When completing HDD projects in urban areas, having equipment that gets the job done quickly, is easy to use, and reduces disturbance to the community are some of the key considerations identified by contractors. After listening to feedback, Vermeer has developed the third generation of directional drills addressing these three factors.

The development of the S3 Navigator® HDD product line, which ranges from 20,000 up to 220,000 pound class rigs, came about after extensive consultation with end users who identified three key considerations for drilling on modern job sites: speed, simplicity and sound.

Jeff Lawson, National Construction Sales Manager at Vermeer, said, “Vermeer Corporation invested a lot of time with our customers to understand the things that really mattered to operators and owners. They distilled the feedback received into the three elements that define the Vermeer S3 drill range: speed, simplicity and sound.”

Getting the job done quickly

HDD contractors are increasingly facing tighter project deadlines and margins, so having equipment that can complete jobs quickly while maintaining a high quality of work, plays a key role in helping contractors secure contracts.

Mr Lawson said the Vermeer S3 drill range was designed with this in mind.

“The new S3 drills feature increased tracking, spindle and carriage speed, meaning contractors can get to the job quicker and get more product in the ground sooner, reducing project time and costs, as well as reducing disturbance to the community.

“For example, the D24x40 S3 features a class-leading carriage speed of 73.1 m/min — over 20 per cent faster than its closest competitor — and a 270 rpm rotational speed that is around 18 per cent faster than drills in the same pound class.”

Keeping controls simple

One of the problems identified by contractors was having different controls on different equipment reducing efficiency and increasing the amount of training needed for new operators.

Mr Lawson said to address this Vermeer has standardised the controls on the S3 drill range to reduce the learning curve for new operators.

“A dual joystick control system, previously utilised on Vermeer’s larger Navigator Series II drills, is now common across the S3 drill range, enabling a better user experience and less time spent getting operators up to speed.”

All drill functions can also be performed without the operator taking their hands off the joysticks, even rod loading on models equipped with automatic rod loaders, with communication of key information simplified by common display interfaces across the range.

Lowering the sound levels

Noise levels can be a problem on construction sites, as it can disturb residents, increase stress and fatigue for operators, and limit working hours.

Mr Lawson said that while noise from drills will never be fully diminished, the noise levels of the new S3 drills have been significantly decreased.

“Operators rely on the sound of the drill to assess its performance and make adjustments if required, so it’s important that there is still some noise to ensure operator performance isn’t impaired.

“However, project owners are also demanding quieter equipment on job sites to reduce the impact of drill operations in neighbourhoods and other noise sensitive job sites.

“Taking these into account, we have significantly reduced the sound levels of the S3 drill range while not compromising on operator performance.

“For example, the sound levels of the D23x30 S3 have been reduced by over 25 per cent compared to its predecessor the D20x22 Series II.

“Every 10 decibels you drop equates to the volume being halved, so we’re talking a significant reduction in noise. This has a number of benefits, including easier job site communications, less disturbance to others, reduced complaints from communities, longer operating hours may be possible in some instances, and stress and fatigue is reduced in operators.”

Other key features

In addition to these three key advantages, the S3 drill range marks the widespread adoption of several significant technical features that make a positive impact on operators and business owners.

These features include:

  • DigiTrak® AuroraTM interactive touch-screen displays
  • CAN-BUS electrical network for simplified wiring, and reduced vulnerability to wear and damage
  • Optional radio remote control for tracking and setup of the drill from convenient locations
  • High performance on a small footprint
  • Positive rack gear loading for optimum engagement of the rack and pinion teeth for reduced gear and rack wear

This partner content is brought to you by Vermeer. For more information, visit

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