Epiroc, a leading productivity partner for the mining and infrastructure industries, has donated a FlexiROC T20 R drill rig and consumables to the mining engineering program at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. The FlexiROC T20 R replaces outdated equipment at the school’s nationally recognized Experimental Mine, where students gain valuable hands-on experience with real equipment and mining practices.
The Missouri S&T mining engineering program provides a broad engineering education with strong expertise in mining engineering and a cultural foundation for the mining industry. At the Experimental Mine facility, students get first-hand experience in surface and underground methods, blasting, ground control, ventilation, pyrotechnic displays, and extensive research in air blast and ground vibrations. Home to a popular Summer Explosives Camp for high school students, the mine has topped a Popular Science magazine list of “Awesome College Labs” multiple times.
Epiroc’s FlexiROC T20 R has joined the fleet of equipment used for practical hands-on experience at the Experimental Mine. The donation was facilitated by Chris Upp, vice president and general manager at longtime Epiroc customer Conco Companies and a member of the development board for the Missouri S&T mining and explosives engineering programs.
The university recently approached Upp, an alumnus of Missouri S&T (formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla), about the need to upgrade the old air track drill at the Experimental Mine. Upp relayed the need to Jerry Enyeart, Epiroc Midwest region district manager. Epiroc was able to help, delivering the T20 R and consumables in April 2019 with the assistance of supporting Epiroc dealer Roland Machinery.
“Epiroc is thrilled to support the next generation of mining engineers at Missouri S&T,” Enyeart said. “It’s an honor to provide such a respected institution with drilling technology that will give students real-world application experience for the future.”
The compact and highly versatile FlexiROC T20 R drill rig is an ideal fit for the Experimental Mine site, where vertical and horizontal drilling needs vary depending on the surface or underground application. The consumables utilized with the T20 R differ from those used with the outgoing air track drill, so Epiroc provided some of its rock drilling tool technology to get the university off to a productive start with the new rig.
Roland Machinery, a heavy equipment dealer with 17 locations across Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan, sent a technician to the Experimental Mine to ensure that the FlexiROC T20 R startup and training went smoothly. Moving forward, the dealer will provide the university with parts and technical support for the drill.
“There was a dire need to update our drilling equipment so we could train our mining and explosives engineering students on a machine used in the industry today,” said Dr. Kyle Perry, associate professor of explosives engineering at Missouri S&T and director of the Experimental Mine. “The FlexiROC T20 R drill rig will make a night-and-day difference compared to what we have been using. The equipment, training, and support we have received is well beyond expectations, and we are truly grateful for everyone’s generosity and support of our program.”
The leading producer of construction aggregates and ready-mixed concrete in the Ozarks region, Conco Companies has been a customer of Epiroc and predecessor Atlas Copco for more than 20 years. Upp and his team recently took delivery of a new SmartROC T45 surface drill rig for quarrying — the company’s fourth generation of Epiroc surface crawler drills. (The Conco Companies fleet also includes Epiroc’s SpeedROC D30 surface drill rig, FlexiROC T15R surface drill rig and SpeedCut 100 diamond wire cutting machine.) Upp was excited to be able to connect his alma mater with his trusted equipment partner.
“I have great appreciation for Epiroc and the folks that made this happen because it means a lot to the university,” Upp said. “We’ve been very impressed with the performance of our Epiroc machines and the support we get through our dealer. Epiroc did a great job of following through on this donation, and it’s going to be an excellent tool for the university.”