Atlas Copco’s new ultra fuel efficient drill rig, the SmartROC CL, was one of the star attractions at MINExpo where it was unveiled for the first time in public ahead of its official world launch in November. The company says it is a major step forward in DTH drilling. “Not only have the designers managed to slash fuel consumption by 45%, averaging 35 litres/h using a 165 mm drill bit, they have also boosted the achievable penetration rate by 50% compared with conventional DTH rigs currently in use.”How does the SmartROC CL do it? The engine power required to drive various functions and operations can now be controlled and optimized in a way that was previously not possible, thereby minimizing the amount of diesel fuel consumed overall.The design of the COPROD drill string which, combined with a choice of robust, high powered rock drills up to 50 KW, gives the kind of high penetration rates normally only achieved in top hammer drilling together with the superior hole quality that comes with DTH drilling.In addition, this package includes a range of automated, time-saving features including automatic rod handling (RHS), hole navigation system (HNS) and the ability to operate the rig by remote control using Atlas Copco’s BenchREMOTE system. Coupled with Surface Manager, Atlas Copco’s drill management software, this rig should be a great success.Mattias Hjerpe, Product Manager, says: “Many of our customers in, for example, Australia, South Africa, Latin America and Scandinavia, who use DTH drilling, now have a great opportunity to slash their fuel bills and boost their productivity at the same time. It’s a winning combination.”When the first new rigs are shipped out for delivery in the first quarter of 2017, Australian miners will be first in line. Tom Ross, Business Line Manager, Atlas Copco Australia, says: “The demand for the new SmartROC CL is already very strong here and our customers are very much looking forward to its arrival – and to becoming the world’s first owners.”The same sentiments are echoed in Latin America, and particularly in Chile where Vidal Martin, Business Line Manager, Atlas Copco Chilena, is convinced that the rig will be especially appreciated as it has proved to function well at high altitudes.At a time when miners are facing extra tough economic conditions, a drill rig that can substantially reduce running costs and boost productivity is clearly worth investigating.SmartROC CL operates in the 115 mm (4 ½”) to 216 mm (8 ½”) hole diameter range. It comes with a choice of powerful COPROD rock drills and a maximum hole depth of 42.5 m.Moreover, SmartROC CL comes with a CAT C13 engine developing 328 kW (440 hp) at 2 000 rpm, available in both Tier 3 and Tier 4 Final versions.