The British Drilling Association Technical Innovation Award is for proven recent technical product innovation in the industry that has significantly increased performance, durability, safety and competitiveness.
The Soilmec SM-5 Drilling Rig was nominated for this award due to the success on the Crossrail Project in-tunnel work completed by WJ Groundwater Ltd.
The brief was to design a compact rig with a high degree of articulation to drill at any angle or alignment, but with sufficient power to drill up to 200mm diameter and up to 40m depth, while fulfilling the demands of the restricted access and working area.
Key to the rig design was the double slew ring mast articulation. One slew ring on the base of the machine gave the rig the ability to work +/- 90 degrees to allow drilling over the side of the tracks. The second slew ring on the back of the mast gave +/- 180 degrees for radial drilling around the tunnel. The telescopic boom of 600mm added increased mast movement.
A special short mast was supplied with just 1.4m stroke for 1m rods or augers sections. Designed to the available tunnel dimensions with a hydraulic jack at the top of the mast to secure the mast to the tunnel sides.
The clamp and breaker was fitted with a hydraulic casing extractor for 11 tonne extraction force to aid the removal of the casing.
Tracking, mast movements and drilling operations were by full radio remote control allowing the operator excellent vision, ease of position and movement in the confined area.
The interlocked safety guard and slow rotation system opened by a hydraulic sliding guard, enabling operation at any angle the mast articulation was positioned in.
The SM-5 successfully installed in excess of 770 well points and 490 probe holes within the confined space of the tunnels. This compact, powerful and technically advanced rig was an innovative custom design to allow the work to be completed effectively, in safe conditions and with high production.