Auger Torque works with Saif Bin Darwish for modular solution in Khalifa Port expansion project

Attachment specialist makes micro piling jobs possible in a cost-effective manner for contractor with its earth drills and augers

Auger Torque has supplied earth drills and augers for a piling project in the expansion of Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port, where the global attachment major is working with regional contractor Saif Bin Darwish.

A statement from Auger Torque said the company equipped the contractor’s Sany 335 excavators with its 50000 max Earth Drill, while a 1190 mm special Auger was also used in the works.

The $1bn expansion project at Abu Dhabi Ports’ flagship Khalifa Port began in 2019 and is expected to increase handling volumes by providing deep-water access and enhanced infrastructure. Part of the project entailed the drilling of 120 foundation pits, with holes of 1.2m diameter and a depth of 5m.

“This is often seen as a simple application; however, the drill points were in close proximity to the seashore, resulting in a job site with a very high-water table. Therefore, the water ingress during the drilling process coupled with collapsible ground conditions made it difficult to deploy a standard drilling system,” described Auger Torque in its statement.

Saif Bin Darwish were aware that undertaking the project “in house” would require investment in a dedicated drilling rig which could result in substantial capex expenditure, equipment rental cost and a risk of limited internal know how in executing this application. They therefore approached Auger Torque, who recommended a modular solution, where a hydraulic drill could be fitted onto the excavator to drill the holes, mounted or dismounted with minimal time loss.

Auger Torque proposed its 50000 Max Earth Drill to be fitted on the Sany 335 excavator, wherein the torque generated by the drive would be enable drilling the 1.2m Ø to the depth of 5m. It was critical to ensure that not only did the system worked but also the drive unit was able to drive the casing in, drill the holes and be robust enough to carry the weight of the auger and the spoil-debris.

Auger Torque’s engineering department conducted a Finite Element Analysis to ensure the shaft of the drive unit would be able to take the tensile load of the casing and auger with the spoil at 5m depth. To overcome any issues of the hole collapsing during the drilling process, a 1200mm diameter casing was supplied with a 1190mm special Auger. Test information was submitted and a JSA (job safety advise) and method statement were completed and submitted, resulting in the system being approved to meet all criteria.

The 1200mm casing with auger was positioned at the drill point and was driven into the ground. Once set in the ground, the casing top adaptor plate was unlocked, and the auger was inserted in and the isolated soil inside the hole was drilled out.

The casing prevented the walls of the hole collapsing and ensured the bottom of the drilled hole was clean and flat. A SANY 225 excavator was fitted with a 25,000nm drive unit with an extension tube and a cleaning bucket to remove the residual from the hole.

Raghunath Bhaskaran, head of operations at Saif Bin Darwish, said: “One of the major benefits for us was the cost efficiencies: mobilisation cost was minimal, and the capex investment was a fraction of what we thought we’d have to invest.

“We can now use the drilling attachments for further projects. We are currently using the equipment for drilling footings for streetlighting and potentially some micro piling applications. Auger Torque were able to turn our project from a challenging predicament to a manageable solution.”

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