Exploratory mining involves mapping, surveying, and testing ground area to determine whether there are valuable raw materials beneath the surface, followed by drilling for those mediums using rigging equipment. 

According to the Victorian government’s Earth Resources Department, less than one percent of mining exploration activities results in the establishment of a mining operation, which is why exploratory mining often comes at a high financial cost and is strictly regulated for application requirements.

“A drill rig assembly sees some of the harshest environmental conditions of any heavy industrial application,” says Troy Markland, Motion Australia’s Product Manager for Chain and Ironware. “A drill down rig is a robust piece of equipment used to bore down into rock to create blast holes. The equipment components need to be able to withstand intense pressure and shock loads from the impact of the blasts.” 

Troy has over 40 years of experience working with Power Transmission products during which time has overseen the implementation of an exceptional number of successful drive solutions to customers within the mining segment. He has also worked closely with Strategic Suppliers and manufacturers of drive solutions to achieve stellar results on demanding applications. 

For drill rig assemblies, Troy notes that the Diamond Chain by Timken High Strength (HS) Series Chain has been a particularly outstanding product in terms of reliability, robustness, and overall performance on drill down operations.

“The Timken Diamond Chain HS is well known to be the strongest performing drive solution for drill rigging equipment, which is why it remains the choice of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) within the mining sector, both in Australia and the US,” says Troy.

The Diamond Chain Company was founded in 1890 with a focus on producing the best roller chain. Since that time, the chain has been used by some notable historic figures such as the Wright Brothers and Henry Ford, and was later acquired by Timken. 

Timken is a strategic supplier to Motion Australia and their affiliated group of businesses, and the two industrial figureheads have enjoyed a successful distribution partnership that has spanned more than three decades.

Working so closely with the manufacturer of Diamond Chain products, Troy has frequently had the opportunity to engage with the Timken team directly at a production level and on joint site calls to analyse drive chain solutions in-situ. 

General Manager for Regional Sales at Australian Timken, Sean Young, has worked on various drill chain applications over the years and speaks to some of the specialised features of the Diamond Chain HS. 

“Drilling rig chain requires specific components to ensure that it can withstand the impact of a drill blast, and this is evidenced in the design and construction on the Diamond Chain.”

“A standard drive chain runs horizontally between two sprockets, while a drill chain has to run vertically and the chain needs to be prepared to hit hard rock as the rig drills down,” Sean explains. “Whereas, the Diamond Chain is much wider than a standard chain, with a carbon steel hardened pin arrangement to accommodate the vertical load and ensure the chain remains smooth while running.” 

The Diamond Chain is constructed from high grade carbon and alloy materials to ensure minimal impurities that might impact the strength of the chain under stress and fatigue. The pins, rollers, and bushings are precision fabricated, shot peened and heat treated to withstand high temperatures. Each chain is lubricated with proprietary grease in a “hot dip” process that provides superior corrosion protection and extended life. 

In addition to these characteristics, each linkplate on the chain is bevelled to maximise strength and the chain is then prestressed to avoid initial wear and tear of components—that’s the Diamond difference.  

“We work a lot with OEMs to better understand what the application requirements are so that we can actually create a chain using the Diamond components to best suit the equipment,” says Sean. “In a situation where an existing rill chain is not performing well for a customer, we often recommend the Diamond Chain as a better option, and we work with the team at Motion Australia to encourage the supply of the Diamond Chain to customers in the mining segment.” 

“We try to encourage customers to trial the chain because we can always be certain that it will deliver on its capabilities,” concludes Sean.