The Autosampler – A new IMA product for drill chip sampling

When working with drill cuttings sampling analysis we at IMA noticed that the conventional samplers with riffle and cone type sample splitters that take physical samples from drill chip were not giving good enough representative samples. That was especially noticed when developed the IMA PDSA (Percussive Drill Sampler-Analyzer) analyzer robots which analyzed samples continuously and gives elemental analysis results in short hole depth averages. It needed representative samples for QA/QC comparison and calibration purposes.


We did also notice that the conventional splitters on the market did not meet the requirements of Theory of Sampling. Further, they were mainly designed for reverse Circulation drilling and they required putting the samplers in exactly into vertical positions for even distribution of cuttings to sample and rejects. Further the sampling and with those conventional splitters was very laborsome requiring two or more persons, one to operate the drill rig and minimum one sampler to change and handle the sample bags. Often the sampler was working in dangerous environment at close vicinity of a moving drill rig and rotating drill components being exposed to silica bearing dust.

We thought that there has to be a better way – and came up with the Autosampler: a sampler-splitter-bagging device with following design principles and Autosampler features:

  • Meets the strictest requirements of the Theory Of Sampling (TOS) Everything in mining revolves around the sample after it is taken. “If your sample is wrong nothing will save you”. We have consulted a world leading sampling specialist when designing and testing the Autosampler.

  • Protects the personnel’s health and safety.  Autosampler is operated from drill operator’s cabin in safe and dust free environment out of harm’s way.

  • Automatic bag change – 8 sample bags can be filled without leaving the drill cabin.

  • For reverse circulation (R/C) sampling drills and production drill rigs. Easy installation to all drill types.

  • Representative sampling for all sample lengths. The sample split ratio is adjustable from 0,1% to 12%. taking representative samples from full hole length to short (<0,5 m) individual lengths of hole.

  • Sample bypass for unwanted parts of the hole– Includes a sample bypass feature for collaring and subdrill.

  • For surface and underground drill cuttings sampling of dry or wet cuttings

  • Several sample bag options:  IMA Softcore™ elongated transparent sample bag which enable visual logging of chips, and any standard sample bags– made of plastic or filter cloth material.

  • Quick and simple change of sample bags– self tightening bag support mechanism

  • Auto setup feature– no need to manually adjust the Autosampler into vertical position

What is IMA Engineering?

IMA Engineering has used on-line sensors for analyzing ore and waste rock in mining for more than 25 years. Today IMA on-line sensors are used in various stages of the mining process including on-line analysis of drill cores, drill chips, ore and waste in loader bucket, ROM ore analysis on belt conveyor belt and in bulk ore sorting and in slurry analysis in concentrators.

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