For family-owned company Shoota Drilling and Civil, safety and versatility are among the key features it looks for when procuring equipment to expand its fleet. Having tried different boring equipment and brands over his career, Steve Schut, Director at Shoota Drilling and Civil, has found that McLaughlin Auger Borers, a subsidiary of Vermeer, are among the best available, offering a solution that allows the company to complete a variety of projects on line and on grade.

Shoota Drilling and Civil offers a range of services, including case boring, concrete pipe jacking, shaft sinking, and drilling under rail, roads and creeks. It has the ability to drill at diameters ranging from 300-1,800mm.

With access to a range of steering and rock heads for its fleet of McLaughlin Auger Borers, Shoota Drilling and Civil completes projects with a high degree of accuracy.
McLaughlin was purchased by Vermeer in 2017 and this acquisition builds on the Vermeer strategy to provide a comprehensive suite of vacuum excavation technology, equipment, training and support to the growing underground utility and soft dig markets.

One of the projects Shoota Drilling and Civil has recently completed using a McLaughlin Auger Borer involved installing pipes for orchards under the Sturt Highway near Griffith in New South Wales.

“The project involved installing two 1,450mm diameter steel casings side by side using the 54/60 McLaughlin auger boring machine,” Mr Schut said.

“These bores were completed to a length of 54m using the manual steering system to achieve an on line, on grade installation.”

Versatile and safe

Mr Schut said that the company has four McLaughlin Auger Borers in its fleet, ranging from 300-1,800mm in diameter.

“We have achieved lengths of up to 120m in a 1200mm diameter using our McLaughlin Auger Borers,” Mr Schut said.

“We chose to use McLaughlin Auger Borers because they come with a range of features that place them amongst the safest machines on the market, which is really important to us.

“They come with an electric hydraulic clutch that allows the operator to instantly release the trigger and make the machine stop if an unexpected obstacle in the bore path is hit.

“This isn’t a feature available in other machines I’ve used. Traditionally, these machines come with a dry clutch, so the reaction time of the machine is slower.
“I’ve also found other machines don’t have as many safety features built in to them that McLaughlin does.”

Mr Schut said the company also chose to invest in Vermeer-owned McLaughlin products because of their versatility, offering a variety of drilling options with hydraulic steering systems and hydraulic steerable rock heads available.

The Steerable Rock System (SRS) is the first steerable head designed for the auger boring market that allows operators to navigate solid rock, as well as difficult fractured rock conditions. It is designed to operate in rock up to 25,000 psi, while keeping bores on line and on grade.

There is also the option for the On-Target Steering System (OTS) which is designed to work with any auger boring system ranging from 16-60 inches in diameter. It features a 50 gallon water tank and 6,500 psi hydraulic pump to provide easy maintenance of all hydraulic, water and electrical lines.

“I’ve used a lot of different types of machines over the years for case boring and I’ve found that McLaughlin make the most versatile machines that are on the market with outstanding safety features,” Mr Schut said.

“That’s why when we decided to go into business, we would be purchasing nothing but McLaughlin auger boring machines.”

Expanding the fleet

Mr Schut said the company expands its capabilities and fleet as required, using both external contacts at McLaughlin – as well as parent company Vermeer – and in-house engineering to get the equipment needed.

“If we want to take on a job that we haven’t got the equipment for, we give Vermeer a ring and we get in touch with McLaughlin to find out what equipment they’ve got to offer us to complete the project,” Mr Schut said.

“We also do a vast array of engineering in our own engineering workshop to build equipment as well if there’s something we need.”

Mr Schut said being able to call upon the expertise of Vermeer and McLaughlin about equipment and to access spare parts have been among the factors contributing to the success of Shoota Drilling and Civil.

“The availability of spare parts has been one of the contributing factors to our success because it means there is minimal downtime, and we can get the machine back up and running quickly,” Mr Schut said.

“Their knowledge is also extremely valuable and they are always happy to help us with any questions we might have like those about running fluids and mud mixes. By having access to this kind of information we are able to achieve a successful outcome on a project.”

McLaughlin auger borers are available from Vermeer. To invest in equipment that gets the job done contact 1300 VERMEER or visit vermeer.com.au.

Siobhan Day is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and Pump Industry magazine, and has been part of the team since early 2019. With a background in management in the non-profit sector, Siobhan has extensive experience in communications, professional writing and client management. She holds a Bachelor of Business and Communications and is currently completing a postgraduate degree.

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