Sandvik has released its new +Range of surface mining drill rods and tubes, featuring a unique steel alloy designed to extend service life and reduce rod changes, while improving safety and cutting costs. The +Range of rock tools are based around a new exclusive premium grade steel alloy developed by Sandvik Material Technology, which contributes to service life increases of well over 30%, the company claims. The result is fewer rod changes, lower operating, capital and logistics costs, and reduced operator handling requirements.Designed for surface mining bench drilling applications, including production blasthole drilling and pre-split drilling, the +Range is compatible with current industry-standard drilling products.Sizes available include T38+, T45+, T51+ and GT60+, and includes top-hammer MF (male/female) rods and drill tubes.Extensive in-mine tests of the new +Range in Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East have shown service life increases of at least 30% – and in many cases significantly more, said Craig Johnston, Sandvik’s Business Line Manager – Rock Tools. “This increased service life results from Sandvik’s new steel alloy, which is far more resistant to heat and thread wear.“With drill rods and tubes representing a significant part of tool cost in bench drilling, a 30% plus increase in tool life allows customers to drill more metres every shift, and reduce drill costs per metre.”Johnston said that with the mining industry requiring increasingly deeper holes, consumption of drill rods and tubes would continue to rise.“Keeping rod and tube expenses under control will be more important than ever – and our premium +Range will offer one of the longest service lives in rock tools.”He also highlighted the safety and environmental advantages of the new +Range. “Ensuring a safe and healthy working environment was one of our objectives when developing our +Range rods and tubes.“Fewer rod changes are required with our new rock tools, resulting in less transporting and handling of equipment. This minimises exposure to risks such as strain and back, arm and hand injuries.“And because of the extended service life, our new +Range products require fewer shipments and less transporting once on site, and fewer rods to recycle.“In addition, the manufacturing process for our +Range tools uses less energy and fewer raw materials, further reducing their impact on the environment,” said Johnston.