Support for the mining industry in eastern North Carolina means shifting between exploration drilling, dewatering, site investigation, and geotechnical testing, placing a premium on time Trader Construction Company spends to accomplish any one task.
From a Geoprobe® 6620DT direct push rig for core samples mapping pre-strip overburden, Trader purchased a Geoprobe® 8140LS sonic to complete “faster, deeper, better” cores and provide dewatering wells.
Still, demand continued to increase. Juggling between providing cores and installing dewatering wells combined with downtime switching between sonic and rotary mud drilling drove John Switzer, project manager, to seek a second drill rig
“We considered upgrading from the 8140LS to the 8250LS sonic, but we were looking for something strictly mud rotary so we didn’t have to share the rig with other departments,” Switzer said.
Since purchasing their 6620DT, Switzer has appreciated the ease of calling Geoprobe® for their needs — from core catchers to plastic tubes. The Trader Construction Company president was convinced if Geoprobe® had something rotary mud drilling they should go for it, he said.
“We were seeking something truck mounted, light weight, but could still drill fast. We’d always wanted the 20-foot stroke, but most are heavy. With the ground conditions here, we needed something light weight,” Switzer said. “When I was told Geoprobe® had purchased DRILLMAX® it was a no brainer. The DM250 is designed to drill wells, and does it very well.”
Typically they drill 7.25-inch diameter holes, 80-feet deep, through sands and clays six-inches above sea level.
“The faster head rotation speed cut time in half. From the time the bit touches the ground, drill down, and trip rods out takes 12 minutes. It’s doubled production,” Switzer said. “It has hydraulic power to supply the 3 X 2 mud pump so you can flush the hole out without waiting and can use multiple functions at one time. You have to get a rhythm down, but once you do — watch out.”
Mobilization times are also faster thanks to the truck. Working in the mining industry can mean traveling long distances when moving to another area of a mine. With the tracked rig, they would often find themselves waiting on a low boy to transport them.
“Now we just truck over and don’t have to wait to mobilize to a different area of the mine,” Switzer said.
In addition to increasing production, the DM250 has cut costs.
“On the mine, we’re not allowed to pick up anything over 40 pounds by hand,” Switzer said. “The rod box and single rod loader has eliminated support equipment, so it’s less cost per well.”
Since purchasing the rig, they’ve been non-stop busy. However, Switzer finds himself with more energy at the end of the day.
“The extra power makes it easier on us. The drilling platform keeps us out of the mud so our boots aren’t 40-pounds heavier,” Switzer said. “The experience of drilling wells with the DM250 is just more pleasant. I don’t want a drill rig to slow me down. I only want to slow down because I’m tired. When you have the right equipment, you do good work.”
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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