Construction Quarry Surface mining

Maneuvering tough terrain for impressive results

1 min read / August 21, 2023 / Staff writer

Drill_ZT44_Las Vegas NV_220513_A1T_DSC07074.psd

Powerful tractive force and an independent oscillating undercarriage deliver maneuverability on uneven grades and the ability to perform in various settings.

Case Study

For more than 50 years, Sanders Construction has been innovating and evolving as a drilling and blasting company, always seeking ways meet customer needs while keeping a competitive edge. Since getting its start in the Las Vegas Valley, the company has expanded to most of the western U.S. and a wide variety of jobs, which demands a mobile and versatile operation.


One of the biggest challenges they face is adapting to many varying job site needs. The drills they had available often required them to get the site flat enough to be accessible. With the wide range of projects they work on, they needed something that was more versatile and adaptable. 


They decided to test out the ZT44 blasthole drill because of the versatility and mobility it offered. 

The company saw how the ZT44 performed when they used it for a solar project, discovering it not only handled steep slopes and tight conditions but was productive enough that it cut their projected drill time in half.  The ZT44 performed like a large rotary drill with the compact footprint and maneuverability of a small contour drill.

Compared to other high-pressure drills in their fleet, they noted the ZT44 had more power and could reach more places. Because safety is a priority on the job site, the ZT44 was engineered to perform in a variety of settings on varying grades with a 30% gradeability specification. Maneuverability is enhanced by a market-leading 50,000 lbf of tractive force and an excellent center of gravity. 

Overall, the drills are achieving depths, volumes and yardage that the Sanders crew could not accomplish before, thanks to a compact design that can reach tight spaces while providing the production capacity of some larger machines. 

Sanders has used the ZT44 on a variety of jobs, affording flexibility for the business. In the year they have had them, they’ve gone from drilling eight-inch diameter, eight-foot post holes for a solar project, drilling 25-foot benches for a mining project, to currently drilling up to 60 feet deep for a construction project. Because it combines power with versatility and the ability to handle difficult terrain, Sanders Construction sees the ZT44 giving them a competitive edge. Jobs that might not have been feasible for them before are now possible because they can transport the drill more efficiently and use it to drill large-diameter holes in tough-to-reach places.

"It's in a class by itself as far as I'm concerned," said President Danny Sanders. The ZT44 delivers up to 48% more horsepower than competitors, which offers more hole depth/diameter drilling options; a market-leading 16,000 dbf of tractive force; and excellent bailing velocity. It's also the only drill on the market that modulates on the fly between low 350 psi and high 500 psi.


Sanders Construction is using the Komatsu ZT44 blasthole drill to bring powerful blasthole efficiency to hard-to-reach places for mining and construction projects, in some cases cutting drill time by half compared to their legacy equipment.

“The most welcoming characteristic of the drill is its versatility … The ability to mobilize it from project to project helps tremendously.”

Colton Sanders, Vice President of Support, Sanders Construction and Western States Drilling and Blasting

“I've been excited about it, and I think it gives us a real competitive edge. … [the] ZT44 is going to have a huge impact on our business.”

Danny Sanders, President, Sanders Construction and Western States Drilling and Blasting

Extending machine life: Komatsu helps customer find viable alternatives to purchasing new equipment

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