OptionX Group has formed and is ready to service all areas of the drilling and tunnelling industry.
Trenchless industry veteran and founder of microtunnelling powerhouse Edge Underground, Stuart Harrison, has established OptionX Group – connecting a selection of drilling and tunnelling businesses, including Edge Underground and Bournedrill. The new group will be equipped to service all areas of the tunnelling, drilling and boring industries.
A company with the edge, underground
As the Managing Director and founder of Edge Underground, Harrison has an in-depth and expansive knowledge of the industry and the necessary requirements to succeed in horizontal and vertical drilling.
Over the course of his impressive career, Harrison has established himself as an innovator within the industry and is the inventor of the Vermeer AXIS guided boring system.
The Vermeer AXIS guided boring system is a pit-launched trenchless installation method designed to achieve pinpoint, on-grade accuracy while eliminating some of the difficult steps associated with other installation techniques. A wide range of product pipe, sizing specifications, and other job site requirements can be met with the versatile capabilities of the AXIS system.
Since creating this system, Harrison has continued to work extensively with Vermeer in the USA and drive innovation within the industry.
Across Australia, Edge Underground has become a contractor of choice for many sewer and water pipeline installation projects. The company specialises in installing gravity sewer mains utilising installation techniques including microtunnelling, laser boring, auger boring and thrust boring.
Bournedrill, building on potential across Australia
Yet another long-standing fixture within the Australian drilling and boring scene is Bournedrill.
Helmed by brothers Graham and George Bourne since 1965, Bournedrill is known for its extensive innovative equipment and dedication to finding solutions for its clients.
From its humble beginnings those years ago, Bournedrill has expanded to house a major design and manufacturing operation; utilising computer-controlled machinery to meet exacting standards.
Bournedrill has continued to take pride in its capabilities – and in its reputation which now extends world-wide, offering services over a wide area encompassing all of Australia, the Pacific region, Southeast Asia and Africa.
A meeting of the minds
Harrison, through his work leading Edge Underground, teamed up with Bournedrill while working on the challenging Donnybrook Link Sewer Stage 2 project.
Ground conditions in Donnybrook are notoriously difficult to manage. Others believed the project’s only option was to upsize from DN700 to DN1200 and install a concrete casing pipe. Edge Underground and Bournedrill came together to combine ideas and successfully used high-pressure air hammers to complete the job.
The two team’s pursuit of excellence and innovation not only saw the successful completion of the job, but also won Edge Underground the ASTT award for New Installation Project of the Year in 2021.
When searching for an Australian manufacturer to produce a new adaptable modular drilling and tunnelling machine, it was only a matter of time before Harrison realised that Bournedrill not only had the engineering expertise required, but the workshop capabilities to get the job well done.
While Bournedrill wasn’t on the market when Harrison approached them to work on this new machine, as he briefed them on the concept, Graham and George Bourne recognised the same passion in Harrison for manufacturing drilling machinery that had driven them to jumpstart their business all those years ago.
Strength and innovation in numbers
Promising to continue Bournedrill with extreme passion and further its reputation both at home in Australia and internationally, Harrison purchased the company and began to form the basis of OptionX Group.
“The Bourne brothers have done a great job for many years, and everyone knows them as guys who seriously know what they are talking about. They weren’t willing to sell Bournedrill to just anyone, and I’m determined to grow Bournedrill with similarly passionate people from the industry,” says Harrison.
“Bournedrill has always been known in the industry for having expert knowledge, amazing service and creating high-quality equipment that lasts. We’re now building on that with cutting-edge technology to give the workshop the most extreme capabilities in the industry.”
OptionX Group has already begun to invest heavily into the progression and success of Bournedrill; by investing in the company’s Queensland workshop and building upon the already existing technologies of automated and manual CNC equipment, with robotic welding, friction welding and other new equipment to be added shortly.
“I’ve worked in the industry and will continue to listen to what it needs. We’ll adapt and are already looking at things like adding rod loading to all the Bournedrill machines,” says Harrison.
“We’ll add automation to machines to take the guesswork out of it, but we’ll keep manual backup available so the tried and tested methods can be called upon if needed. Things like that give people the confidence in the field that they will be able to finish the job, whatever it throws at them.”
Alongside Bournedrill, OptionX Group also encompasses Edge Underground and an ever-growing collection of industry-recognised and emerging companies. CASR Trading, which offers hire and purchasing options for equipment in the trenchless industry, Drillit International, a maintenance and servicing company specialising in boring and drilling equipment and the soon-to-be launching Riteline, a consumable supplier for the industry’s specialists, also make up the group.
“Over the 25 years I’ve spent in the industry, the products and services offered by this group of companies are exactly what I’ve needed. I’m excited to take on the group’s CEO role and see these businesses continue to grow,” says Harrison.
For more information visit Option X Group.
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This article appeared in the October edition of Trenchless Australasia. Access the digital copy of the magazine here.