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Larger and longer: TRACTO drill facilitates contractor’s biggest installation

Established in 2013, Jelmac is a proven trenchless technology leader in Victoria, specialising in horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Based in Melbourne, the company works across all major utility sectors and essential services, as well as local builds and small-scale projects.

Over the past few years a significant portion of Jelmac’s resources have been focused on the considerable upgrade to the rail network in suburban Melbourne. The company prides itself on it’s experienced and reliable team, which relishes tackling challenging briefs, no matter how big, small, unique, or complex, working hand in hand with it’s clients to ensure it does everything it can to get the job done, no matter how complex or unique, with full transparency along the way.

The GRUNDODRILL 28N is the seventh HDD rig in Jelmac’s fleet, featuring drills of varying sizes and capabilities. The diverse machines give the company the flexibility to use a ‘horses for courses’ approach to jobs, depending on variables such as the size of the jobsite, geology, and the length and diameter of the installations.

One of the key factors which made the machine so attractive to Jelmac was the machine’s immense power, with 100 per cent of the rig’s 224 kW of power directed towards drilling operations. According to TRACO, this aspect of the machine’s design and performance is unique in the up to 300 kN pulling force power class.

The extra power also supports an advanced mud system, supplying up to 650 l per minute of bentonite, facilitating increased productivity and faster drilling, as well as opening up the possibility for contractors, like Jelmac, to undertake larger and longer bores.

In addition to this power and the effect it has on the functions of the GRUNDODRILL 28N, the drill also features automated and comfort benefitting the end user. Two multi-function joysticks are used for all functions in bore and drive mode and can be switched between manual, semi-automatic and fully-automatic modes.

In the airconditioned cabin is a panel PC with touchscreen and internet connection, making operations straight forward for the end user. Custom ergonomics have also been considered, with an extra-large and comfortable seat, with air suspension and automatic weight adjustment.

Trenchless Australasia spoke to Jelmac Managing Director Brad Boote on the site of a rail project in southeast Melbourne, where the GRUNDODRILL 28N recently completed a 370 m long bore with a diameter of 450 mm in siltstone which he believes to be the biggest installation in the company’s history.

“This installation we’re working on here is probably the biggest bore we’ve ever done, lengthwise at the very least,” he says.

“Since taking delivery of the machine in August 2021, we’ve seen this machine stack up against similar rigs we’ve used in the past with a few key advantages.

“The number one being it’s fluid delivery ability – there’s a lot more litres per minute that we can pump down the borehole which helps us with larger diameter bores, like we’ve just done here,” he says.

Mr Boote says another advantage of the GRUNDODRILL 28N is it’s capacity to house almost 300 m of drill rods, meaning on this particular installation his team only had to load a few rods at the very end to get reach the final length of the installation.

“A lot of machines only have 180 m of rods onboard, so this would’ve been a big job for a machine like that. The other thing is, at only 3 m, these rods are easier to handle; changing them out is a one person job, whereas with other machines it would’ve required loading one rod at a time using an excavator taking up two people.

“A lot of our work is generally under 250 m, so the 28N fits the purpose really well with the diameters that we do, the fluid delivery and the rods – so those three aspects are really important for us.

Mr Boote says because a lot of Jelmac’s work is on confined job sites, the design of the machine means it’s suitable for most of the projects they work on. Beyond the technical specs and features of the machine, the client-supplier relationship is also important to the company.

“That is very important to us and is another reason why we decided to work with TRACTO,” says Mr Boote.

“Investing in this sort of equipment is always a big decision and a massive commitment. We need to know that we can rely on TRACTO for support, training, sales, servicing and spare parts to ensure the machine is in operation when we need it to be, maintaining the efficiency and the standard of work that our partners have come to expect from Jelmac.”

“So far we’re really happy with the decision. I hadn’t had a chance to sit on the machine while it was operating on a job until last week and it was a dream.”

For more information visit TRACTO-TECHNIK’s website

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