ICUEE 2015 Day 1: Trenchless Technology Recap
September 30, 2015
Day 1 Tuesday at the 2015 ICUEE Show in Louisville, Ky., was greeted with gray skies and heavy rain at times but there was still a ton of activity throughout the day inside and outside of the Kentucky Exposition Center. The skies opened up overnight and the rain continued to come down all day long, putting a damper on some of the outdoor demos and events.
Rain drove attendees inside the Expo Hall, many taking in the presentations at the Demo Stage, sponsored by Benjamin Media.
Follow this link to the Demo Stage schedule.
The day ended at the Benjamin Media booth with a great hospitality event, with many of the publishing company’s customers stopping by for an end-of-the-day beverage and some pretty tasty hors d’oeuvres.
Trenchless Technology made its way to many exhibitor booths on the first day, ignoring the rain drops. Here are some of the highlights.
Ditch Witch President Greets Media
First press event of the 2015 ICUEE Show was at the Ditch With booth, with new president Dennis Wierzbicki addressing and greeting the construction media at the outdoor booth. Wierzbicki, who has a long history (35 years) with the industrial pump market, joined the Perry, Okla., construction equipment manufacturer in February.
Wierzbicki spoke of Ditch Witch’s “We’re in This Together” vision and the company’s passion for its customers, as well as its passion for developing products that will make its customers successful. He said the economy outside the United States has struggled in recent years, affecting the U.S. market but Ditch Witch has fared well during that time.
“We are up double digits year to date,” Wierzbicki said, benefiting from the U.S. home and utilities market.
The oil and gas market is flat right now but Wierzbicki said he expects it to rebound. The telecommunications market has been strong (especially the fiber-to-the-home) as communities’ thirst for more bandwidth and access to all things digital continues to grow, he said.
The trenchless market continues to be strong for Ditch Witch, especially for its smaller rigs, 30,000 lbs and smaller. “It’s unbelievable how the market has exploded,” he said.
Trenchless Technology will have more on the new products Ditch Witch has unveiled at the ICUEE Show on Wednesday.
Vermeer Crowns Ultimate Crew
Four HDD crews drilled for the title of Vermeer’s Ultimate Crew Tuesday before a big audience, with Marshall, Ill.’s B&T Drainage taking the crown. Much whooping, hollering and high-fiving ensued.
B&T Drainage bested three other crews during today’s Ultimate Crew Underground Showdown, a live drilling competition held at Vermeer’s booth. Vermeer congratulates all the finalists who competed in the Underground Showdown: Martin Hildreth Co. Inc., from Rockwell City, Iowa; Precision Underground Inc., from Bismarck, N.D., and Tru Tek Drilling, from Conneaut Lake, Pa.
Trenchless Technology managing editor Sharon Bueno participated as a judge in the competition, helping to pare down the more 60 entries to 16 by reviewing and voting the best entries. Vermeer conducted an online voting contest, allowing the public to choose its semi-finalists and ultimately the final four crews that drilled on Tuesday. The voting period for the finalists clocked in thousands of votes.
A panel of judges scored each team based on time to complete the bore, accuracy, safety procedures and teamwork. The winning time (which include bonus deduction for hitting certain targets) was 4:47.8 for 100-ft bore. The crew’s efforts earned the grand prize — the use of a new Vermeer D24x40 S3 Navigator horizontal directional drill for one year.
B&T Drainage Inc. is a family business that was founded by Allen Boyer in 1981. Today, Allen’s sons, John, Scott and Steve, run the business along with John’s sons, Chase and Colby. There are currently three generations and 10 family members involved. When asked about the “T” in the company’s name, the family says it stands for team. B&T relies heavily on teamwork to perform superior work safely and efficiently.
“We’d like to thank Vermeer for giving us this opportunity. We had so much fun coming to ICUEE and participating in the Underground Showdown,” said John Boyer. “I believe that we won today because we came in with a plan and worked well together as a team. Now, we can’t wait to get home and try out our new drill!”
Later this year, the crew will be featured in Vermeer advertising running in key underground publications. In addition, they will participate in a “Behind the Job” Web series. Each episode will focus on the challenges faced on HDD jobsites, how the crew works together to complete a job, as well as how they are using technology to succeed and stay productive. The Web series will be hosted on NavigatorNation.com and YouTube.
“The Ultimate Crew contest is a true testament to the talented individuals in the underground industry who build the infrastructure that powers our daily activities,” said Jean Kaul, marketing manager – underground, at Vermeer. “We witnessed some of the best crews in North America compete head-to-head today. We are grateful for their hard work, competitive spirit and loyalty to our industry — and our brand.”
LaValley Industries Introduces Exit-side Wrench HDD Attachment
We visited with LaValley Industries president Jason LaValley, who unveiled the TongHand, an exit-side wrench attachment provides horizontal directional drillers with a safer, more efficient way to torque up and break pipe joints, reamers, and subs on large drilling projects. The attachment, which can be used on any maxi drill, is distributed by Vermeer.
The TONGHAND hydraulic attachment’s patented rotation arms, gullwing design and integral TongVise are controlled by a single operator inside the safety and comfort of any 30-ton excavator. An in-cab display allows the operator to monitor and adjust all functions of TONGHAND operation, including the specified torque value. The TONGHAND works with pipe tool joints ranging in size from 6.5 to 10 in.
The rotation arms allow the operator to thread and unthread drill pipe connections with precision. At the same time, the gullwing design makes it easy for the operator to move the arms out of the way to make and break reamers.
The 120,000-ft-lb torque capability on its patented vise, and the precision pipe control design, allow workers to remain safely away from drilling components while breaking joints, loading and unloading drill string components, and positioning drill rod throughout the jobsite.
The safety factor was a major element of the design process, according to LaValley, inventor of the TONGHAND, which incorporates technology from his DECKHAND pipe-handling product.
“My goal in developing this new exit-side wrench was exactly the same as in developing our original pipe-handling product, the DECKHAND,” he said. “I wanted a better and safer way to get the job done. The TONGHAND lets you make, break and move pipe more safely and more efficiently.”
“We designed it to be very versatile,” LaValley said. “It can work as a pipe handler for the precise placement of drill rod on rigs, racks or trucks. In fact, that flexibility, strength and precision have earned it the nickname ‘Rig on a Stick.’”
MTI Equipment Now Sells Radius Tools
We stopped by the MTI Equipment booth to see what new equipment the global distributor used HDD equipment offers its customers. MTI’s Bill Hendricks let us now that the company now sells Radius HDD tooling, such as its reamers. Hendricks says MTI added the tooling products to its product lineup about three months ago. The move makes sense as both MTI and Radius are under the umbrella of The Charles Machine Works Inc.
Melfred Borzall Introduces FastBack System
We ducked inside the indoor exhibit hall to escape the rain drops and found a few cool products being displayed by HDD exhibitors. At the Melfred Borzall booth, company founder and HDD industry pioneer Dick Melsheimer filled us in on the company’s latest drilling accessory: the FastBack System.
The FastBack family of pullback devices allows drillers to pull back product without ever taking off the drill head, meaning they can within minutes of completing the pilot bore, they can be pulling the pipes back. The system is made for shorter bores (about 100 ft or shorter) in tight spaces; bit sizes 3 ½ to 5 in.
The FastBack system gives drillers the flexibility to enlarge the pilot hole when there is no room for a backreamer by bolting on the FastReam blades, creating a hole up to 12 in. in diameter, Melsheimer said.
The FastBack System includes a patent-pending overall assembly, fast ream style housing, Iron Eye pullback device, Eagle Eye pullback device, quick link pullback device, fast ream style housing and quick swivel.
Digital Control Unveils the DigiTrak Falcon Locator
Digital Control Inc. (DCI) is the market leader in locating technology. At ICUEE, the Kent, Wash., manufacturer unveiled its latest locator, unparalleled to its past innovations. The DigiTrak Falcon F2 and F5 has drawn huge crowds to the DCI booth, as customers eagerly seek out what this locator is all about. DCI’s Brian Mattson filled us in on what makes the Falcon such a game-changer.
Active interference is one of the primary obstacles to completing HDD projects. It blocks a locating system from receiving data that enables a crew to navigate the drill head; it can also impair the accuracy of depth measurements. The ability of a locating system to perform well in interference has become a crucial factor in maintaining productivity and completing a job on time.
Mattson explained that the DigiTrak Falcon receivers analyze jobsite interference across hundreds of frequencies –that’s right hundreds – then group the best ones into each of nine bands. The drilling crew will then choose the two best bands.
The DigiTrak Falcon replaces DCI’s F2 and F5 locating systems, which have a much smaller number of frequencies available.
That’s it for Day 1, check back tomorrow for news from Day 2 and be sure to follow @TrenchlessTech on Twitter for periodic updates throughout the day.
And we’re not the only Benjamin Media Inc. publication at ICUEE 2015. Here’s what our sister publications Compact Equipment and Utility Contractor have going on.
Compact Equipment – Kohler Introduces New Digital Platform to Support KDI Engines : With the market continuing to respond strongly to the KDI diesel engine line from KOHLER Engines, the company is launching a new digital platform to further enhance communication with its dealers and assist them to quickly and effectively identify, understand, and solve technical issues.
Utility Contractor – Video: Case 580N Walk Around at ICUEE : Through the mud and the rain at ICUEE, we made sure to stop by Case Construction Equipment to hear about its line of Tier 4 Final backhoe loaders, which includes the new 580N EP – a lower-horsepower version of the company’s popular 580N backhoe.
Compact Equipment – JCB debuts 3CX compact backhoe at #ICUEE : JCB, a leading backhoe loader brand, is launching its innovative 3CX Compact Backhoe Loader, delivering big machine performance for confined jobsites.