Canadian engineer Ray Roussy has accepted an award from the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame for developing sonic drilling technology.
“I’m delighted to be recognized,” Roussy said, who is president of the Sonic Drill and Sonic Drilling, based in Surrey, B.C. “This award is one of the outcomes of nearly four decades of research and development.”
Roussy received his award at a gala dinner in Denver, Colo. “A big thank you to all my employees who travelled the innovation highway with me — no matter where it took us,” Roussy added.
In a release from Sonic Drilling, the firm states this is the fourth award Roussy has received for his work in the field of sonic drilling.
Roussy holds dozens of patents related to the technology, and is responsible for its commercialization when others failed to make it work, the company said.
Today, Sonic’s rigs are employed on six continents.
When compared to conventional rigs, sonic drills work three to five times faster and can core through mixed soils without jamming up or requiring a rig switch. Moreover, the company says, only a sonic drill can recover a continuous core that includes boulders, clay, silt, sand and gravel, and lay it in its stratigraphic sequence from the surface down to 100 metres, and deeper.
The company explains that a sonic drill is more accurately called a “rotary vibratory drill,” which resembles a conventional air or mud rotary drill rig, except for its slightly larger drill head. The head contains the mechanism needed for rotary motion, as well as an oscillator, which causes a high-frequency force to be superimposed on the drill string. The drill bit physically vibrates up and down in addition to being pushed down and rotated.
With these combined forces drilling can proceed rapidly through most geological formations, including most types of rock.