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Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DRILLING PLAN GENERATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/058091
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a method for drilling plan generation where a drilling plan (PBP) specifies a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors (W; LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C) specified in the drilling plan (PBP), which sectors comprise a first sector (W) and at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C) adjacent to said first sector (W), comprising the step of: - specifying the drilling holes of the drilling plan on the basis of a desired hole distribution regarding the end point of each drilling hole and an ambition to maximize the number of drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C) which are mutually parallel and hereby are brought to run in a reference direction of the drilling plan. The invention also relates to a computer program product comprising program code (P) for a computer (200; 210) for implementing a method for drilling plan generation according to the invention. The invention also relates to a system and a drilling rig (100) being equipped with the system.

Inventors:
VÖRDE PÄR (SE)
ANDERSSON ANDREAS (SE)
HÄRSTRÖM PÄR (SE)
TURNER PER (SE)
Application Number:
PCT/SE2016/050927
Publication Date:
April 06, 2017
Filing Date:
September 29, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ATLAS COPCO ROCK DRILLS AB (SE)
International Classes:
E21B44/00; E21B7/02; E21D9/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014206471A12014-12-31
Foreign References:
US20100126769A12010-05-27
US20090078438A12009-03-26
US20040216922A12004-11-04
US20140137759A12014-05-22
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZACCO SWEDEN AB (Valhallavägen 117N, Stockholm, SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A method for drilling plan generation for a drilling rig (100) where a drilling plan (PBP) specifies a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors (W; LS; RS; US; BS) specified in the drilling plan (PBP), which sectors comprise a first sector (W) and at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; 1C; 2C) adjacent to said first sector, comprising the step of:

- automatically generating a drilling plan (PBP) by determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; 1C; 2C);

distributing said drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; 1C; 2C) according to said determined desired distance and distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; 1C; 2C) on the basis of said distributed drilling hole end points, so that the number of mutually parallel drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; 1C; 2C) is maximized, wherein said mutually parallel drilling holes are specified to run in a determined reference direction of the drilling plan (PBP).

2. The method according to claim 1, comprising one of the following steps:

- determining (s410) said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in said first sector (W), which first sector is a wedge;

- determining (s410) said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in an upper part of a contour (1C) of said drilling plan (PBP);

- determining (s410) said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes of a bottom row (1C) of said drilling plan (PBP); and

- determining (s410) said reference direction on the basis of determined rules.

3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, comprising the step of:

- distributing drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; 1C; 2C) denser or sparser, for an adaption to drilling hole end points distributed on the basis of said desired distance between drilling hole end points, wherein such drilling holes do not belong to said mutually parallel running drilling holes.

4. The method according to claim 3, comprising the step of:

- considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance (Dmax; Dmin) between said drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan (PBP).

5. The method according to anyone of claims 1-4, comprising the step of:

- determining if the number of drilling holes in said drilling plan (PBP) should be increased or decreased for adaptation to rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance (Dmax; Dmin) between said drilling hole starting points and/or drilling hole end points of drilling holes.

6. The method according to anyone of claims 1-5, comprising the steps of:

- specifying said existing drilling plan (PBP) in such a way that it comprises said first sector (W) and four additional sectors (LS; RS; US; BS) comprising a sector on each side of said first sector and an upper sector, positioned above said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector, and a lower sector positioned under said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector; and

- in said existing drilling plan, specifying said sectors within the frame of an outer contour (1C).

7. The method according to anyone of claims 1-6, comprising the steps of:

- determining a desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS);

- distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS) according to said determined desired distance; and

- distributing vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS) in accordance thereto.

8. The method according to claim 7, comprising the step of:

- distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS) denser or sparser, for an adaptation to said vertical rows of drilling hole end points distributed based on said desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points, whereby said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points do not belong to a group of equidistant positioned vertical rows.

9. The method according to claim 8, comprising the step of:

- considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan (PBP).

10. The method according to anyone of claims 1-9, comprising the step of:

- directing drilling holes having a drilling hole starting point at a contour (IC; 2C) of the drilling plan (PBP) so that the drilling hole projection is in a normal direction to said contour (IC; 2C).

11. A system for drilling plan generation for a drilling rig (100) where a drilling plan (PBP) specifies a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors (W; LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C) specified in the drilling plan (PBP), which sectors comprise a first sector (W) and at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C) adjacent to said first sector, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for automatically generating a drilling plan (PBP) by determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C); distributing said drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C) according to said determined desired distance and distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C) on the basis of said distributed drilling hole end points, so that the number of mutually parallel drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; RS; US; BS; IC; 2C) is maximized, wherein said mutually parallel drilling holes are specified to run in a determined reference direction of the drilling plan (PBP). 12. The system according to claim 11, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in said first sector (W), which first sector is a wedge; or

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in an upper part of a contour (IC) of said drilling plan (PBP); or

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes of a bottom row (IC) of said drilling plan (PBP); or

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for determining said reference direction on the basis of determined rules.

13. The system according to claim 11 or 12, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for distributing drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector denser or sparser, for an adaption to drilling hole end points distributed on the basis of said desired distance between drilling hole end points, wherein such drilling holes do not belong to said mutually parallel running drilling holes.

14. The system according to claim 13, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan.

15. The system according to anyone of claims 11-14, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for determining if the number of drilling holes in said drilling plan should be increased or decreased for adaptation to rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance (Dmax; Dmin) between said drilling hole starting points and/or drilling hole end points of drilling holes.

16. The system according to anyone of claims 11-15, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for specifying said existing drilling plan in such a way that it comprises said first sector (W) and four additional sectors comprising a sector on each side of said first sector and an upper sector, positioned above said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector, and a lower sector positioned under said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector; and

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for, in said existing drilling plan, specifying said sectors within the frame of an outer contour (1C).

17. The system according to anyone of claims 11-16, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for determining a desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector;

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance; and

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for distributing vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector in accordance thereto.

18. The system according to claim 17, comprising: - means (200; 210; 500) arranged for distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector (LS; S) denser or sparser for an adaptation to said vertical rows of drilling hole end points distributed based on said desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points, whereby said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points do not belong to a group of equidistant positioned vertical rows.

19. The system according to claim 18, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance (Lmax; Lmin) between said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan.

20. The system according to anyone of claims 11-19, comprising:

- means (200; 210; 500) arranged for directing drilling holes with a drilling hole starting point at a contour of the drilling plan, so that the drilling hole projection is in a normal direction to said contour.

21. A drilling rig comprising a system according to anyone of claims 11-20.

22. A computer program for drilling plan generation, wherein said computer program (P) comprises program code for causing an electronic control unit or another computer connected to the electronic control unit to perform the steps according to anyone of the claims 1-10.

23. A computer program product comprising a program code stored on a, by a computer readable, medium for performing the method steps according to anyone of claims 1-10, when said computer program is run on an electronic control unit or another computer connected to the electronic control unit.

Description:
System and method for drilling plan generation

TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention relates to a method for drilling plan generation. The invention also relates to a computer program product comprising program code for a computer for implementing a method according to the invention. The invention also relates to a system and a drilling rig being equipped with the system. BACKGROUND

Electronic drilling plans are today used in for example the mining industry. These drilling plans are used as instructions and means for, per segment, drilling a number of holes in the body which is to be blasted and emptied on material. Said drilling plans comprise information about for example where starting points and end points are positioned and which diameter each said drilling hole shall have. Hereby such starting points for drilling holes and direction, length and diameter of each drilling hole are specified. Hereby is also presented the distribution of said drilling holes in said body. An operator of a drilling rig may hereby use a sequence of different predetermined drilling plans so as to subsequently drill a number of predefined holes for subsequent blasting, whereby a desired tunnel or drift may be created in for example a mountain or a mine.

Said electronic drilling plans are today developed in advance at for example a planning centre, whereby said drilling plans are stored on a portable memory and brought by the operator to the drilling rig which is to be used for drilling. Thereafter said electronic drilling plans are loaded into a computer arranged at the drilling rig for use during operation of the drilling rig. A drilling plan may be presented in two or three dimensions on a presentation screen of said computer. The drilling plan may comprise a number of different sectors, which may be presented as a surface in two dimensions or as a volume in three dimensions. One such sector is denoted wedge. A number of adjacent sectors are also specified. Other sectors in the drilling plan are denoted stopes. A common set of stopes of a drilling plan defines a left and right stope, which are positioned to the left and right of said wedge, respectively. Further, a sector positioned adjacently above said left stope, wedge and right stope usually is denoted upper stope. In a similar way a sector beneath said left stope, wedge and right stope is denoted lower stope. Said four sectors may be surrounded by a so called inner contour and an outer contour. Said outer contour is defining an outermost boundary

RECORD COPY TRANSLATION

(Rule 12.4) for starting points of drilling holes. A part of said outer contour may be denoted bottom row, defining a lowest boundary, i. e. corresponding to the ground.

After drilling holes have been drilled in accordance with a provided drilling plan these are filled with explosives, whereby a suitable blast in performed. Typically, sections are blasted in a sequence regarding said sectors and contours, where said wedge is blasted first, thereafter side stopes, upper wedge and lower wedge are blasted. Said inner and outer contour are blasted in a suitable way.

These drilling plans are today generated manually, which is relatively time assuming. This is by many reasons a non-optimal method. For example sticking may hereby arbitrary be adapted to an outer contour. During operation of a drilling rig many corrections of the orientation of the drilling arrangements of the drilling rig for correct alignment before drilling of different holes may hereby be necessary, which is both tricky and time consuming. Delays caused of said corrections are associated with high costs. Further, said necessary corrections are associated with extra manual work for an operator and may hereby cause stress and an experienced heavier workload.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

There is thus a need of, in a reliable and user-friendly way, generating improved drilling plans for a drilling rig. There is thus a need for, in a time-effective and user-friendly way, allowing generation of drilling plans for a drilling rig.

An object of the present invention is to provide a new and advantageous method for drilling plan generation. Another object of the invention is to provide a new and advantageous system for drilling plan generation and a new and advantageous computer program for drilling plan generation.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an alternative method for a drilling plan generation, an alternative system for drilling plan generation and an alternative computer program for drilling plan generation.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a method, a system and a computer program for improved drilling plan generation where a need for corrections of orientation of drilling

arrangements are minimized. Yet another object of the invention is to provide a method, a system and a computer program for drilling plan generation for achieving a more time-effective, and hereby cost-effective, operation of a drilling rig.

Some of said objects are achieved by a method for drilling plan generation according to claim 1. Other objects are achieved by a system for drilling plan generation according to claim 11.

Advantageous embodiments are specified in the depended claims. According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for drilling plan generation for a drilling rig where a drilling plan specifies a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors specified in the drilling plan, which sectors comprise a first sector and at least one second sector adjacent to said first sector, comprising the step of:

- automatically generating a drilling plan by determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector; distributing said drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance and distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector on the basis of said distributed drilling hole end points, so that the number of mutually parallel drilling holes in said at least one second sector is maximized, wherein said mutually parallel drilling holes are specified to run in a determined reference direction of the drilling plan.

Said method may advantageously be performed automatically by means of a computer. Hereby a large number of parallel holes in the drilling plan may be generated, whereby a more time-effective drilling method is achieved. By maximizing the number of parallel holes the time required for changing orientation of drilling arrangements of the drilling rig may be minimized. Hereby is also provided a drilling method resulting in low wear of components since for example hydraulics for controlling arms carrying drilling devices do not need to be used as much as before. By the inventive generation of the drilling plans a user-friendly and time-effective parallel movement of the arms of the drilling rig, which arms are carrying drilling arrangements, is achieved. By automatically generating drilling plans at a drilling rig an advantageous adaption to the exact form and size of the tunnel which is valid for the present position is allowed. The inventive method comprising automatic generation of drilling plans is hereby achieving drilling plans where the number of mutually parallel holes may be maximized. The method may comprise one of the following steps:

- determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in said first sector, which first sector is a wedge;

- determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in an upper part of a contour of said drilling plan;

- determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes of a bottom row of said drilling plan; and

- determining said reference direction on the basis of determined rules. Hereby is provided a versatile and flexible method according to an aspect of the present invention. By in an easy and user-friendly way determining said reference direction and generating said drilling plan considering the determined reference direction, a big number of parallel holes may be specified, which advantageously is making the drilling procedure more effective. Said rules may be predetermined rules comprising specification of how drilling holes within said first sector are distributed regarding hole distance and row distance.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for drilling plan generation wherein a drilling plan is specifying a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors specified in the drilling plan, which sectors comprise a first sector and at least one second sector adjacent to said first sector, comprising the step of:

- specifying the drilling holes of the drilling plan on the basis of a desired hole distribution regarding the end point of each drilling hole and an ambition to maximize the number of drilling holes in said at least one second sector which are mutually parallel and hereby are brought to run in a reference direction of the drilling plan.

The method may comprise the steps of:

- determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector;

- distributing said drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance; and

- distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector on the basis of distributed drilling hole end points. Said drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector may also be distributed according to said ambition to maximize the number of drilling holes in said at least one second sector which are mutually parallel and hereby are brought to run in said reference direction of the drilling plan.

The method may comprise the step of:

- distributing drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector denser or sparser for an adaption to drilling hole end points distributed on the basis of said desired distance between drilling hole end points, wherein such drilling holes do not belong to said mutually parallel running drilling holes. By adapting position of said drilling hole starting points of the drilling plan to corresponding drilling hole end points according to the inventive method the number of drilling holes which do not belong to a set of mutually parallel running drilling hole is minimized.

The method may comprise the step of:

- considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan.

By distributing drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in a start plane considering these rules regarding largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan, said distribution may be adapted to prevailing circumstances, comprising for example composition of the drilling body, performance of the drilling rig and associated drilling arrangements and diameter of the different drilling holes.

Said largest allowable distance between drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan may be a predetermined value. This largest allowable value may be determined on the basis of for example diameter of adjacent drilling holes in said drilling plan. Advantageously it is hereby avoided to specify said drilling holes too far apart. Hereby it is advantageously avoided to not achieve too large blocks of drill body material when blasting. Said smallest allowable distance between drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan may be a predetermined value. This smallest allowable value may be determined on the basis of for example diameter of adjacent drilling holes in the drilling plan. Advantageously it is hereby avoided to specify said drilling holes too close together. Hereby it is advantageously avoided that curved drilling holes intersect with each other. The method may comprise the step of:

- determining if the number of drilling holes in said drilling plan should be increased or decreased for adaptation to rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said drilling hole starting points and/or drilling hole end points of drilling holes.

Hereby is provided a flexible and adaptable method for drilling plan generation where drilling holes in an easy way may be added or subtracted for maximizing the number of mutually parallel running drilling holes of the drilling plan. The method may comprise the steps of:

- specifying said existing drilling plan in such a way that it comprises said first sector and four additional sectors comprising a sector on each side of said first sector and an upper sector, positioned above said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector, and a lower sector positioned under said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector; and

- in said existing drilling plan, specifying said sectors within the frame of an outer contour.

Hereby is achieved a drilling plan which is very practically suitable for a sequential and effective blasting. The method may comprise the steps of:

- determining a desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector;

- distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance; and

- distributing vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector in accordance thereto.

Hereby an optimal distribution of vertical rows of a side stope of the drilling plan may be provided. This means that drilling holes, which are distributed on said vertical rows, to great extent may be specified as mutually parallel running.

Said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector may also be distributed in accordance with said ambition to maximize the number of drilling holes in said at least one second sector which are mutually parallel and hereby are brought to run in said reference direction of the drilling plan. The method may comprise the step of:

- distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector denser or sparser, for an adaptation to said vertical rows of drilling hole end points distributed based on said desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points, whereby said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points do not belong to a group of equidistant positioned vertical rows. Hereby, an optimal distribution of vertical rows of a side stope of the drilling plan may be provided. By adapting position of said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of the drilling plan to corresponding vertical rows of drilling hole end points according to the inventive method, the number of drilling holes which are mutually parallel running are maximized.

The method may comprise the step of:

- considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest distance between said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan.

By distributing vertical rows of drilling hole starting points in a start plane considering these rules regarding largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of said drilling plan, said distribution may be adapted to prevailing circumstances, comprising for example composition of the drilling body, performance of the drilling rig and associated drilling arrangements and diameter of the various drilling holes.

Said largest allowable distance between vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of said drilling plan may be a predetermined value. This largest allowable value may be determined on the basis of for example diameter of adjacent drilling holes in the drilling plan. Advantageously it is hereby avoided that the rows are positioned too far separated. Hereby it is advantageously avoided to not achieve too large blocks of drilling body material when blasting. Said smallest allowable distance between vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of said drilling plan may be a predetermined value. This smallest allowable value may be determined on the basis of for example diameter of adjacent drilling holes in the drilling plan. Advantageously it is hereby avoided that the rows are positioned too close together. Hereby, it is advantageously avoided that curved drilling holes intersect with each other. The method may comprise the steps of:

- directing drilling holes with a drilling hole starting point at a contour of the drilling plan, so that the drilling hole projection is in a normal direction to said contour. This is mostly applicable and advantageous where roof and walls of the tunnel are straight. An advantage of straightening drilling holes according to the inventive method at a curved contour is most advantageous when a front contour (at hole start) and a rear contour (at hole end) are not equally large.

Hereby are achieved drilling holes of said drilling plan which are practicable to drill.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a system for drilling plan generation for a drilling rig where a drilling plan specifies a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors specified in the drilling plan, which sectors comprise a first sector and at least one second sector adjacent to said first sector, comprising:

- means arranged for automatically generating a drilling plan by determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector; distributing said drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance and distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector on the basis of said distributed drilling hole end points, so that the number of mutually parallel drilling holes in said at least one second sector is maximized, wherein said mutually parallel drilling holes are specified to run in a determined reference direction of the drilling plan.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a system for drilling plan generation wherein a drilling plan is specifying a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors specified in the drilling plan, which sectors comprise a first sector and at least one second sector adjacent to said first sector, comprising:

- means arranged for specifying the drilling holes of the drilling plan on the basis of a desired hole distribution regarding the end point of each drilling hole and an ambition to maximize the number of drilling holes in said at least one second sector which are mutually parallel and hereby are brought to run in a reference direction of the drilling plan. Said means may be denoted first specifying means.

The system may comprise at least one of:

- means arranged for determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in said first sector, which first sector is a wedge, which means may be denoted first determining means; - means arranged for determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in an upper part of a contour of said drilling plan, which means may be denoted second determining means;

- means arranged for determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes of a bottom row of said drilling plan, which means may be denoted third determining means; and

- means arranged for determining said reference direction on the basis of determined rules, which means may be denoted fourth determining means.

The system may comprise:

- means arranged for determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector, which means may be denoted fifth determining means;

- means arranged for distributing said drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance, which means may be denoted first distribution means; and

- means arranged for distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector on the basis of said distributed drilling hole end points, which means may be denoted second distribution means.

The system may comprise:

- means arranged for distributing drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector denser or sparser, for an adaption to drilling hole end points distributed on the basis of said desired distance between drilling hole end points, wherein such drilling holes do not belong to said mutually parallel running drilling holes. Said means for distributing drilling hole starting points of drilling holes may be denoted third distribution means.

The system may comprise:

- means arranged for considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan. Said means for considering rules may be denoted first rule considering means.

The system may comprise:

- means arranged for determining if the number of drilling holes in said drilling plan should be increased or decreased for adaptation to rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said drilling hole starting points and/or drilling hole end points of drilling holes. Said means for determining if the number of drilling holes in said drilling plan should be increased or decreased may be denoted sixth determining means.

The system may comprise:

- means arranged for specifying said existing drilling plan in such a way that it comprises said first sector and four additional sectors comprising a sector on each side of said first sector and an upper sector, positioned above said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector, and a lower sector positioned under said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector, which means may be denoted second specifying means; and

- means arranged for, in said existing drilling plan, specifying said sectors within the frame of an outer contour, which means may be denoted third specifying means.

The system may comprise:

- means arranged for determining a desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector, which means may be denoted seventh determining means;

- means arranged for distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance, which means may be denoted fourth distribution means; and

- means arranged for distributing vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector in accordance thereto, which means may be denoted fifth distribution means.

The system may comprise:

- means arranged for distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector denser or sparser for an adaptation to said vertical rows of drilling hole end points distributed based on said desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points, whereby said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points do not belong to a group of equidistant positioned vertical rows. Said means for distributing said vertical rows may be denoted sixth distribution means.

The system may comprise: - means arranged for considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan. Said means for considering rules may be denoted second rule considering means.

The system may comprise:

- means arranged for directing drilling holes with a drilling hole starting point at a contour of the drilling plan, so that the drilling hole projection is in a normal direction to said contour. Said means for directing drilling holes may be denoted directing means.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a drilling rig comprising a system for drilling plan generation according to what is disclosed herein. Said drilling rig may also be denoted drifting configuration or drifting drilling rig.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer program for drilling plan generation, wherein said computer program comprises program code for causing an electronic control unit or another computer connected to the electronic control unit to perform the steps according to anyone of the claims 1-10.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer program for drilling plan generation, wherein said computer program comprises program code for causing an electronic control unit or another computer connected to the electronic control unit to perform the steps according to anyone of the claims 1-10, when said program code is run on said control unit or said computer.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer program for drilling plan generation, wherein said computer program comprises program code stored on a, by a computer readable, medium for causing an electronic control unit or another computer connected to the electronic control unit to perform the steps according to anyone of the claims 1-10. According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer program for drilling plan generation, wherein said computer program comprises program code stored on a, by a computer readable, medium for causing an electronic control unit or another computer connected to the electronic control unit to perform any of the steps according to anyone of the claims 1-10, when said program code is run on said control unit or said computer.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer program product comprising a program code stored on a, by a computer readable, medium for performing the method steps according to anyone of claims 1-10, when said computer program is run on an electronic control unit or another computer connected to the electronic control unit.

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer program product comprising a program code non-volatile stored on a, by a computer readable, medium for performing the method steps according to anyone of claims 1-10, when said program code is run on an electronic control unit or another computer connected to the electronic control unit.

Further objects, advantages and novel features of the present invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art from the following details, and also by putting the invention into practice. Whereas the invention is described below, it should be noted that it is not restricted to the specific details described. One skilled in the art having access to the teachings herein will recognise further applications, modifications and incorporations in other fields, which are within the scope of the invention.

B EIF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For fuller understanding of the present invention and further objects and advantages of it, the detailed description should be read together with the accompanying drawings, in which the same reference notation denote similar items in the various diagrams, and in which:

Figure 1 schematically illustrates a drilling rig, according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 2 schematically illustrates a system of the drilling rig presented in Figure 1, according to an embodiment of the invention; Figure 3a schematically illustrates an electronic drilling plan;

Figure 3b schematically illustrates a set of drilling holes, according to an aspect of the invention; Figure 3c schematically illustrates a set of drilling hole rows, according to an aspect of the invention; Figure 3d schematically illustrates a side view of a drilling plan;

Figure 4a schematically illustrates a flowchart of a method, according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 4b in greater detail schematically illustrates a flowchart of a method, according to an embodiment of the invention; and

Figure 5 schematically illustrates a computer, according to an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to Figure 1 there is illustrated a side view of a drilling rig 100. The illustrated drilling rig 100 may be a so called drifting configuration or drifting drilling rig. The drilling rig 100 is arranged with a number of arms. According to the presented embodiment said drilling rig is arranged with three arms, namely a first arm 110a, a second arm 110b and a third arm 110c, which are arranged to hold a respective drilling arrangement comprising a drilling machine and a thereto associated feeder arrangement. It should be noted that said drilling rig 100 may be equipped with an arbitrary suitable number of arms having a drilling arrangement, for example one, two, three or four arms. Said drilling arrangements may be arranged to drill holes with a determined length, for example two, five or ten meters. Said holes may be intended to in a suitable way, at least partially, be filled with explosives for mining of desired determined drifts.

The drilling rig 100 may be arranged for operation in a tunnel under ground or in mountains. Said arms and drilling arrangements may according to an example be operated substantially

independently of each other. Operation of said drilling rig 100 may be performed manually by an operator. Operation of said drilling rig 100 may according to an embodiment be performed automatically or semi-automatically.

Herein the term "link" refers to a communications link which may be a physical wire, such as an optoelectronic communication wire, or a non-physical wire, such as a wireless connection, such as a radio link or microwave link. With reference to Figure 2 a system 299 for drilling plan generation at the drilling rig 100 is presented. It should be noted that the inventive method for drilling plan generation may be performed at any suitable location, for example at a planning centre for mining. The hereby generated drilling plans may be brought to said drilling rig 100 stored on a portable memory for being loaded into a computer at the drilling rig 100. The system 299 is arranged at the drilling rig 100. The system 299 may hereby constitute a part of the herein inventive system for drilling plan generation according to an aspect of the present invention. The system 299 comprises a first control unit 200. One example embodiment of the first control unit 200 is disclosed with reference to Figure 5.

A sensor configuration 220 is arranged for communication with the first control unit 200 via a link 220. Said sensor configuration 220 may comprise a number of different sensors, which are required for operating said drilling rig 100. Said sensor configuration 220 may for example comprise distance readers for determining distances between said drilling arrangements and the body which is to be drilled in. Said distance readers may for example comprise laser devices for measuring relevant distances for manoeuvring said arms of said drilling rig and/or said drilling arrangements. Said sensor configuration 220 may also comprise position determining means for determining positions regarding said drilling rig 100. Said sensor configuration 220 is arranged to continuously or intermittently send signals S220 comprising relevant detected information to the first control unit 200 via said link L220. Hereby the first control unit 200 is arranged to use said received information for operating said drilling rig 100.

Manoeuvre means 230 are arranged for communication with said first control unit 200 via a link L230. An operator can hereby control operation of said drilling rig 100 by means of said manoeuvre means 230. Said manoeuvre means 230 may for example comprise at least one of control sticks (for example a so called joystick), buttons, handles, steering wheel, paddles, accelerator pedal, breaking pedal, transmission control devices, etc. Hereby said operator of the drilling rig 100 may manoeuvre, propel, operate and control said drilling rig 100 in a desired way. Hereby said operator for example may position, direct and operate said arms 110, 110b, 110c, drilling arrangements and feeder devices of said drilling rig 100. Hereby said manoeuvre means 230 are arranged to send control signals to different systems of said drilling rig 100 for operator requested affection of said system, for example hydraulic systems for said feeder devices. Presentation means 240 are arranged for communication with said first control unit 200 via a link L240. Said presentation means 240 may comprise a presentation screen. Said presentation means 240 may according to an embodiment comprise a touch screen. Said presentation means 240 are arranged to present information for said operator for allowing adequate operation of said drilling rig 100. For example information relevant for positioning and orientation of said drilling arrangements may be presented. An operator may by suitable means, for example a so called mouse or by means of the screen as such, choose different views. Hereby said presentation means 240 are arranged to present information regarding for example the different drilling arrangements of the drilling rig 100, for example drilled length for a certain drilling arrangement, rotational speed of said drilling arrangement, etc.

Said first control unit 200 is arranged to present a drilling plan by means of said presentation means 240. Examples of said drilling plan are described in greater detail with reference to Figure 3a.

An operator of the drilling rig 100 may hereby generate a drilling plan according to the inventive method by for example affecting said presentation means 240 or by suitable means associated with said presentation means 240. Alternatively, the operator may choose to use an adequate existing drilling plan, which has been determined by the inventive method. Hereby, the selected drilling plan may be presented by means of said presentation means 240 and be used hereby for drilling holes specified in the drilling plan.

The first control unit 200 is arranged to receive existing drilling plans intended as instructions for operation of said drilling rig 100. This may for example be performed by loading said existing drilling plans from a detachable USB-memory. Said first control unit 200 is hereby arranged to receive said USB-memory, or any other suitable means serving as carrier of information comprising existing drilling plans. These drilling plans are generated by the inventive method.

A communication means 250 is arranged for communication with the first control unit 200 via a link L250. Said communication means is arranged for wireless communication with a service centre from which existing drilling plans may be loaded into a memory of said first control unit 200. Hereby relevant existing drilling plans may be sent from said service centre to said first control unit 200 continuously, intermittently or when necessary. An operator of said drilling rig 100 may handle said downloading of relevant drilling plans by means of for example said presentation means 240. These drilling plans are generated by the inventive method. A second control unit 210 is arranged for communication with the first control unit 200 via a link L210. The second control unit 210 may be detachably connected to the first control unit 200. The second control unit 210 may be a to the vehicle 100 external control unit. The second control unit 210 may be arranged to perform the inventive method steps. The second control unit 210 may be used for loading program code to the first control unit 200, in particularly program code for executing the inventive method. The second control unit 210 may alternatively be arranged for communication with the first control unit 200 via an internal network of the drilling rig 100. The second control unit 210 may be arranged to perform substantially similar functions as the first control unit 200.

Figure 3a schematically illustrates an example of an electronic drilling plan PBP. Said drilling plan PBP is hereby an existing drilling plan, which is generated in accordance with the inventive method. Said drilling plan PBP may be generated at a planning centre which is located remotely from the site of drilling with said drilling rig 100. Said drilling plan PBP may be provided to said first control unit 200 in any suitable way, for example by means of a portable memory or via a link communication, such as a wireless link or a physical wire. Alternatively said drilling plan PBP may be generated at the drilling rig 100, e.g. at the site where drilling shall be performed.

A drilling plan is a model presenting how a number of holes are to be drilled in a segment of e.g. a tunnel. A segment may for example be 5 meters long, and hereby corresponds to a length of a body, which is desired to first be drilled, then blasted and thereafter emptied of material.

The illustrated drilling plan PBP is hereby shown in a view in a main direction of a thought tunnel. The drilling plan PBP is presented in a vertical view (comprising a local 2D projection). In a drilling plan entry points of a number of drilling holes are illustrated and how each such drilling hole is to be directed. An entry point is presented as a circle in a drilling plan. Further, an end point is illustrated by a projection of a drilling hole running from said starting point. Such a projection of a drilling hole is illustrated as a line projecting from said circle regarding entry position of a drilling hole. Hereby a direction and end point of a certain drilling hole may be read out from said drilling plan. In a case where a drilling hole is running orthogonally to said vertical plane, i. e. straight in to the body, said projection is not presented, hereby only the entry point (the circle) is presented. The existing drilling plan PBP is presenting a first sector W, a so called wedge. Said first sector W presents a number of drilling holes to be drilled. In this case said first sector comprises five drilling holes. The respective projections of the drilling holes are showing that all drilling holes of the first sector are directed slightly obliquely upwards at a certain angle. According to one embodiment the direction of the drilling holes of said first sector constitutes a reference direction, which reference direction constitute the direction that the largest possible number of drilling holes of the drilling plan should have, given that the drilling plan fulfils certain criteria, such as that a predetermined segment of the tunnel is possible to empty.

Herein is disclosed that the drilling plan is presenting at least one second sector. Herein four such sectors are presented, according to below.

The drilling plan PBP comprises a left stope LS. Said left stope LS is presenting four drilling holes, where two are to be drilled obliquely upwards and two are to be drilled obliquely upwards to the left. Hereby, two holes are running parallel with said direction of drilling holes of said first sector W. The two other drilling holes have been adapted to drilling hole end points in an end plane according to the inventive method.

The drilling plan comprises a right stope S. Said right stope RS is presenting four drilling holes, where two are to be drilled obliquely upwards and two are to be drilled obliquely upwards to the right. Hereby two holes are running parallel with said direction of drilling holes of said first sector W. The two other drilling holes have been adapted to drilling hole end points in an end plane according to the inventive method.

According to this example embodiment said left stope LS and said right stope RS have substantially the same height as said first sector W. Alternatively said left stope LS and said right stope RS may have mutually different shapes, which also are different from said first sector W.

The drilling plan comprises an upper stope US. Said upper stope US comprises a number of drilling holes, a majority of which are running in a direction parallel with said direction of drilling holes of said first sector W. The other drilling holes in the upper stope have a direction which has been adapted to an end plane according to an aspect of the inventive method.

A drilling plan comprises a lower stope BS. Said lower stope BS comprises a number of drilling holes, a majority of which are presenting a projected direction running in a vertical direction, i.e. obliquely downwards. Hereby, these holes do not have a direction parallel with said direction of drilling holes of said first sector W, but which advantageously means that a correction of orientation of drilling arrangements of the drilling rig only need to be performed in a vertical direction, considering that said drilling holes in said first sector are directed obliquely upwards (they are presenting a projected direction running in a vertical direction). The other drilling holes in the upper stope have a direction, which has been adapted to drilling hole end points in an end plane according to an aspect of the inventive method.

Hereby said first sector W is adjacent the left stope LS and the right stope RS as presented in Figure 3a. Said upper stope US is defined by a sector, which is positioned above said first sector W, said left stope LS and said right stope RS. Said lower stope BS is positioned under said first sector W, said left stope LS and said right stope RS.

Further is presented an outer first contour IC in said drilling plan PBP. At said first outer contour IC a number of drilling holes comprising hole starting points and said respective drilling hole projection are defined. The part of said outer first contour IC running horizontally under said lower stope BS may be denoted bottom row. According to one embodiment, the direction of the drilling holes of said bottom row constitute a reference direction, which reference direction is the direction which the largest possible number of drilling holes of the drilling plan should have, given that the drilling plan fulfils certain criteria, such as that a predetermined segment of the tunnel is possible to empty.

Inside said first outer first contour IC, an inner second contour 2C is presented. At said inner second contour 2C a number of hole starting points and said respective drilling hole projection are defined. A part of said second contour 2C is illustrated with a broken line. Within each said sector and at each of said contour of the original drilling plan, a distribution, positioning, dimension and orientation of a number of drilling holes are specified according to unique rules for each such sector or contour. Such different rules may be predetermined.

Hereby drilling holes of said first sector are specified according to a certain set of rules WR. Hereby drilling holes of said left stope are specified according to a set of rules LSR. Hereby drilling holes of said right stope are specified according to a set of rules RSR. Hereby drilling holes of said upper stope are specified according to a set of rules USR. Hereby drilling holes of said lower stope are specified according to a set of rules BSR. Hereby drilling holes of said first outer contour 1C are specified according to a set of rules ICR. Hereby drilling holes of said inner contour 2C are specified according to a set of rules 2CR.

According to an aspect of the inventive method vertical rows for drilling hole end points of side stopes in an end plane are distributed. Corresponding vertical rows for drilling hole starting points are distributed according to an aspect of the inventive method in a starting plane. Two of these vertical rows are illustrated by broken lines at said right stope RS.

According to an aspect of the inventive method drilling hole end points of said upper and lower stopes are distributed on horizontal rows in an end plane. Corresponding drilling hole starting points are distributed, according to an aspect of the inventive method, on horizontal rows in a starting plane. Two of these horizontal rows are illustrated by broken lines at said upper stope US.

According to an aspect of the inventive method drilling hole end points of said first contour 1C and said second contour 2C are distributed in a suitable way in an end plane of the drilling plan. Hereby, drilling hole starting points in a starting plane may be distributed, so that the drilling hole projection lays in a normal direction to said contour.

With reference to Figure 3b there is schematically illustrated a distribution of drilling holes running from a first plane Plane 1 having hole starting points, to a second plane Plane 2 having hole end points. This distribution is valid for said upper stope US and said lower stope BS and relates to a horizontal row, which is exemplified with reference to Figure 3a. Hereby, said hole end points in said second plane Plane 2 are distributed to the extent possible with a desired distance D between said end hole points. Said desired distance D may be a predetermined suitable distance, for example with regard to material of the drilling body, dimension of the hole, performance of the explosives for the hole, possibility to drill in an effective way, etc. According to the inventive method the largest possible number of drilling holes should hereby run in a direction which is parallel with said reference direction, for example defined by a direction of said first sector W. Distribution of hole starting points is specified, so that the mutual distance between said drilling holes on this hole row does not exceed a maximum allowed distance Dmax. In a similar way, a smallest allowable mutual distance Dmin between said drilling holes on this hole row is defined, which should not be fallen below.

Hereby is illustrated that three centrally positioned drilling holes on a given horizontal row is presenting a direction, which is corresponding to the determined reference direction, and the two hole starting points for holes running on each side thereof have been adapted in accordance with said respective hole end points and said condition regarding maximum allowable distance Dmax and minimum allowable distance Dmin.

With reference to Figure 3c there is schematically illustrated a distribution of drilling hole rows running vertically from a first plane Plane 1 having hole starting points, to the second plan Plane 2 having hole end points. This distribution is valid for said left stope LS and said right stope RS, which is exemplified with reference to Figure 3a. Hereby, said vertical drilling hole rows in said second plane Plane 2 are distributed to an extent possible with a desired distance L between said rows. Said desired distance L may be a predetermined suitable distance, for example with regard to the material of the drilling body, dimension of the hole, performance of the explosives for the hole, possibility to drill in an effective way, etc. According to the inventive method the largest possible number of drilling holes should run in a direction, which is parallel to said reference direction, for example defined by a direction of said first sector W. Distribution of said vertical drilling hole rows are specified, so that the mutual distance between said rows do not exceed a maximum allowable distance Lmax. In a similar way, a smallest allowable mutual distance Lmin between said rows is defined, which should not be fallen below.

Hereby is illustrated that three centrally positioned rows presenting a direction corresponding to the determined reference direction, while the other rows for drilling holes running on each side thereof have been adapted in accordance with said respective rows in Plane 2 and said condition regarding maximum allowable distance Lmax and minimum allowable distance Lmin of the rows in Plane 1. By distributing vertical drilling hole rows in such a way, drilling holes may thereafter be specified on said rows, where multiple drilling holes hereby will run in the same direction as the reference direction. According to an aspect of the present invention drilling holes may be distributed on said inner contour 2C and said outer contour 1C in accordance with the herein depicted principle, namely to maximise the number of drilling holes in the drilling plan running in the same direction as the reference direction. Alternatively, drilling holes may be distributed on said inner contour 2C and said outer contour 1C, so that drilling holes having a drilling hole starting point at a contour of the drilling plan may be directed, such that the drilling hole projection lays in a normal direction to said contour.

Figure 3d schematically illustrates a side view of a drilling plan, according to this example the drilling plan PBP, which is presented in Figure 3a. Hereby, the drilling holes H1C1, H2C1 and H3C1 which have been illustrated with reference to Figure 3a are illustrated. The distance between 1C defining a start plane for drilling and B1C (see also Figure 3a) defining and end plane for drilling may be an arbitrarily suitable distance, for example 5 meters. It is thus the length of the segment of the body to be drilled and blasted. Hereby is illustrated that said drilling hole H1C1 has a direction slightly upwards. Hereby is illustrated that said drilling hole H2C1 as a direction slightly downwards. Hereby is illustrated that said drilling hole H3C1 has a direction running orthogonally to said starting plane (which in this case is vertical) into the body.

It should be noted that both said starting plane Plane 1 and said end plane Plane 2 may present an orientation, which is not vertically oriented. Hereby an electronic drilling plan may relate to a segment where said starting plane and said end plane are not vertically oriented.

Figure 4a schematically illustrates a flowchart of a method for drilling plan generation where a drilling plan specifies a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors specified in the drilling plan, which sectors comprise a first sector and at least one second sector adjacent to said first sector. The method comprises a first method step s410. The step s410 comprises the step of:

- specifying the drilling holes of the drilling plan on the basis of a desired hole distribution regarding the end point of each drilling hole and an ambition to maximize the number of drilling holes in said at least one second sector which are mutually parallel and hereby are brought to run in a reference direction of the drilling plan. After the method step s410 the method is ended.

Figure 4b schematically illustrates a flowchart of a method for drilling plan generation where a drilling plan PBP specifies a number of drilling holes with a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors specified in the drilling plan, which sectors comprise a first sector W and at least one second sector adjacent to said first sector.

The method comprises a first method step s410. The method step s410 may comprise the step of determining a reference direction of a drilling plan PBP. This may be performed in different ways.

For example, the method step s410 may comprise the step of determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in said first sector W, which first sector is a wedge. For example, the method step s410 may comprise the step of determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in an upper part of a contour 1C of said drilling plan PBP. For example, the method step s410 may comprise the step of determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes of a bottom row 1C of said drilling plan PBP. For example, the method step s410 may comprise the step of determining said reference direction on the basis of determined rules.

The method step S410 may comprise the step of specifying said drilling plan PBP in such a way that it comprises said first sector W and four additional sectors LS; RS; US; BS, comprising a sector on each side of said first sector W and an upper sector, positioned above said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector, and a lower sector positioned under said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector. The method step S410 may comprise the step of in said drilling plan, specifying said sectors within the frame of an outer contour 1C and an inner contour 2C.

After the method step s410 a subsequent method step s420 is performed.

The method step s420 may comprise the step of specifying drilling holes for said upper stope US and said lower stope BS. The method step S420 may comprise the steps of:

- determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of a drilling plan in said upper stope US and said lower stope BS; and

- distributing said drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said upper stope US and said lower stope BS in accordance with said determined desired distance; and

- distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said upper stope US and said lower stope BS on the basis of said distributed drilling hole end points. Hereby drilling hole starting points of drilling holes are distributed denser or sparser in said upper stope US and said lower stope BS for an adaption to drilling hole end points distributed based on said desired distance between drilling hole end points, wherein such drilling holes do not belong to said mutually parallel running drilling holes. Hereby rules relating to a maximum allowable distance Dmax and/or shortest allowable distance Dmin between said drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said upper stope US and said lower stope BS are considered. Where applicable it may be determined if the number of drilling holes in said drilling plan should be increased or decreased for adaption to rules relating to said largest allowable distance Dmax and/or smallest allowable distance Dmin between said drilling hole starting points and/or drilling hole end points of drilling holes.

After the method s420 a subsequent method step s430 is performed.

The method step s430 may comprise the step of specifying drilling holes for said left stope LS and said right stope RS. This is performed by first specifying vertical rows of drilling hole end points.

The method step s430 may comprise the steps of:

- determining a desired distance between vertical rows of drilling holes end points of the drilling holes in said left stope LS and said right stope RS;

- distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said left stope LS and said right stope RS in accordance with said determined desired distance; and

- distributing vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said left stope LS and said right stope RS in accordance therewith. Method step s430 may comprise the steps of distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said left stope LS and said right stope RS denser or sparser for an adoption to said vertical rows of drilling hole end points distributed based on said desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points, wherein such vertical rows of drilling hole starting points do not belong to a group of equidistant positioned vertical rows. Hereby rules relating to a maximum allowable distance Lmax and/or smallest allowable distance Lmin between said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said left stope LS and said right stope RS are considered. When said vertical rows have been distributed according to an aspect of the inventive method drilling holes are distributed in a suitable way on said vertical rows of said left stope LS and said right stope RS. After the method step s430 a subsequent method step s440 is performed.

The method step s440 may comprise the step of specifying drilling holes for said outer contour 1C and said inner contour 2C. This may be performed in different ways. According to an example said drilling holes are distributed equidistantly at the two contours. According to one embodiment drilling holes having a drilling hole starting point are directed at said contours of the drilling plan PBP so that the drilling hole projection lays in a normal direction to said contour. According to an example drilling holes of said contours are specified based on a desired hole distribution regarding each end point of the drilling holes and an ambition to maximise the number of drilling holes at said contours, which drilling holes are mutually parallel and hereby is brought to run in said reference direction of the drilling plan PBP.

After the method step s440 the method is ended/returned.

Figure 5 shows a diagram of one version of a device 500. The control units 200 and 210 described with reference to Figure 2 may in one version comprise the device 500. The device 500 comprises a non-volatile memory 520, a data processing unit 510 and a read/write memory 550. The non-volatile memory 520 has a first memory element 530 in which a computer program, e.g. an operating system, is stored for controlling the function of the device 500. The device 500 further comprises a bus controller, a serial communication port, I/O means, an A/D converter, a time and date input and transfer unit, an event counter and an interruption controller (not shown). The non-volatile memory 520 has also a second memory element 540.

There is provided a computer program P for drilling plan generation where a drilling plan specifies a number of drilling holes having a starting point and an end point, which drilling holes are distributed within sectors specified in the drilling plan, which sectors comprise a first sector W and at least one second sector adjacent to said first sector.

The computer program P may comprise routines for automatically generating a drilling plan by; determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector; distributing said drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance; and distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector on the basis of said distributed drilling hole end points, so that the number of mutually parallel drilling holes in said at least one second sector is maximized, wherein said mutually parallel drilling holes are specified to run in a determined reference direction of the drilling plan.

The computer program P may comprise routines for specifying drilling holes of the drilling plan on the basis of a desired hole distribution regarding an end point of each drilling hole and an ambition of maximizing the number of drilling holes in said at least one second sector which are mutually parallel and hereby are brought to run in a reference direction of the drilling plan. The computer program P may comprise routines for determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in said first sector, which first sector is a wedge; or

- determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes in an upper part of a contour 1C of said drilling plan PBP; or

- determining said reference direction as a direction of drilling holes of a bottom row of said drilling plan PBP; or

- determining said reference direction on the basis of determined rules.

The computer program P may comprise routines for:

- determining a desired distance between drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector;

- distributing said drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance; and

- distributing drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector on the basis of said distributed drilling hole end points.

The computer program P may comprise routines for distributing drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector denser or sparser, for an adaption to drilling hole end points distributed on the basis of said desired distance between drilling hole end points, wherein such drilling holes do not belong to said mutually parallel running drilling holes

The computer program P may comprise routines for considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan

The computer program P may comprise routines for determining if the number of drilling holes in said drilling plan should be increased or decreased for adaptation to rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said drilling hole starting points and/or drilling hole end points of drilling holes

The computer program P may comprise routines for specifying said existing drilling plan in such a way that it comprises said first sector and four additional sectors comprising a sector on each side of said first sector and an upper sector, positioned above said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector, and a lower sector positioned under said first sector and the sectors on each side of said first sector. The computer program P may comprise routines for in said existing drilling plan, specifying said sectors within the frame of an outer contour.

The computer program P may comprise routines for:

- determining a desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector;

- distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole end points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector according to said determined desired distance; and

- distributing vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of the drilling holes in said at least one second sector in accordance thereto.

The computer program P may comprise routines for:

- distributing said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes in said at least one second sector denser or sparser, for an adaptation to said vertical rows of drilling hole end points distributed based on said desired distance between vertical rows of drilling hole end points, whereby said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points do not belong to a group of equidistant positioned vertical rows.

The computer program P may comprise routines for considering rules relating to a largest and/or smallest allowable distance between said vertical rows of drilling hole starting points of drilling holes of said drilling plan.

The computer program P may comprise routines for directing drilling holes having a drilling hole starting point at a contour of the drilling plan so that the drilling hole projection is in a normal direction to said contour.

The program P may be stored in an executable form or in compressed form in a memory 560 and/or in a read/write memory 550. Where it is stated that the data processing unit 510 performs a certain function, it means that it conducts a certain part of the program which is stored in the memory 560 or a certain part of the program which is stored in the read/write memory 550. The data processing device 510 can communicate with a data port 599 via a data bus 515. The nonvolatile memory 520 is intended for communication with the data processing unit 510 via a data bus 512. The separate memory 560 is intended to communicate with the data processing unit via a data bus 511. The read/write memory 550 is arranged to communicate with the data processing unit 510 via a data bus 514. The links L210, L220, L230, L240 and L250, for example, may be connected to the data port 599 (see Fig. 2).

When data are received on the data port 599, they are stored temporarily in the second memory element 540. When input data received have been temporarily stored, the data processing unit 510 will be prepared to conduct code execution as described above. According to an embodiment the signals received on the data port 599 comprises information about an existing drilling plan generated in accordance with the inventive method.

Parts of the methods herein described may be conducted by the device 500 by means of the data processing unit 510 which runs the program stored in the memory 560 or the read/write memory 550. When the device 500 runs the program, method steps and process steps herein described are executed.

The foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention is provided for illustrative and descriptive purposes. It is not intended to be exhaustive, nor to limit the invention to the variants described. Many modifications and variations will obviously suggest themselves to one skilled in the art. The embodiments have been chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and their practical applications and thereby make it possible for one skilled in the art to understand the invention for different embodiments and with the various modifications appropriate to the intended use.