on the site.’ Project Manager, Switzerland
Officially launched in May this year, DeviCloud is now a system that supports the full range of Devico positioning and navigational products, including the DeviGyro, DeviAligner and other survey tools. Synchronizing with DeviCloud is directly available from the handheld devices used to operate these instruments.
The typical DeviCloud workflow starts with the project owner, usually a project geologist or engineer, creating and defining the drilling program. Drill holes may be added to the program at any time with data that includes starting coordinates, azimuth and inclination, as well as planned hole trajectory. On-site, the operator can connect their Devico survey instrument to DeviCloud and get immediate access to the program data. For instance, the DeviAligner to align and set up the drill rig and the DeviGyro for downhole surveying, simplifying the process significantly. The planned hole data is transferred directly to the DeviAligner and set as the target direction during the alignment process. As the alignment is completed and the planned angle is reached, the data is stored and uploaded back up to the cloud. There it may be reviewed and later synchronized with the DeviGyro to conduct a downhole survey. The DeviGyro implements the latitude and alignment data from DeviCloud directly in the survey, diminishing the need for manual inputs and transfers.
Since DeviCloud also includes Devico’s survey data QA/QC system, users get feedback about the survey quality immediately after it is completed. While surveys rarely fail, this system guarantees that no hole is left with poor-quality survey data. Detailed analysis of every parameter is provided, giving the operator the necessary assistance to correct the issue before the re-survey of the hole.
The new generation of drillers, geologists and engineers expect data to be easily available anywhere at any time, and that the system that collects and displays it is always up to date. DeviCloud sets a new standard as an integrated eco-system of borehole survey instruments, handheld devices, visualization capabilities and QA/QC data management that does exactly this and is included free of charge with every Devico survey tool, through Devico’s commitment to quality assurance for all customers.
New features and improvements are continuously being added to DeviCloud that will continue to evolve this new standard over the years to come, including closer integration and feedback to the drilling process with the ultimate goal of saving even more time, meters and money.
The future is bright!
For more information visit: www.devico.com
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