Boart Longyear is introducing its LF™160 surface coring drill rig and FL262 Freedom™ Loader into the African market. After being launched in late 2016, this rig and loader combination is already being successfully used in North and South America, Australia, and Turkey.The African continent got to see its first LF160 rig and FL262 Freedom Loader at an official presentation held at the company’s Robertville site in Johannesburg, South Africa on29 November 2018. Around 60 people were in attendance at the event including drilling contractors, mine house representatives, geologists, safety officers, consultants, distributors, and members of the press.“It was exciting to see so many of our customers participate in this event and witness up close a demonstration of our equipment’s hands-free rod handling capabilities,” said Andre van Heerden, General Manager Sales – Africa Region. “They were genuinely impressed with Boart Longyear’s ongoing investment and progress on innovation.”The FL262 Freedom Loader is an innovative rod loading system that requires no intervention from the driller’s assistant to trip and align rods or connect to the top drive head. “When combined with a surface coring drill rig like Boart Longyear’s LF160, even more productivity and safety advantages are gained from the mechanised systems. The operator can monitor the wireline spooling from a control panel, avoiding tangling of wire rope typically experienced while lowering the overshot.”“The LF160 rig and Freedom Loader combination offers more control and oversight which means less interruption and a more efficient operation. The loader’s hands-free rod handling and remote controls allow the driller’s assistant to work outside the area of moving equipment. This greatly reduces the risk of hand and back injuries from handling rods. The loader can cycle 6-metre rods in the same amount of time as a manual cycle, meaning enhanced safety is achieved without compromising productivity.”Described as ideal for contractors who want to target sophisticated surface drilling exploration contracts, the LF160 rig is CE certified according to the latest EN16228 safety standards. Contractors can be assured of the freedom to bid on contracts that stipulate these exacting requirements.Customers attending the event commented on the rod handling technology as “a move to the future of drilling,” and “10 steps in the right direction with regards to safety.” This first unit arriving in Africa has already been sold to the company Remote Drilling Services and is being deployed to a mine site in Botswana.