Using SOLIDWORKS To Help Save Trapped Miners

On October 13, 2010, after being underground for over 69 days, 33 men trapped in a mine in Chile made the 2,041-foot journey back to the surface. No one in recorded history has ever survived so long trapped beneath the Earth. The rescue effort mounted to save the miners was one of the most extraordinary events in recent memory, involving groups ranging from the miners' families to NASA.

It stands as an amazing feat of human faith, ingenuity, and engineering. You can't drill a hole without drill heads, and the ones used for the Plan B tunnel were supplied by Center Rock of Berlin, PA. Center Rock's pneumatic-driven drill heads chip away at rock like a jackhammer, and the system used in the Plan B tunnel used four separate heads to help reach the miners in a little more than half of the time originally estimated. Center Rock chose SOLIDWORKS® 3D design and simulation solutions, including SOLIDWORKS Professional and SOLIDWORKS Premium design software, and the SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium and SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation applications for nonlinear structural and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis.

The company selected SOLIDWORKS software because it is easy to use and provides an integrated suite of design visualization and simulation solutions. By using S​OLIDWORKS, Center Rock helped rescuers reach the trapped miners two months ahead of projections, redesigned the rescue drill bit in just three days, cut its design cycles by 66 percent.