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Media / Application stories / Silent rock drills solve noise issues

Silent rock drills solve noise issues


With its rugged limestone hills and upland farmland, divided by ancient stone walls, the Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros national park in Portugal is a major tourist attraction. It is also the center of operations for a number of large limestone quarries. Previously, many were using Atlas Copco BBD 94 DSI pneumatic rock drills. Now, to satisfy local concerns about noise levels, Atlas Copco is supplying the quarries with BBC 34 DSI models. These offer the same high performance but with a 5 dB(A) lower noise level.

In the early days the limestone quarries in the area worked with Atlas Copco handheld rock drills. In time, as production demands increased and more mechanization was needed, the introduction of the drilling column led to widespread use of Atlas Copco BBD 94 DSI pneumatic rock drill. 
Strong environmental pressure
Some of the quarries in the national park are situated close to urban areas and quarry owners were concerned that complaints from residents about drilling noise levels could threaten their exploration permits. Environmental pressure in the area is strong – out of an initial 120 exploration permits issued, there are now only about 40 quarries in operation.
Always quick to respond to customers’ issues, Atlas Copco initiated a partnership with local distributor DRCP-Ferramentas e Equipamentos Lda., who conducted field tests using the BBC 34 DSI as an alternative to the BBD 94 DSI machines.

Noise level 50% lower
“The field tests showed that the BBC 34 DSI provides the same high penetration rate as the BBD 94 DSI, but with a noise reduction of 5 dB(A), and this is experienced by the human ear as a 50% lower noise level,” explains Torres Marques, Business Line Manager, Atlas Copco Portugal.
The BBC 34 DSI pneumatic rock drill has a piston diameter of 80 mm, a long stroke of 70 mm, and a powerful rifle bar rotation mechanism. It delivers very high impact energy per blow and is highly efficient in medium to hard rock. The large piston diameter enables it to maintain high efficiency even at low air pressure, and maintenance intervals are longer than for the BBD 94 DSI.   

Noise issues resolved
“We are now recommending the BBC 34 DSI to the limestone quarries and have approximately 20 units operating in this area,” says Marques. “Our customers no longer have concerns regarding noise levels disturbing the local residents.” 

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Atlas Copco is an industrial group with world-leading positions in compressors, expanders and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. With innovative products and services, Atlas Copco delivers solutions for sustainable productivity. The company was founded 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 170 countries. In 2012, Atlas Copco had about 39800 employees and revenues of BSEK 90,5 (BEUR 10,5 ).

Atlas Copco Construction Tools is a division within Atlas Copco´s Construction Technique business area. It develops, manufactures and markets hydraulic, pneumatic, and petrol-driven equipment for demolition, recycling, compaction, rock drilling and concrete applications. Products are marketed and sold under several brands through a worldwide sales and service organisation. The division is headquartered in Essen, Germany, and has production units in Europe, Africa and Asia.

In 2013 Atlas Copco, ranked as one of the most innovative, sustainable and ethical companies in the world, celebrates 140 years of profitable growth. At the beginning the company made products for railways, but the core of Atlas Copco’s business dates back to the early years of the 20th century when the first compressors, tools and rock drills were manufactured. Today, the Atlas Copco Group has world-leading positions in these areas and many others. Atlas Copco supports customers in 180 countries with own operations in 90 countries. Read the story about a company that believes ‘there is always a better way’ on