Horizontal directional drilling has been in the blood of Maxibor’s founder and owner Rodney O’Meley, spanning over four decades. From first sight of an unusual looking machine in a Forresters Beach paddock in 1996, O’Meley became enthralled by the capabilities of trenchless technology. Today, Maxibor is one of the leading HDD design and delivery providers across Australia.
In years between his first drill sighting in 1996 and the establishment of Maxibor in 2013, Rodney O’Meley dedicated himself to building up knowledge of horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Today, he is recognised as one of the experts in the HDD industry.
“Anyone can be trained to operate a drill, but few know what the drill and mud is telling you,” says O’Meley. “It is experience that will tell you what pressures to apply at the drill head and the right tooling and mud ingredients to achieve goods rates of penetration. Though the new technology helps, it is still the practical experience which will help you avoid the frac outs or manage them when they are inevitable”.
Several of the people with whom O’Meley worked in those formative learning years are still in the Maxibor team today. Sharing of the knowledge across the team for over 25 years has built up a base of skilled drillers and a crew who are now delivering some of the most significant pipeline projects in Australia.
Maxibor was established in 2013 at Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley. The company acquired some of its early work from the Hunter Expressway build. The business has always taken a strategic approach, focusing on projects for its larger rigs, investing in business development activities and using the knowledge of its experienced staff.
Like many other HDD companies, Maxibor played its part in the installation of the NBN between 2017 and 2020. Maxibor installed close to 2,500 km of pipelines for fibre optic cable subcontracting to Visionstream, Lendlease, Downer and others.
A highlight of Maxibor’s work on the NBN was the completion of two record-breaking 500 m bores using its Vermeer 36×50 Series II rigs at the New South Wales north coast village of Scotts Head in October 2017.
With the standard rod carrying capacity for a Vermeer 36×50 being less than 200 m, few HDD providers are willing or able to drill beyond this distance. Maxibor’s appetite for challenge, combined with its drill operation and drill fluid management expertise, overcame the combined challenges of distance, hard rock, cobblestone and water charged sand.
In 2019, Maxibor added a Vermeer 330×500 maxi-rig to its fleet. This rig was first used on a Logan City Council project, which connected the Greater Flagstone Priority Development Area with the Cedar Grove sewerage treatment plant. Maxibor designed and delivered a 1.320 km bore, installing 500 mm of PE100 HSCR PN20 to a depth of over 50 m. This is still the longest HDD bore delivered in Australia since 2019.
An exciting recent addition to the Maxibor fleet has been the electrified Gallagher HDD660e maxi-rig (The Hulk). The electrified spread has its own substation which also connects to two powerful Gardner Denver PZ9 pumps and a large Gallagher mud recycling system.
The Hulk can drill up to 3.5 km in a single shot with a diameter up to 1.6 m. In an increasingly more environmentally conscious world, the electrified spreads are a way of the future, helping to significantly reduce both emissions and noise pollution.
Maxibor has just added a Gallagher 600 to its maxi-rig fleet, positioning the business to be able to participate in the delivery of multiple major infrastructure projects across Australia.
There are exciting times ahead for the trenchless industry in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region, as governments and private enterprises tackle projects to help mitigate the impact of climate change. Companies are having to look to new resources such as solar and clean hydrogen for energy needs.
Sea cables for power, communications and data all require HDD solutions to connect to the sea to the land. Maxibor has many bores up to and over 2 km for 2022. The company looks forward to helping more stakeholders achieve optimal infrastructure outcomes in the future.
For more information visit the Maxibor website.