Sandvik has launched what it calls the most significant carbide innovation in the rock drilling industry for decades, with the two new additions to its PowerCarbide family.The two new carbide grades extend grinding intervals and service life by up to 30% compared with standard carbides, according to the company.The GC80 (Gradient Carbide) and SH70 (Self-Hardening) PowerCarbide grades give users several other benefits, such as lower cost per drilled meter, less time for changing bits and improved safety.Robert Grandin, Product Manager for Underground Top Hammer at Sandvik Rock Tools, said: “Sandvik was the first company in the drilling history to manufacture rock tools with cemented carbide, and we are working continuously on developing new and more advanced solutions. The new PowerCarbide grades are based on an improved knowledge about the wear of the drill bit in different types of rock.”The GC80 is developed for abrasive ground conditions with high silica levels in the rock, Sandvik said. A new, unique method makes it possible to produce buttons that are wear-resistant on the outside, while the centre provides a toughness that pushes the service life and grinding intervals even further.The SH70, developed for hard, competent ground, is a grade with homogeneous properties throughout the material. It is called “self-hardening” because the enhanced deformation hardening makes it more wear resistant as you drill. “The surface hardness is continuously ‘refilled’, which means that the hard top never wears off,” Sandvik says.Sandvik says it has more laboratory capacity and human resources for cemented carbide development than any other company in the industry.Grandin added: “Controlling the whole chain, all the way from our own tungsten mine to the production of drill bits, is a unique enabler for developing groundbreaking rock tools. Since we have the most advanced range of carbides, we almost certainly have something in our product range that is perfect for each customer’s conditions.”Earlier this month, Sandvik introduced a new drilling tool system, the Alpha 360, and what it believes to be the fastest drill bit in the industry, Speedy bit.