Hastings Deering and Caterpillar have unveiled the very latest in drill technology with a new rotary blasthole drill that comes standard with ‘autonomous ready’ capability, offering contract drilling and mining customers a look at the future of drilling.

More than 30 mining and drilling industry leaders from major Queensland coal miners converged at Hastings Deering’s Rockhampton facility as the company demonstrated a step change in drilling performance with the launch of the new Caterpillar rotary blasthole drill.

Hastings Deering’s Executive General Manager of Mining, Adrian Carney, said the company was getting down to what it did best – providing one of the most extensive ranges of high performance drills and back-­up support available anywhere in the world. 

This is the first of a rollout of new technology. The company is expanding its drill product line-­up and introducing new products over the next 12 months starting with the MD6420 and the MD5150C hydraulic track drill.

Mr Carney said remaining competitive in the current, tough market meant being able to deliver products to their customers that made a critical difference to their bottom line. The new range of Cat drills deliver this in spades in terms of safety, drilling accuracy and performance.


“Our customers are looking to lower their cost per tonne, remove ‘waste’ from the system and to optimise productivity,” he said. “This is where technology can make a difference – the ability to drill faster and smarter, to the correct pattern and target depth every time.

“Adding to that, safety has to be paramount to any operation. This machine comes with unprecedented hazard avoidance features so it delivers a safer workplace for the workers while delivering a step up in productivity.

“Orders have already been placed with feedback on the day acknowledging the unique safety features along with innovations of the new technology.

“The future for Cat drills is incredible. We’re really moving into a phase where the biggest technology advancements will make substantial differences to our customer’s operations.”

The new MD6420B rotary blasthole drill comes autonomous ready in two mast heights of 10 and 13 metres. While it is loaded with built in state of the art features, it has a future proof platform that will enable the adoption technological developments on the horizon.


“The MD6420B comes as standard with automation features including auto-­level, auto-drill, auto-­mast and operational system interlocks. The control system also includes real-time machine health monitoring and built-­in diagnostic tools. The on-board electronics suite has a Help page where all manuals and schematics are preloaded.

“Also standard is a distributed PLC / CAN bus control system that is fully electronic with a state–of-­the-­art user interface. Drill monitoring and diagnostics are displayed on a large built in touch-­screen panel.

“The drill is prewired to support Terrain for drilling, part of Cat® MineStar System. Terrain for drilling improves drilling accuracy, provides feedback on variations in bench geology, tracks drill and operator productivity, and allows remote, real-time supervision of drilling activity and blast planning.

“All of which provides our customers with the ability for operational excellence.

“We think this new product range is going to make a real difference. We want our customer’s to know we are seriously into the drill and drill support space. We want them to know that wherever there is mining, we are there, with the best product for their application backed by the legendary Hastings Deering support they expect.”


Hastings Deering demonstrate the autonomous capabilities of the new Cat® MD6420B Rotary Blasthole Drill. The drill in this video is being controlled solely by the use of a tablet device. 

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