Core Trays – Australia

August 22, 2020

Core Trays – An Australian Perspective

Core Trays in Core Shed

Experienced geologists and core shed managers consider their core tray requirements carefully before choosing core trays that will meet their drilling and core processing requirements and help maximise the quality of data gained from the core.

Australia’s harsh conditions have make it a leader in core tray innovation, including quality and the materials used. Different projects have different needs and processing and storage conditions also vary significantly. Here we describe a range of issues that are worth considering when choosing your core trays.

Read how Imago streamlines the Core Tray Photography process to achieve higher quality, consistent images – integrated with geology modelling tools such as Leapfrog >>

The Value of the Drilling Core

Drilling core and chips are expensive to obtain. Handling, processing, and storing the drilling core  correctly is essential to ensuring the logging and geology teams can safely capture quality, reliable data. Quality data means more confident, accurate drilling and mining decisions and a more profitable, and more sustainable operations.

Explorers and miners are increasingly using core tray images for machine learning. The choice of tray may impact the consistency or quality of photographs, impacting the potential for successful machine learning outcomes.

Read Imago’s blog: The Journey to Machine Learning >>

Health and Safety – Strength and ergonomics

Fully laden core trays with HQ or NQ core can be heavy. Trays must be strong enough to hold the core during handling. Hand holding points should be comfortable and allow the tray to be lifted safety, especially for workers handling many trays each day on a busy production line.

Sharp edges are a hazard, especially for the older style metal core trays and hand injuries are a risk.

If the tray or hand holds have the potential to break during lifting, injuries can occur.


Cheap core trays are not always the best option

Cheap core trays are not always the best option

In a busy core shed, trays are rolled along core racks, and lines of trays are often pushed along. Trays must remain flat and not ride up on each other, which slows the process can frustrate workers.


During and after processing, core trays will need to be stacked. Ability to stack well is both a safety  and space saving requirement.


Core trays often get stored in harsh, hot or cold outside conditions. Technicians and geologists may wish to revisit the trays to validate previous data or to look for something new. Poorer quality trays may deteriorate over time and laden with core they are heavy and can break, causing injuries or rendering the contained core unusable.

Core Tray Colour

Core Trays come in different colours including black, white, grey, green and cream. The colour of the tray may impact the quality and consistency of core photos. Imago can advise on the optimal tray colour according to the rock types and photography objectives. Tray colour is also important if specialised photos such as UV are required.


Drillers will need to write the hole name and depths on the tray. The writing must be on the top. I have been intrigued that some sites write on the side of the trays, which is invisible for core tray photos, creating serious future issues when reviewing core tray photos.

Readable, durable labelling of core trays is essential if the geology team is to make confident reliable use of the logging, scanning and photography data.

Rotating the Core

When logging, geologists may regularly rotate the core in the tray. Does the tray have ribs at the bottom of the channels that affect the ability and ease of rotating the core.

Drain Holes

You will need drainage holes, especially if core is to be wetted during logging or photographing, or if left outside with potential rain.

Changing Tray Type

With the advent of machine learning based on core tray photos, the importance of core photo consistency has increased. Machine learning models may be impacted by changes in the core tray layout, colour and labelling. Making the best decision early on is important for having a consistent photography process cover the life of the project where the quality and consistency of images are maximised.

Re-using Core Trays

Will your project discard core samples after a period of time? If so, are your trays of sufficient quality enable re-use.


Some trays are made from recycled materials. Can the recycled content be verified? Do corporate or project environment policies need to be considered?

Dynamics GEx are leaders in core tray innovation. Based in Australia with offices in Perth and Kalgoorlie. View the Sub Zero core tray from Dynamics GEx >>


Drilling and mining often occur in remote locations where the local community is a key stakeholder in the project. Locally made core trays, using local skills, labour and materials can be an important benefit to the local community.


Cheap core trays are not always the best option and price should be weighed against the other requirements. Core trays can enhance or impede the processing or core, reduce the quality of data collected, and may result in labelling errors, missing or difficult to read hole names and depths.

Ready To Get Started?


Helpful Links & Information


Guides to get you up & running Imago as well advanced topics like developer info and more.



Coreshed, Connect + Tools, and Imago Mobile. All downloads available from the link below.



With offices around the world, we’re available to help you with any of your needs.


© Seequent Limited, a Bentley Company. All rights reserved