Tonagh Civil specialise in horizontal directional drilling for small utility installation across the greater Sydney region. The Camden-based company was established around three years ago by Managing Director Fergal Smith, after over 10 years of working in the industry both here and abroad. The recent addition of a Mincon HDD air hammer to their existing HDD setup has enabled them to take on more telecommunications infrastructure installation jobs in Sydney’s renowned sandstone.
AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO ROCK DRILLING
The benefits of being able to use a smaller drill for shots in hard sandstone rock, including its smaller footprint, ease of transport, lower running costs, and lower fluid use, have opened up a greater variety of work for Tonagh Civil in the Sydney region.
“The Mincon air hammer enables us to drill in rock with a standard HDD drill rig, giving us great rock drilling capability with the benefits that come with being able to utilise our existing drill fleet.” Mr Smith said.
“We already owned a 20,000lb drill rig and the Mincon air hammer was a far more economical solution than purchasing another dedicated dual rod or specialist hard rock drill, as well as potentially needing to upgrade our truck fleet. The air hammer also uses a lot less drilling fluid, which in the long run saves us a lot of money and time spent on disposal of drilling mud”.
“Another reason we went with the Mincon 4” air hammer from Vermeer was because it is compatible with our existing F5 falcon HDD locating system” Mr Smith said.
Rather than having a dedicated rock drill rig sitting idle when there’s no shots in rock required, the Tonagh Civil team are able to maintain solid utilisation of their HDD rig in all ground conditions. “At this stage we find it most effective to hire an air compressor to support the air hammer on an as-needs basis; when there’s no rock work to be done we’ve got relatively little capital tied up in unutilised assets”.
Tonagh Civil’s current project work focuses heavily on telecommunications infrastructure installation. The contract requirements for this work are typically stringent, taking into consideration not only contractor’s capabilities to perform the work effectively, but also the environmental footprint of their methods. “The reduction in drilling fluid use with the Mincom air hammer has been looked upon quite favourably by the project delivery partner” said Mr Smith.
“We recently undertook a 100 metre plus shot in Sydney sandstone with the Mincom air hammer unit and it performed very well. It was a 104m shot under a sewer infrastructure that also included a creek crossing, installing 110mm conduit in varying hard rock conditions.” Mr Smith said. “The Mincom air hammer made good progress and emerged within a couple of inches of the target exit point.”
SUPPORT WHEN IT MATTERS MOST
The Mincon range of HDD Air Hammers is sold and supported by in Australia by Vermeer, so when completing their first shot using the Mincon air hammer, Tonagh Civil had product specialists from both Vermeer and the Mincon HDD Division on site.
“Tim and the team from Vermeer have been great to deal with throughout the entire experience, very supportive” said Mr Smith.