Prime Drilling specialises in the design, development and manufacture of HDD rigs and equipment. For more than 20 years, the company has been recognised for its expertise in the HDD field and for using first-class materials in the development of low-maintenance and robust drill rigs.
Prime Drilling was founded in 1999 by Werner Wurm and Frank Auringer with the specific goal of designing and manufacturing high-quality horizontal directional drilling (HDD) rigs from 30 to 500 t. The company started out with 12 employees working from a 1,000m2 production facility and headquarters in Wenden, Germany approximately 75 km east of Cologne in the country’s west.
The location has since grown to accommodate Prime’s more than 80 employees, with the production area subsequently increasing to 4,500m2, from which Prime’s trenchless solutions are shipped all around the world, including Australia and New Zealand where they are available through TRACO-TECHNIK Australia.
More than a manufacturer
Werner Wurm’s son and current Managing Director of Prime Drilling, Sebastian Wurm, says the company’s products are the culmination of decades of knowledge in drilling techniques, high production quality and excellent service.
“Our goal has always been to manufacture best-in-class machines, so quality is at the foundation of Prime Drilling,” he says.
“Apart from about three rigs, all the machines we’ve manufactured since 1999 are still in operation, including our first.”
The focus in Prime’s first year was to develop machines up to 50 t. In its second year, the company sold the first 220 t unit, with 320 t, one of which is running with a customer in Australia, and 450 t rigs soon following soon after.
In the years that followed, Prime matured from the focus on 30-500 t machines to diversify its drilling products, developing vertical equipment – known as multi directional drilling (MDD) machines used for oil and gas applications – compact units for smaller jobs, and more recently electric HDD machines.
In 2007, it developed its first pipe pusher, capable of 400 t of push force. In the same year the PD500 was conceived, which was for a long time the largest unit in Europe.
In the year, the company celebrated its 10-year anniversary, Prime introduced the first mud pump, the X-3000.
The first MDD machine was sold in 2012, with the development of the first electric machine following soon after in 2019.
“Adapting to changing market conditions is always a challenge, but we always listen to the wants and needs of our clients to ensure we’re delivering the best machines and advice,” says Mr Wurm.
Alongside this comprehensive line-up of HDD technologies, the company also offers a range of professional services, including remote maintenance and product advice backed by a qualified team.
Not only does Prime offer tailor-made technology solutions for its clients’ projects, but also extensive experience and know-how in customising equipment designs to specific project needs. Investing in one of the company’s products also comes with the advantage of universal compatibility with global parts suppliers and a strong industry record in equipment productivity, often resulting in savings.
This extends to Australia and New Zealand, with the partnership with TRACTO supporting customers with technical training, planning and preparation from the conceptualisation of projects through to on-site execution.
This level of coverage is in keeping with Prime’s corporate objective to optimise the success of its clients, which is achieved a steadfast partnership which delivers reliable service, innovative technology and customised product design.
Throughout its history supplying machines to Australasia, one of the most memorable projects Prime has been involved with was the delivery of specialised rigs required for an application outside its usual industry.
In December 2011 an Australian company ordered two HDD rigs for coal seam gas extraction in Queensland. The requirements of the client lead Prime to develop a specialised version of the PD 100/80 RP-C capable of a penetration angle between 6-45 degrees and a maximum thrust/pull force of 100 t.
With a specially developed spring-loaded park brake installed to prevent the heavy power rotary head from sliding down, even in case of total failure of the hydraulic system, the custom rig even managed to exceed Australia’s strict safety requirements.
Once they had been designed and manufactured, in 2012 the two rigs were shipped from Hamburg, Germany, on a 45-day journey to Brisbane. Once on site they performed horizontal blind hole bores, with a diameter of 88.89 mm, a length of up to 1,800 m and a depth of up to 350 m.
Looking to the future
Speaking on Prime’s greatest achievements in its more than 20 years, Mr Wurm says, was the construction of its first 500 t machine which at the time was the largest unit of its kind in Europe.
“More recently, I’m very proud of our ability to diversify into designing and constructing electric HDD machines, which are recognised as the best available on the market,” he says.
“The new 450 t E-machine with 140k Nm torque is considered the largest of its kind in the world.”
Looking forward, plans are in place to increase the production capabilities in Wenden to 6,000m2 to accommodate the continued growth and evolution of the company’s products. The expansion will facilitate Prime’s ability to deliver customised solutions for the drilling industry into the future.
“Our goal for the future is simple,” he says.
“We want to continue to grow and expand our production capabilities and continue to deliver innovative and high-quality equipment which meets the demands of our clients.”
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