When completing trenchless work in regional areas, having reliable equipment and quick access to maintenance and repairs support makes a big difference to being able to complete a job on time. These were the key factors considered by QDP Trenchless when they selected Vermeer horizontal directional drills to expand their fleet.
Located in Townsville QDP Trenchless is a family-owned business that has provided horizontal directional drilling services in North Queensland since 2002, starting out with telecommunications work for Telstra. Since then, the company has continued to grow and to take on larger and more diversified drilling and pipeline contracts.
With an established fleet and growing client demands, QDP Trenchless made the decision to procure new equipment, and last year purchased Vermeer’s D23X30 S3 and D20X22 S3 horizontal directional drills.
Director of QDP Trenchless, Justin Miles, said, “The main reason we purchased the D20X22 S3 is because of the work we’ve been doing for the Townsville City Council for almost 15 years. We work directly ahead of five council crews, doing all of their driveways, road crossings and smaller distribution 53mm runs.
“In the past we had a machine that was dedicated to their work, and as their demands grew and our machines got older, we found that moving forward we had to have a new machine which was going to be reliable.”
Reliability is key
Mr Miles said that a key consideration when procuring the new machines was that they were high quality and reliable to keep clients happy and ensure the council crews weren’t held up if something went wrong.
“We chose Vermeer because they have invested very heavily in North Queensland, particularly with the branch that they set up here. They’ve got a very large depot manned with a local manager, dedicated parts personnel and an excellent maintenance crew team,” Mr Miles said.
“From our point of view, it’s all about having a machine on the ground that we can rely on to be able to perform day in, day out, and meet the heavy demands of our customers. So we had to have a machine that we could rely on even as it got older, so that we could keep service up.”
Putting the drills to work in hard terrain
Since being purchased the drills have been used on a number of projects—including on the new Townsville Stadium to pull some rods through for a large drill and at Mount Isa doing work for the council—and Mr Miles said they had been performing well.
“The new Vermeer machine is basically doing the work of one and a half of the other machines that we had before,” Mr Miles said.
The 20X23 S3 is currently working on a project at Mount Isa working for BMD which involves upgrading nine intersections and all of the traffic signal under-bores and the street lighting under-bores.
“The ground at Mount Isa is very hard. We’ve hit everything from very hard shaley material up to solid rock. The machine’s performed amazingly well out there in some really challenging ground conditions. We’ve been really thrilled with the way it’s performed.”
Due to the difficult terrain, there was an instance where we required a Vermeer technician’s help, so having access to a local depot means downtime is minimised. An advantage which is critical for projects with tight budgets and deadlines, or when dealing with an important client.
“I think the reason that we’ve invested in Vermeer is because they have invested in this area. That’s what’s made it a no-brainer for us,” Mr Miles said.
“These machines are running flat out pretty much every day, and every time they stop, it’s an emergency… It’s who we can get on the line, who we can count on to get these machines running again. Downtime is everything.
“The support that we get from the local Vermeer branch is second to none. We can take on jobs way out west, 10 hours west of Townsville, with confidence that if something does go wrong they’re there to support us.”
An efficient future
As QDP Trenchless continues to expand and take on different projects, Mr Miles said the company would consider purchasing from Vermeer again.
“Without a doubt I’d buy more machines from Vermeer, because they’ve just made us more efficient,” Mr Miles said.
“What we’re finding with our business now is it’s not about buying more machines, but about making sure we become really efficient with the machines that we’ve got, and Vermeer’s backup service is second to none.”