As announced this week, Progradex has released a new sampling system to the market for 2016. It is a nod to the now well established Cone Splitter sampling system designs pioneered by Progradex Managing Director, Toby Day, in the late 1990’s but with some modern day enhancements and improvements.
The EL850 product has been introduced to fill a technology gap in the market between the very basic cyclone/riffle splitter arrangements and the most technologically advanced Progradex PGX Series sampling systems. It is a fully automatic, gravity fed, mass market product that provides consistent quality sampling at affordable prices.
Though it is described it as an “entry level sampler” the EL850 packs a powerful punch.
Progradex Founder and Managing Director, Toby Day, comments, “Providing definable standards is critical for any industry. They are the boundary limits to work within. While we believe we have the ultimate drill sampling product in the premium PGX Series samplers, and the market results from an ever growing and diverse mineral drilling database backs that claim to be true, what is lacking behind it is an affordable, general purpose sampler for the mass market that can, at the very least, offer definable and consistent results.
It has been 17 years since I designed the world’s first cone splitter while working for Metal Craft in Perth and 18 years since the first automatic sampling system was made. Since then I have focussed on continuous innovation and improvement in this field because the boundaries of RC Drilling had not been realised. That approach produced some cutting edge products of their time, from the original cone splitter to the UDR sampling system (now owned by Sandvik) and, of course, now our latest Progradex PGX Series samplers but, in that time, those earlier product designs have been copied and some of the design principles that make them work properly have been lost. I believe they still have a place in the market today and am bringing them back with basic design principles and some modern day enhancements to improve them further but, most of all, we’re putting consistency into the market. Anything other than consistency is bad for the name of RC Drilling. We may have the best samplers in the world in the PGX Series but without a supporting product like the EL850, we are failing to protect and define RC sampling generally.”
Conceptually, the EL850 is traditional in its make-up – A cyclone and collection/dump box feeding into an adjustable cone splitter. There are however significant design differences between this product and anything else on the market past or present. So, what exactly is different?
The cyclone itself has been lifted directly from Progradex’s premium PGX Series sampler product-line due to its super-compact design and high collection efficiency, wear resistance and blockage resistance. The long, tapered inlet transition from the sampling hose is flow-balanced to minimise dead zones that cause hang-up and is manufactured from hardened wear plate. This leads into a fully alumina ceramic lined inlet scroll which produces a very high velocity, centrifugal vortex for unrivalled collection efficiency and the barrel and discharge cone below is fully polyurethane lined to resist blockage, hang-up and cross contamination. It has a low-profile outlet volute to minimise system pressure drop and height and the cyclone lid hinges open assisted by a special heavy duty gas strut to overcome potential injuries associated with powered devices and is mechanically lockable in the open position for fail-safe maintenance.
The fully automatic Collection/Dump Box is a triumph in compact design without compromising storage capacity. Featuring twin, centrally dumping, Linatex rubber lined gates that seal on machined frame inserts, the double-dump gates are automatically actuated by heavy duty pneumatic cylinders in a factory set dump sequence from a pneumatic control system that allows only one set of gates to be open at any one time in the sequence preventing flow bias during dumping. The gate assemblies are housed within a heavy duty, fully polyurethane lined, steel housing that has 1m interval storage capacity. All moving parts are fully replaceable with bolted machined linkages on keyed drive shafts and hinge points run on quality sealed-for-life bearings. The linkage mechanisms are fully guarded and a large, quick-release inspection door is provided for internal access to the storage area between the two sets of gates. A heavy duty Linatex rubber seal is provided at the base of the unit for sealing with the cone splitter below.
Adjustable Cone Splitter
The Progradex Cone Splitter is designed within recommended “Sampling Theory” guidelines throughout. It is fitted as standard with duplicate sampling ports set 180° apart and extracts the samples via anti-choking radial cutter blades. The inlet throat to the splitter is conical & fully polyurethane lined and fitted as standard with a world leading eccentric pneumatic vibrator to assist flow. A fast-flow sampling cone is designed to evenly spread a bulk sample from the natural necking point of free-flowing materials thereby minimising levelling bias while maximising product throughput. The sampling cone and adjustable splitting cutters below are manufactured from the highest quality grade 316 stainless steel and the splitting percentage of each duplicate can be independently adjusted between 0-15% via lockable quick-release setting knobs on a sliding laser cut scale without the need to change blades. The entire Cone Splitter is mounted from a vertical swing arm arrangement to allow it to be effortlessly swung away from the dump box for bulk interval collection, internal inspection, cleaning or maintenance without potentially hazardous powered drives. It is locked to the dump box on three ultra-heavy duty, quick-release “over-centre” clamps that have a combined supporting capability of almost 3 tonnes. Large, dust sealed, quick-release inspection doors are fitted above each sampling chute and a 360° target spirit level is mounted for system levelling.
The EL850 automatic dumping sequence uses a straight pneumatic timer control system. No PLC or electronics have been used. The operator has a choice of Wet or Dry Drilling Modes and can independently turn on/off the pneumatic vibrator. For sampling, one button is pushed at the end of the drilling interval and a bag sample is taken. The control box is IP66 rated for total ingress protection from dust and water jets when a rig is washed down. A filter regulator with moisture trap that automatically drains is provided along with a lockable pneumatic isolation valve that automatically purges the system of compressed air when de-energised.