From the magazine, HDD

New technology hits the HDD spot

Recently, Australian Underground Service Installations (AUSI) acquired a Vermeer D36x50 DR (dual rod) directional drill. This drill represents a relatively new technology. Although rock directional drilling has been around for years, this new dual rod system offers many new benefits, including its reduced size. It also reduces the need for recycling plants and eliminates mud motors, which increase costs, require more staff to run and take up more space on the job site.

AUSI founder Troy Morgan said “After many years of directional drilling in all types of ground conditions and many different locations, I can say that this new drill is by far the best all-round drill that I have ever operated – small enough to get into position on most jobs, while still having ample power to get the job done.”

Mr Morgan has had the machine for four months and has completed many bores with it through many different types of ground conditions.

One such bore was recently completed over 294 m under two stormwater culverts along Camden Valley Way in Leppington, New South Wales. This job was for Jemena Gas and required the installation of one single 160 mm HDPE pipe. The bore path, designed by the client, required boring at a depth of 7.5 m from the existing ground level for a large part of the job. This required the use of a rock capable drill and the ability to reach out 300 m.

The Vermeer D36x50 DR holds 150 m of rod in its rod basket, so Mr Morgan bought another full basket of rods from Vermeer (150 m). Conveniently, the rod baskets are easily changed when empty, reducing downtime on site.

The machine completed the pilot bore in two days and completed the back ream of 250 mm diameter in three days, pulling back the pipe the next day. The whole job took five-and-a-half working days.

“The machine did not struggle in any way and I would have no hesitations in going out to 400 m with the dual rod system in the right ground conditions – rock – as I believe that the machine is easily capable of this.

“I also like the fact that the rock head, used on pilot, drills a six-and-a-half inch hole. This enables instant pull back of all pipe sizes less than 145 mm without back reaming to open up the diameter of the hole,” said Mr Morgan.

He added “Vermeer engineer Jim Rankin and other associates from the United States visited our site with our Vermeer representative Steve Duck when we were drilling the 294 m shot at Leppington and I felt that they were genuinely there to research and develop the new machine. They were very helpful in some of the advice that they gave and were genuinely interested to hear our thoughts on how the machine could be improved for future models.”

Another project recently completed by this machine was a 105 m bore in rocky/sandy conditions at Port Kembla, New South Wales. This job required the installation of three 180 mm HDPE conduits and two 110 mm HDPE conduits, all in the one hole. This required a 600 mm hole to be reamed and truckloads of mud to be removed with vacuum trucks. The bore was for the new electricity supply for Cement Australia’s new processing plant being built on the foreshore at Port Kembla. The machine was able to complete this bore with minimal problems and the whole job took nine working days.

“Overall, I would have to say that Vermeer have been fantastic with the support they have given us. The machine has had surprisingly few problems for such a new system and the ones that it has had have been minor and have been rectified straight away,” said Mr Morgan.

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