About 60 directional drilling professionals from across Wisconsin and Upper Michigan attended the HDD seminar put on by Vermeer-Wisconsin just west of Milwaukee at the Country Springs Inn in Pewaukee, Wis., on February 22.
The 60 attendees represented a cross section of the industry including owners, operators, and owner-operators who wanted to learn the latest information about directional drilling techniques and the new products available through Vermeer-Wisconsin.
The seminar's expert presenters included Vermeer-Wisconsin professionals, as well as Vermeer's factory service manager, and representatives from Digitrak electronic locating systems, Earth Tool drill-head and pipe-bursting equipment, and M-I Swaco drilling fluids.
Topics included HDD basics, equipment maintenance, mud mixing, electronic locating systems, safety, using hammerhead assist on stuck pipes, and the latest technology in drilling fluids.
Attendees also had the opportunity to ask the experts questions about how to solve their own specific needs or challenges.
On display were three of the newer units offered by Vermeer-Wisconsin: the Vermeer Navigator D36x50 Series II horizontal directional drill, the Yanmar VIO45-5 mini excavator, and the Vac-Tron FMD 350 vacuum excavator with Flowmaster system.
The Navigator D36x50 Series II is the newest upgrade of this HDD. Its new features include the RATT system, which improves drilling performance in harder ground; auto-drill, which simplifies operations by automatically moving the drill forward and back at pre-selected pressure settings; a one-piece hood for easier service access; automated rod-row selector; and an optional enclosed operator's cab with climate control and CD player.
The Yanmar excavator is part of a line of products that Vermeer-Wisconsin recently added to its offerings. The VIO45-5 displayed at the seminar is a 10,000-pound-class unit.
The upgraded Vac-Tron vacuum excavator can effectively clear out access to buried utility valves or can be used to create monitoring holes for HDD applications. Operated from ground level, the optional Flowmaster system can power-open and close underground valves, eliminating the need for an operator to manually open and close valves.
Vermeer Sales Manager Mark Syverson said, "We appreciate these professionals traveling up to hundreds of miles to attend this seminar, on what turned out to be the best working-weather day in a week. The fact that they are willing to do that says a lot about how much they value the information we have to offer."