With paths weaving through Georgia's tall timber, Thiele Kaolin Company sought a smaller, lighter weight rig to core mine tailings.
“We stay in the woods with our lanes between pine trees, and it can be real wet — easy to get stuck,” Chris Foster, drill operations foreman, said. “We wanted something smaller scale so it was easy to move around in the woods, but still had the power to perform.”
They found what they were seeking when they replaced their 2011 DM350 with a new DM250.
“It compares to the DM350 with just as much power,” Foster said. “It’s easier to maneuver in the woods and lighter so isn’t as prone to getting stuck. And with no CDL, anyone can work with us.”
The power of the DM250 has meant they can use wireline technique to core the mine tailings in effort to identify the clay quality, indicating where to open the next kaolin mine.
According to Foster, coring the overburden doesn’t require them to go as deep as a water well driller. Their typical hole is 200 foot, drilling through overburden to 100 feet before hitting kaolin. However, they do have to go in and out of the hole more times than the typical water well driller.
By using the wireline technique with a bigger diameter rod, they save time tripping in and out of the hole repeatedly by leaving the rods in the hole and dropping the sampling barrel down. Sitting on a hole for three to four hours, Foster appreciates the rig’s power to handle the 4.5-inch rods.
“The power of the DM250 to complete wireline has increased productivity,” Foster said. “We can do an extra hole, hole and a half a week using the wireline system. It’s really increased productivity where the overburden hole is deep. We went from 2 holes to up to 3 ½ holes per day.”
In addition to the power, Foster appreciates the rollers lifting the head up and down compared to the old-style slides.
“Keep them greased, they last longer and adjust easier,” he said.
The DM250 makes their fourth DRILLMAX® rig, so they’ve come to rely on their solid service support and powerful performance.
“The rig is steady, constantly running. And if we have a problem, they’re always available over the phone and get us parts the best they can to keep us moving,” Foster said. “It’s been a great rig. Hope it lasts 10 more years.”
Whether a veteran driller or just starting out, a factory visit provides valuable insight when making the investment required to purchase a new rig. Taking time to see firsthand how the rig you’re considering is engineered and manufactured and meeting the
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