From the magazine, HDD

A Day in the Life

Traffic control is placed strategically along the road to ensure residential traffic and work vehicles can move about safely. As a humming noise cuts through the air another drill rod was being added to the already extended drill string which is winding its way down the hill to the exit pit. Up ahead one of the team members is waving an electronic receiver over the ground looking for a signal being transmitted by the sonde in the drillhead. Once the drillhead was located and a calculation made to ensure the next point of the bore path could be reached, a quick coded conversation was relayed back to the operator. “Give me a metre at 8 then drill the rest.” Still 75 metres to go till the drill head reaches the exit pit. In total 165 m will be drilled in this one shot. The 2720AT, along with its recycling system, will then move to another sight further down the road and the Grundodrill 10X will move into its place and start to back ream the hole ready for the installation of the three Ì÷140 mm PE conduits.

Over the other side of the hill the Grundodrill 10X is already partly through the back reaming process of a previously drilled pilot hole completed by the 2720AT. Patiently sitting at the exit pit is a vacuum tanker ready to remove the waste slurry from the hole as the reamer cuts its way through the rock. Just around the corner from the 10X is the JT4020 also drilling a pilot shot with a mud motor fitted with a PCD bit. Again a recycling system is positioned just past the JT4020 with a skip bin comfortably nestled at the back collecting all the sand sieved off by its shakers.

At the bottom of the valley two crews are working tirelessly to open up almost 50 metres of trench in solid rock with two excavators for the installation of four Ì÷125 mm electrical conduits. Positioned further along the route is another excavator fitted with an auger to bore under driveways. Residents are reversing their cars from their garages carefully looking around to catch the eye of a wary IC employee and to get the nod that all is clear before they head off to their office. This is just a normal day at the site office for Infrastructure Constructions personnel working on projects for Integral Energy.

It’s not just the ability to have the correct machines for the project but to also have the experience to solve problems that occur on each job site. Every project presents new and intriguing problems, be it with the construction of the project or just a sudden fault within a machine’s mechanical performance. Of course there are always problems that occur on every job site and this project is no exception. One bore saw the complete destruction of a back reamer due to the hard rock ground formation being encountered. This cost the operators the best part of a day as they had to retrieve all the broken parts of the reamer left down the hole. Another pilot hole being reamed out for product installation ended with the loss of most of the HDD machine’s hydraulic power after only back reaming a quarter of the distance required. The fault was diagnosed but unfortunately a quick fix was not available. This is where having three HDD machines available on site can help solve these issues. It’s never a good day when a breakdown occurs but additional equipment and man-power on site allows for minimal downtime and quick solutions to be sourced when disasters strike. The reamer was detached and all the rods retrieved. The machine was then moved to a safe area to allow repairs to continue. One of the other HDD machines was placed on site and the back reamer process continued.

The process and professionalism involved in installing underground conduits for Integral Energy has not just happened over night. Back in 2003 IC took the initiative and presented Integral Energy with a demonstration on Horizontal Directional Drilling. Through this initial success, IC has grown its business to incorporate a large part of its work to include those by Integral Energy. Over the years IC has gained a plethora of knowledge through the installation of numerous different types of utilities. With this knowledge a relationship has been formed between IC and Integral Energy to help achieve more productive and cost effective methods for installation. As HDD is still a relatively new industry compared to others, new and exciting products and methods are constantly being made available. IC believes it is their responsibility to keep Integral Energy informed of these changes so new designs can be integrated with new the technology.

Since IC started installing conduit for Integral Energy over 26,800 metres of network has been installed using trenchless technology. These range from single conduits to multi-conduits that may include up to eight conduits in one borehole. Along with trenchless technology methods, IC has also installed thousands of metres through open excavation. Today IC installs a multitude of electrical conduits for Integral Energy through some of Sydney’s toughest ground conditions. It’s not unusual to see one of IC’s HDD machines installing 6 x Ì÷140 mm & 2 x Ì÷63 mm PE conduits over distances excess of 100 metres using Trenchless Technology. With many of the projects being located in relatively new or up market suburbs, a high consideration has been placed on the disturbance made to already established gardens, driveways and nature strips that are the pride of every house holder. Through these concerns IC’s Trenchless division has been in high demand due to the minimal disturbance caused to existing structures and landscapes.

IC personnel know that these projects aren’t just won for no particular reason. Hours of costing, scheduling and preparation have been meticulously planned out to ensure projects run as smoothly as possible and to budget when under construction. Integral Energy demands high standards of professionalism from all contractors working on their projects. Working near existing underground power is a dangerous business. Safety is foremost in everyone’s eyes and it is everyone’s responsibility no matter who you are.

Send this to a friend