Remotely Controlled SBU set to revolutionize the Industry
Aug 05, 2015
Speedy Robbins Small Boring Unit finishes Crossing Two Weeks Early
Fortunately, there was a solution available to help them. The contractor turned to The Robbins Company, a business that they had worked with many times over the years for their Small Boring Units (SBUs). Stadeli first contacted Robbins 10 years ago to rent a 30-inch standard Small Boring Unit (SBU-A), and has since rented dozens more. The company currently owns two SBU-As, but their Bend, Oregon job required precision guidance systems that their SBU-As lacked. “We met with Robbins in Ohio and told them what our needs were. They felt like their 36-inch (900 mm) prototype machine, which they had tested at one other job in Oman, would be a good fit. They listened to what we were wanting and needing to have done,” said Stadeli.
The SBU-RC is currently manufactured in the 36-inch (900 mm) diameter range, but could be designed as small as 30 inches (750 mm). The machine operates much like a Motorized SBU (SBU-M) with a circular cutterhead and cutting tools that can excavate hard rock or mixed ground conditions. An in-shield drive motor provides torque to the cutterhead, while a pipe jacking system or Auger Boring Machine (ABM) provides thrust.
While microtunneling machines have been used on jobs such as these, Clever cites key advantages for the SBU-RC: “There is no slurry to mix or contend with. With MTBMs the slurry must be cleaned, pumped, and treated. With the SBU-RC there is a clean and dry pit, with no spoils to remove. The way the SBU-RC operates is much more cost effective. The SBU-RC is also available for lease; MTBMs are often not cost effective to lease for contractors trying to stay competitive.”
The SBU-RC was delivered on April 14, 2015, and was lowered into a launch pit 26 ft (8 m) deep. There were several early tweaks to the setup including a larger vacuum truck that improved suction, and some modifications to the cutterhead including grill bars. These modifications were expected and will be incorporated into later versions of the machine.
The early completion by the SBU-RC delighted the City of Bend and all those involved. “I think the SBU-RC is an exciting piece of equipment that has been compressed into a 36-inch size. To make it all work it is very compact. It’s impressive that the components have been sized down and it still works so efficiently,” said Stadeli.
With the clear success in Oregon, Robbins is looking to lease the machine on more projects and expand their offerings. As Clever put it: “Finally our industry has provided a small diameter, on-line-and-grade machine that will drill in solid rock at distance. This is a game changer, it will be the most innovative piece of equipment in our industry for a long time.”
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