Vermeer D40x55DR HDD ‘ticks every box’ for Healesville Directional Drilling

Healesville Directional Drilling has been in operation for roughly 20 years, started by Pearson’s father and grandfather. He recently took the lead to continue the family legacy of working in drilling and underground excavation.

“We’ve always worked doing pole to pit work in the local Boronia area, but now we’ve got a big focus on larger projects across southeast and northeast Victoria, which gives us a steady flow of work. We have a contract with Downer installing underground power, and our larger projects vary between private companies and large Tier 1 contractors,” Pearson says.

To help support these larger HDD projects, Cameron recently purchased a Vermeer D40x55DR HDD, which he says he chose because of Vermeer Australia’s great reputation in the industry.

“I’ve always run a competitor product, and never had any issues, but it was all I knew because it’s what I used every day. One of my mentors I was doing some work with at the time was using Vermeer and never had a bad thing to say about the machinery,” he says.

“So, when the time came to upgrade, I decided to check out what Vermeer had to offer. Their package suited all our current needs, and we haven’t looked back.”

Pearson says the main thing that stands out with the D40x55DR is the versatility. 

“The needs for our projects can change every week, from doing 63 mm diameter pipes one day to 350 mm the next, all in different locations and differing conditions, but this machine ticks every box, and I can use on the majority of our projects.”

“The size of the drill and the power of it is also a standout. It has great steering capabilities in rock or hard ground conditions, and being able to simply swap from rock to clay heads in a matter of minutes drastically reduces our downtime and increases our productivity on the job.”

The D40x55DR features dual rod technology.

The D40x55DR features dual rod technology that uses an inner rod to provide torque to the drill bit, while the outer rod offers steering capability and rotational torque for reaming. It has an operating weight of over 15 tonnes, power of 140 hp (104.4 kW), rotational torque of 7458 Nm and thrust to pullback force of 20 tonnes.

Pearson says the support of the Vermeer Australia team has been as exceptional as the machine, too.

“The team has been fantastic. They’re always on the other line if I have a query, I’ve never had an issue with parts supply, and their customer support on site has been great,” he says. 

“I’d love to add a bigger Vermeer to my fleet one day when the work is there, a D60x90 HDD would be great, as I love working on big projects and operating larger machines. It’s definitely a goal I’ll be working towards and looking to Vermeer to support us on.”

For more information visit Vermeer’s website.


This article appeared in the August edition of Trenchless Australasia

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Investing in learning opportunities to give customers tools to nurture skills: Michels

When horizontal directional drilling (HDD) emerged in the mid-1960s as a new way to install utility lines under immovable or unavoidable obstacles without significant surface disruptions, crossings spanned up to a few hundred feet guided by frequent potholing. That changed in 1971 when a 4-inch gas line was placed under a river in Watsonville, CA, USA, a location where potholing would not be possible.

At about that same time, Michels was growing its utility line construction business in the Midwestern United States. Driven to meet customer needs and offer specialised services, the company expanded its geographic footprint and markets served. 

Today, Michels is an international, diversified energy and infrastructure contractor and leading provider of construction services to the energy, transportation, communications, power and utility industries. 

In 2021, Michels added Michels Asia Pacific, a permanent trenchless operation in Wangaratta, Victoria, to the Michels Family of companies. Michels Asia Pacific selectively specialises in technically challenging trenchless installations in Australia to allow customers to provide reliable, unobtrusive service in metropolitan and remote areas. 

The team consists of Wangaratta-based project management and field staff supported from industry experts at Michels’ headquarters in Brownsville, WI, USA.

Flash back nearly 35 years to 1988 when Michels was one of the first contractors to recognize the potential of the new technology of HDD, a safe, environmentally sound way to install utility lines where traditional open-trench construction would not be practical or feasible. 

Intrigued by HDD’s prospect of allowing energy and infrastructure construction in previously unsuitable areas and soil conditions, Michels dedicated personnel and resources to learning about the technique and introducing it to customers. 

In keeping with Michels’ spirit of innovation and determination to provide customers with the best solutions, Michels set out to master the art and science of HDD. As the operations team completed HDD projects for energy customers, Michels in-house design and fabrication team got to work developing its own equipment to provide more opportunities than commercially available products at the time. 

In 1996, Michels designed and built what was then the largest machine of its kind: the Hercules 1200, a HDD rig with 1.2 million pounds of thrust/pulling power. Not content to stop with one success, Michels continued to improve and expand its HDD equipment, eventually owning the world’s largest fleet of high-capacity HDD rigs with more than 1.2 million pounds of thrust/pulling power. 

At the same time, the Michels team developed best practices for mitigating the risk of inadvertent fluid returns, managing bentonite and drilling fluid pressures for proper hole conditions, lubrication and cutting removal. 

Michels also developed proprietary cutting tools and casing systems to maximize the potential for successful crossings and established processes for land-to-land, water-to-water, land-to-water projects. 

As HDD’s reputation as a safe, accurate option for trenchless crossings grew, so did requests for longer and larger diameter crossings under transportation corridors, waterways, wetlands and other environmentally sensitive or challenging areas. 

As lengths extended into the thousands of feet, Michels Trenchless team pioneered the pilot hole intersect method in a 2003 crossing in Boston. A powerful drill rig set out from each side of the alignment with a mission to follow an engineered path and meet at a predetermined spot, essentially doubling an HDD’s potential based solely on the drill rig’s push/pull capacity. 

The Georges Island HDD crossing was a 1577 m hard-rock, water-to-water crossing to install 30-inch diameter pipe.

That technique was a watershed moment in the HDD industry. In passing years, demands for increasingly longer crossings with more complex alignments surfaced around the world from diverse industries, including energy, electrical transmission, water and wastewater and renewables. 

In 2021, Michels completed a 4702 m installation of an NPS-24 steel utility line, the likes of which had not previously been attempted at the 24-inch diameter in the world. 

Looking to the future, Michels is committed to building infrastructure to support projects in traditional and emerging industries and to continue providing safe, proven and innovative solutions to customers in Australia and wherever needed.

“In Australia, North America and throughout the world, there is an ever-increasing need for obstacles to be trenchlessly crossed, particularly in a time when there is a very real need for expanded infrastructure for traditional and transitioning markets,” said Matt Smith, President, Michels Trenchless, Inc. “We are honoured to have the skills, expertise, equipment and opportunity to deliver solutions that will build the future.”

For more information visit Michels’ website.


This article appeared in the August edition of Trenchless Australasia

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IA forecasts infrastructure boom

Andris Krumins reflects on his career in the trenchless industry

In a bid to celebrate the achievements and growth of the trenchless industry and the ASTT, Trenchless Australasia will be running a new question and answer segment featuring an ASTT member. In this edition, the August Trenchless Pioneer is Andris Krumins, a retired civil engineer. This is his story.

In your own words, how would you explain what the trenchless industry is? 

The trenchless industry is total underground services infrastructure construction, refurbishment, renewal and management by processes and procedures devoid of open ground excavations.

Trenchless Pioneer Andris Krumins

How did you become involved in the trenchless industry? 

I was lucky to work with innovative engineers where I was promoted to manage many world first sewer relining projects.

What is a standout trenchless project or milestone you have been involved in? 

There were many in my 46 plus years in the water industry, such as relining 1.2 metres of the Chermside Branch sewer (18-inch dia) with PVC in the late 1960’s, Australia’s first use of large diameter PE at New Farm for 2.7 miles and world first use of spiral PVC sewer lining at Isles Lane.  When these projects were done, there were no contractors in this business and work was performed by day labour.  With time this changed as the no-dig industry grew. We only provided site preparation by day labour and contractors provided the technology and work force – as in relining Brisbane’s Main Sewer with Insituform – a project of some miles of man entry sewers through the CBD to Eagle Farm with a depth op to 116 feet. 

 Early international contractors also appeared such as Monier with large projects as above and gunniting this sewer to Eagle Farm in the 1970’s in the man entry sizes of 48-inch dia to 72-inch dia.  Trenchless technologies provide solutions to new and old infrastructure extending economic lives with miniscule footprints, limiting environmental impacts on people, traffic and the environment.

What is the best part of trenchless technology? And how has it evolved since you first became part of the industry? 

Since utility industries evolved from service providers to businesses, these projects are now totally in the hands of no-dig companies with little, if any, involvement from the utilities apart from contractual and planning.

Which form of trenchless technology do you think has had the most transformation and why? 

I think directional drilling has grown.  We now provide underground services through any ground conditions, under rivers, roads, and seas, at any depth, all with minimum impacts and at low costs.  We have moved from sewers on line and grade, to curved on grade – a departure from century old givens and this opens brownfield and greenfield to unthought of services solutions.  The needs for maintenance holes in sewer works has now become unnecessary.

Where do you see the trenchless industry in the next 10-20 years?

The trenchless technology needs to highlight its ability boundaries and sell this capability to service providers and professional institutions while developing low whole of life costs by embracing electrification technology as used by the big tunnelling industry, and embrace this as a positive of the industry.

How has the industry progressed in being more diverse?

I remember many years ago, a contractor using strong Maori ladies mixing grout for relining sewers, but this has now extended beyond hard labour to professional and trade trained females who can hold their own with males in the industry.  They lead businesses, financial management and planning of projects professionally together with site supervision at project delivery as team members.  Our industry provides a real and exciting career opportunity for females.


This article appeared in the August edition of Trenchless Australasia

kwik-ZIP’s spacers make waves at WSAA

In mid-2016, kwik-ZIP’s HDX Series casing spacer was the first ever spacer system to be approved as compliant with WSA PS-324. The successful appraisal of the HDXT Series marks the second instance in which kwik-ZIP’s casing spacers have been formally recognised as complying with WSA PS-324 for casing spacers. 

Notably, both products are the only casing spacers on the market that have been approved as compliant by WSAA. 

The WSA PS-324 Product Specification prescribes casings spacer requirements for correct protection of carrier pipes when installed inside casings and was released in early November 2015. The specification outlines various requirements of the spacer including use of materials, abrasion resistance, requirement for wear pads, runner height flexibility and minimum runner spacing around the pipe.

Jason Linaker, Managing Director and creator of the Australian-owned kwik-ZIP HDXT and HDX series, says that he is proud to have a second WSA PS-324 compliant series officially recognised by the industry. The recognition will afford kwik-ZIP the chance to continue to support safer and longer lasting installations across the board.

“kwik-ZIP casing spacers will protect pipes, make installation easier and extend the life of your asset, and now with WSAA approval for two product series, choosing the right spacer for longevity and success is even easier,” says Linaker.

The HDXT Series casing spacer can be used for medium to heavy weight pipe materials including steel, ductile iron, GRP, FRP, concrete, PVC and PE. Furthermore, it’s suitable for both pressure and non-pressure pipelines in grouted and un-grouted installations.

The casing spacers utilise a segmented design that enables the system to be used on a variation of carrier pipes from 100 mm OD to 3000 mm OD.  Spacers for larger diameter carrier pipes are also available. The spacers are manufactured from kwik-ZIP’s engineered thermoplastic blend. 

The spacers incorporate low friction high abrasion resistant wear pads, attached to load sharing runners. The number of segments required for each spacer is determined by the outside diameter of the carrier pipe.

kwik-ZIP spacers are used and recommended by pipeline and civil contractors around the world.

“Flexibility of the design means various runner heights across the two series of products can be achieved, allowing for different pipe/casing combinations and a broad range of carrier pipe dimensions,” says Linaker.

“Although spacers are usually a small part of the overall pipe installation process, correctly designed and fitted non-metallic spacers with low friction runners can significantly increase the life expectancy of the pipeline by mitigating corrosion, protecting it from abrasion and scoring during insertion and by reducing installation forces on joints during slip lining.”

The different runner heights across the HDX and HDXT models ensures that pipeline installers can handle a very broad range of carrier pipe OD and casing host pipe ID combinations. It also grants installers the ability to custom pipe position for grade control or centring.

In addition to receiving WSAA approval, other kwik-ZIP products have also been added to the Accepted Infrastructure Products and Materials (IPAM) list for the southeast Queensland Water Supply and Sewerage Design and Construction Code (SEQ Code). 

Likewise, kwik-ZIP have also been added to the Melbourne Retail Water Agencies (MRWA) approved products list. The MRWA is a joint association of three major water retailers owned by the Victorian government: South East Water, Yarra Valley Water and Greater Western Water.

WSAA appraisal information can be found at


For more information visit kwik-ZIP.

This article appeared in the August edition of Trenchless Australasia.

Helping develop the local directional drilling industry

Driving around the streets of Perth or Darwin, or even in the regions, you’re likely to see crews performing civil, utility and communications works. Boom times do create extra demands for drilling contractors. As a trusted and knowledgeable market leader, Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT continues to support its customers through the boom times and beyond.

Helping customers manage growth

Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT continues to work with its established customers to help manage their growth, utilising its expertise and product support to improve their efficiencies. Right to the point where the company has dedicated Product Support Managers, visiting customers onsite to guide and assist crews, and to work with business owners to help them improve operational efficiencies.

By discussing future projects, Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT is able to assist its existing customers in choosing the right equipment to meet their immediate and future project needs. Sometimes projects present unique challenges, and this is where the global expertise of Vermeer Corporation comes to play – providing the right technical advice to assist in making the right equipment and operational decisions. 

Recently CD Drilling took delivery of a powerful yet highly manoeuvrable Vermeer D130S directional drill, to undertake large-diameter drilling work both in the Pilbara and Perth metropolitan regions.

CD Drilling Operations Manager Brynn Silke says the guidance provided by Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT was invaluable. 

“We originally thought we’d need two machines for the projects that were emerging. By working with Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT, we found the perfect solution in one machine. Plus, the team really helped us in planning the deployment of the new machine to improve our productivity,” Silke says.

Assisting new market entrants

The current boom has also seen the emergence of companies making the natural progression into the drilling contracting arena. One of these companies is ADCO Group. Starting as a small electrical contractor, the company has developed into a major provider of electrical, mechanical, integration and fire services to the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

ADCO Group Managing Director Adam Di Placido recounts how Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT provided the right guidance in planning their equipment purchases. 

“Directional drilling was a natural progression for our company, especially with the amount of residential and commercial infrastructure work we were securing. The team at Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT helped us plan a role out of equipment in line with our growth and project schedules. We started with pre-owned Vermeer D20x22 and D20x330 drills and have now secured new Vermeer D10x15 and Vermeer D8x12 drills to add to our fleet. This really helped with our cash flow and bottom line. They helped us invest smartly, as we grew,” says Di Placido.

Growth in technology

One positive result from COVID-19 has been the advancement in drilling technologies. Locked away for long periods, the Vermeer technical experts in the US focused on developing a number of technological advancements, with these now being introduced to customers in WA and the NT. One of these is Vermeer BoreAssist, which provides on-rig bore planning using user-friendly preloaded templates and innovative technology, providing less stress logging while drilling.

“Our company is focused on productivity. That’s why we rely on Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT to incorporate the latest drilling technologies into our operation,” says Stephen Roberts, Director of Boretech Contracting. 

Addressing labour and skills shortages

Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT have listened to their customers’ needs for a more experienced and larger pool of drilling operators. Local drilling contractors also have a strong and unified desire to improve the standing, reputation and professionalism of the industry. This is also echoed by local utility companies. With this, Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT continues to work with industry and government, acting as a conduit to develop industry skills and resources, backed by the technical expertise that only a global company can provide. 

Northern Territory expansion

Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT also operates in the NT through an office and service centre in Darwin. With demand from local drilling contractors also increasing, the company is currently expanding its NT operation, with the appointment of technical and business experts to assist in providing customers with the right advice and equipment choices.

“The demand from the Northern Territory has been phenomenal, especially from the civil construction, mining and agricultural sectors. We’re expanding our support and service functions in the NT, so that we can keep our growing base of customers operational and productive,” says Wes McCartney, MD of Vermeer Equipment of WA and NT. 

Ready to assist

Whether you’re an established drilling contractor, or venturing into directional drilling, Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT is ready to assist. Whether it’s an equipment related inquiry, or looking at ways of improving productivity, the team at Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT is committed to seeing our industry grow.

For more information visit Vermeer Equipment of WA & NT.

This article appeared in the August edition of Trenchless Australasia.

Hynds supporting trenchless industry with customised solutions

For nearly 50 years, Hynds has been committed to giving back to New Zealand’s construction contractors by supplying customised, engineered solutions for civil and rural infrastructure projects.

Founded in 1973 by John and Léonie, the company has gradually grown to become one of the most reliable suppliers of pipeline products for the management of water and wastewater in New Zealand.

By investing in the future with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, Hynds is able to offer high-quality products designed specifically with trenchless methodologies in mind.

The company has specialist engineers located across New Zealand, giving customers confidence that their requirements can be supported with expertise and customised, engineered trenchless solutions.

Click here to view the company’s listing in the 2022 Australasian Trenchless Directory.

For more information visit the Hynds Pipe Systems.

Webuid pushes for Clough acquisition.

Industry associations collaborating to present microtunnelling site visit

The Australasian Society for Trenchless Technologies (ASTT) is collaborating with the Australian Tunnelling Society (ATS) and Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to present the event.

Taking place on 16 September 2022 in Clarkson, a suburb of Perth, the site visit is complimentary for all ASTT, ATS and ICE members, while interstate or international members can livestream the event remotely.

Click here to register for the event.

The Quinns Main Sewer Extension includes the installation of 1,931 m of DN1800 sewer main, including 1,167 m of microtunnelling at a depth of 6 m, 25 m deep vortex chambers and 6 other sewer manholes.

When completed, the project will allow wastewater flows from the main pump stations at Ellenbrook, Jandabup and Neerabup towards the Alkimos wastewater treatment plant.

Contractor Rob Carr has made some innovative changes to the preliminary project design, which previously required 700 m of open trench.

The joint ASTT, ATS and ICE event will provide members and attendees with an understanding of microtunnelling construction techniques and methodologies during the site briefing, before seeing the operations in person.

The details for the event are:

Date: 16 September 2022

Time: 15:00-16:30 AWST – Induction commences at 15:00

Venue: Cnr Homestead Dr and Hanaford Ave, Clarkson (Or livestreamed online)

Attendees will be required to bring their own PPE: steel-capped lace up shoes, long trousers, long-sleeve orange reflectorised shirt, safety glasses and hard hat.


Attendees in incorrect attire will not be granted attendance.


For more information visit the ASTT website.

New execs for Interflow’s team

New Chief Financial Officer, Tracy Black. Image: Interflow

Tracy Black, Interflow’s new chief financial officer, just recently joined the company. With her strong history of developing people and businesses, Tracy also has a proven track record of improving processes and helping businesses meet their financial goals across a number of industries.

New executive manager of people and capability function, Tracy Keevers. Image: Interflow

Tracy Keevers has also been announced as Interflow’s executive manager of their people and capability function.

Keevers has moved from her previous role as people experience manager, where she has already delivered on some of the company’s key initiatives in the development of its leaders. A strong history in HR has enabled Keevers to enhance people experience at interflow, and has equipped her with the skills to excel in her takeover of the company’s people strategy. The new role will cover workplace planning, payroll, diversity and inclusion, and the development of Interflow’s people.

Interflow has congratulated the two newest members of the executive team. Already known for its professional approach and delivery on challenging jobs in the industry, Interflow continues to meet the needs of projects, clients and staff.

Subscribe to Trenchless Australasia for the latest project and industry news.