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Contractor Gets Connected With Vermeer Navigators

Sun August 20, 2000 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The country is getting connected with the help of Leon E. Wintermyer Inc., Etters, PA.

A site development contractor, the company recently created a new underground directional boring division.

One of Wintermyer’s first contracts for its new directional boring division was for KMC Telecommunications of Rockville, MD. Crews worked on 32 mi. of underground boring from Fredrick to Rockville that would tie in a telecommunications network for a community of modern office buildings and industrial parks. The company drilled an average of 500 ft. (151 m) a day in some of the toughest ground in the state.

Matching the equipment to the job, Wintermyer chose the Vermeer Navigator line. The crew’s aggressive approach to the project required three Vermeer Navigators – a D16x20A and two D24x40As equipped with 4-in. (10 cm) TriHawk drill heads.

The Vermeer D16x20A Navigator – the first unit purchased -- is the smallest of the three. The D16x20A is equipped with 400 ft. (121 m) of Firestick drill rod and an automated rod loader.

The machine is powered by a Perkins 63-hp (47 kW) engine and provides 16,000 ft./lb. of pullback. An on-board pressure washer and 55-gal. water tank facilitates cleanup. Mud mixing gel is mixed in a truck-mounted ST 300 300-gal. dual-tank system.

The two larger D24x40As provide increased rod length and torque. The additional torque is more efficient when drilling rock. A Cummins 125-hp (93 kW) engine delivers 4,000 ft./lb. of torque and 23,800 lbs. (10,710 m) of pullback. An automated rod loader and 500 ft. (151 m) of Firestick drill rod is standard on the D24x40A. The mixing system features an upgraded DT750 dual-tank 750-gallon system.

Putting the Equipment

to the Test

The development of superhighways, interchanges and commercial districts created an underground infrastructure of utilities and other nuisances for the crew. One included a six-lane highway where the crew had to maneuver around 28 utility easements. Crews were able to identify everything under the highway with confidence and complete the job in one shot. This is where the crew had to rely on experience and equipment. The Navigators have controls that allow the operator to view gauges and give them a better idea of what’s happening underground. They are also equipped with an alarm system that is tied into the drill head. For example, if the head strikes an electrical line, an alarm will go off and allow the operator to take corrective action. If it does, the unit is grounded to divert any electrical current to reduce the risk of shock.

The six-lane highway was a test in flexibility. One of the more interesting shots was under a railroad, where more rock and serious drilling was encountered. Other obstacles included drilling under a creek, sidewalks, driveways and well-manicured lawns. Wintermyer realized a savings in restoration, man-hours and support equipment. With the older models a backhoe was required to create an entrance hole for the drill head. The new Navigators will bore right into the ground and even through the frost line.

Crews bored and pulled back three 1.5-in. (4 cm), diameter conduit at a depth that ran from 42 to 48 in. (107 to 122 cm). The contract called for Wintermyer to install conduit, manholes and do the splices. When finished, a crew will come in and install the fiberoptics in the conduit.

Equipment on the Job

Wintermyer purchased the equipment from Vermeer North Atlantic Sales & Service, Highspire, PA, branch.

With each Navigator purchased training was provided by a Vermeer factory-certified directional boring specialist. In fact, Vermeer North Atlantic sent out a trained specialist to work with the crew each time a new machine was put into operation. Crews attended a one-day directional boring seminar, which covers fluid systems, use and operation of locating systems, and efficient and economical ways to plan a bore.

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