GSW Goes Small To Conquer Rock

March 2011, Vol. 66 No. 3

“We got involved in the early phase of a telecom installation job just as the previous contractor had progressed into an area of solid rock,” Wilder recalls. “We were one of the first contractors to adopt the hammer attachment for boring through rock, especially for smaller-size drills and used the Vermeer D20x22 Series II model drill with a Pioneer One hammer. We were able to set up a lot smaller, shorter shots and because of the size drill we were running and the size hammer, we could operate with a much smaller setup -- something that can be a key factor in being able to take on a job.”

Wilder had worked in the past with the engineer who developed the Pioneer One hammer attachment and liked what he had done (compared to other systems) with the control unit and the capability of the hammer. “He’s the only one I knew that really understood that it isn’t necessarily the power behind the drill that’s needed to bore through rock but rather how you approach it and the design of the hammer attachment. The design of the Vermeer D20x22 drill allows for good air flow and hammers are just better tools in tackling rock. It’s very difficult to beat a well-designed hammer, especially when you are battling those really hard formations -- those above 10,000 psi. The smaller drill certainly has the power to guide the hammer; plus a smaller drill is more economical to operate.”

The fiber project that Wilder and his crew completed successfully -- not to mention likely salvaged for project owner Infrasource, involved installing a 3½ -inch conduit through some 5,000 feet of solid rock, composed primarily of limestone that in some places exceeded 30,000 psi.

“It was some pretty hard stuff,” Wilder says, “and that is where the hammer systems set themselves apart. Some of the formations were more difficult than others due to collapsing rock, but the instincts and experience of our crew using various methods proved successful. We’d been there before.”