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It's the only way to go


AMEC UTILITIES has bought two Vermeer Navigator directional drilling rigs to expand its pipe installation division.

The 24x40 Navigator machines were supplied by Vermeer UK distributor B-Trac Equipment. They are the first two directional drilling rigs in Amec Utilities Anglian division's fleet and will carry out work previously sub-contracted to specialist drilling contractors. The machines were bought because of increasing workload, particularly demand for trenchless pipe installation.

B-Trac said major UK utilities firms estimate that up to 75% of all pipe installations will be carried out by no dig installation techniques over the next five years.

The first main contract for the machines was installation of a gas main in the Woodside Industrial Estate area of Dunstable, near Luton for main contractor Transco. More than 1500m of 250mm diameter and 1000m of 180mm diameter pipe is being installed to upgrade the area's gas pipe.

Atlas Bore Planner software and Digitrack 4 were used to map out and mark each rod length, depth and launch pits, reducing installation time to a minimum.

The pipe is being installed in 100m long sections.

Small, compact, easily transportable and quick to set up, the rig can install up to 80m of 355mm diameter pipe in one go. It has more than 5420Nm of torque and 10.8t of pullback. Everything from the rack, power pack, water pump and the 152m one-piece drill stem is self-contained in a 5.2m long frame.

Amec's Anglian region is now installing 69% of pipes by drilling, insertion and bursting techniques and nearly 40% of pipes larger than 250mm diameter are installed by directional drilling techniques.

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