The intricacies of restricted access drilling
A scenario in which a regular, large-scale rig won’t work, is likely to require a restricted access drilling rig. When considering a site with restricted access, it seems perfectly natural to picture an urban setting; but rural settings frequently require a restricted access rig too. If the site is difficult to access, then the utilization of a specialist restricted access rig will be necessary.
John Rodgman, MD of the geotechnical drilling company, Borehole Solutions, has provided us with his expertise regarding the intricacies of restricted access drilling.
Utilizing A Restricted Access Drilling Rig
Any drilling company will find a multitude of benefits in adding small, portable, and versatile restricted access drilling rigs to their fleet. The applications of restricted access drilling rigs include, but are not limited to: sonic drilling, micro-piling, open borehole sampling, cable percussion drilling, the installation of retrofit geo-exchange units, hollow stem auguring, and window sampling.
The Difference Between Restricted and Limited
It’s a common misconception that restricted and limited access drilling are the same thing. Limited access refers to certain limitations that impede a drill operators ability to work with the equipment they have.
Restricted access refers to the difficulty of getting the rig to the drilling site in the first place. If a company offers restricted access drilling rigs, they will be likely to supply equipment for limited access situations too.
When it comes to drilling in an urban setting, this could mean anything from breaking through the ground floor of a building, squeezing into an underground transport tunnel, or even drilling in the middle of traffic.
Depending on the site, you may have no more than a few square metres to work with, which is no place for a large, conventional rig. Restricted access drilling rigs present a certain level of portability, which will allow the drill operator to realistically get the rig to the desired drilling spot. Some jobs may require a rig to be dismantled and reassembled on-site – something many restricted access rigs allow for.
If confronted with a narrow space, a drill operator may consider using a mounted rig – the adjustable capabilities of which allow for seamless movement through tight spaces.
With a great deal of geotechnical drilling taking place outside in the open, it can be easy to forget about the potential restriction of height. But sometimes a particular job will require a drill operator to work in a space with minimal headroom.
This can be due to anything from a low-hanging forest canopy to a standard low ceiling. Whilst a conventional rig has no place in these scenarios, a restricted access drilling rig certainly does.
By utilizing telescopic masts, a restricted access rig will allow for drilling in spaces with only a couple of metres of headroom.
Consider The Environment
Wide open spaces do sometimes require a restricted access drilling rig too. This may seem strange as they won’t present any problems involving tight spaces or minimal headroom, but they do sometimes present environmental problems.
In the effort to avoid damaging rare plant life or the habitats of particular species’, a restricted access rig will often need to be utilized.
Leaving the smallest physical, and carbon, footprint possible is essential in any environmental scenario. Any drilling job will create some level of disturbance; but a portable and modular restricted access rig will keep this to an absolute minimum.
Always Prioritize Safety
With safety as a priority of any geotechnical drilling company, most restricted access rigs are fitted with hydraulic breakout clamps. It is essential to utilize these in especially cramped conditions, as they prevent the need for the drill operator to get too hands-on when operating the rig, ultimately mitigating the risk of personal injury.
Traditionally larger equipment has no place on a restricted access site, which is why modern-day geotechnical drilling companies, like Borehole Solutions, provide restricted access rigs to cater to specific scenarios. With the sheer variety of equipment available, it is considerably tough to find a situation where drilling can’t be done to the best possible standard.