Drilling into the SA Market

Drilling into the SA Market

A R10-million order for three horizontal directional drills has been secured by Osborn, reflecting the success that this new addition to the company's product line-up is achieving.

As a member of the US-based Astec Industries Group, Osborn is the official OEM supplier in Southern Africa of horizontal directional drills (HDDs) manufactured by sister companies Astec Loudon and American Augers.

Product sales manager Peet Venter notes that since then, the new equipment has received a rousing reception from the South African market, with three horizontal directional drills sold to a prominent directional drilling company that specializes in laying fibre optic cables.

“Two American Augers DD-10 units and one Astec Loudon DD-4045 have been ordered,” he states. Outlining the benefits of these machines, Venter says that the mid-sized DD-10 is a self-contained unit that excels in hard-to-reach jobsites and boasts the most rotary torque in its class (18,982 Nm).

“It has 45 tonnes of maximum thrust/pullback power, and its features include a pinion drive with adjustable force limiter and drill mounted state-of-the-art pipe loading baskets. Its on board mud pump has a capacity of 757l per minute. The DD-10 also offers a state-of-the-art operator’s cabin. It is climate controlled and features a microprocessor control system, mud pressure gauge, digital mud flow meter and rotary tachometer, pressure control for rotary/thrust, variable rotary speed, as well as an ergonomic joystick. The quick disconnect anchor plate on this model allows for multiple drilling angles while the Quiet Pak® system is the latest in noise reduction.

“The DD-4045 is a new design that boasts impressive features, including a maximum thrust/pullback of 18.14 tonnes, a rotary torque of 6 101Nm, cruise control, LCD multi-function operating screen and the ability to carry 158.5m of drill pipe. The DD-4045 is powered by an 148-horsepower Cummins turbocharged diesel engine.

Like other drills from Astec, it boasts the field-proven quad rack-and-pinion carriage drive that has made these directional drills market leaders.” Venter notes that Astec company American Augers was the first HDD manufacturer to eliminate chain and utilise a rack and pinion carriage design, which is now the industry standard. “The rack and pinion drive provides smoother carriage movement, more precise operating control, long system life and no complicated parts,” he stresses.

This new customer will be employing its new HDDs on the Johannesburg to Durban N3 and Johannesburg to Cape Town N1 routes, for hard rock drilling for the installation of fibre optic cables, Venter says, adding that the models ordered are perfectly suited for hard rock applications, and are capable of drilling bigger, longer holes than some of the other units in the ranges.

He says that Osborn's after sales support, including its field service, were critical factors in the firm securing this order.

“Combined, of course, with the customer recognising the outstanding built quality of these drills,” he adds. Like all of the top quality machines in Osborn’s equipment offering, these horizontal directional drills are supported by the company’s comprehensive, national after sales network, which offers 24/7 service, back-up and spares.

"We have engineers dedicated to these machines, and we offer operator training. We also hold spares, to minimise downtime and ensure that our customer can be back in business as quickly as possible. In addition, Osborn engineers are able to undertake on-site repairs," Venter stresses.

In their quest for top quality performance, American Augers, Toro Trencor and Astec Loudon have also maintained a focus on the environment, and these drills boast several features that are in keeping with the manufacturers' commitment to minimising their impact on the environment. Venter explains that this has been achieved by reducing noise and emissions outputs, and he highlights the fact that this trenchless technology equipment requires little or no open cutting, which has very minimal impacts on natural surfaces, features and habitats.