New Partnership in Drilling Technology. Minnovare Pty Ltd and Getec partner to distribute and service the Azimuth Aligner in the UK . US and South Africa

Based in the Western Australian capital of Perth, Minnovare Limited has entered into a partnership with Keller Ground Engineering, the world’s largest independent ground engineering contractor, to distribute the revolutionary Azimuth Aligner through their instrumentation and monitoring business, Getec UK.

The partnership aims to capture a greater share of works associated with the pipeline of civil engineering projects coming online in Britain.

Minnovare’s award winning Azimuth Aligner, which uses advanced north-seeking sensor technology, has transformed underground drilling by facilitating  faster and more accurate drill rig alignment in GPS denied environments.

“We believe that Keller Group and Getec’s experience, standing and reputation in civil construction --- represent another significant endorsement of the Azimuth Aligner’s transformative impact, said Minnovare’s Managing Director, Mr. Callum McCracken.”

“Getec’s appointment as the Azimuth Aligner’s distributor in the U.K. comes off the back of the unit’s highly successful deployment on the London Crossrail Project by another contractor, where it was used on an a compensation  grouting program to support a shaft structure. Working from a gallery underground, this was the perfect tool.

“Thousands of holes were set up and drilled to a high precision of accuracy among myriad underground workings and sewer lines, with the Azimuth Aligner ensuring that the program was completed safely, accurately, and inside budgets and timeframes.

 “Drill rig set up time was reduced by between 80 percent and 90 percent, with the resultant significant cost savings.”

The Azimuth Aligner allows a single operator to align a drill rig in five minutes to  extremely accurate tolerances, whether at surface level or in GPS-denied environments.

Initially developed for the resources industry – it is the current holder of the prestigious Australian Mining Technologies Award – the unit has also been acknowledged in civil works, having been a finalist and runner-up in the innovation category of last year’s British Ground Engineering Awards.

Getec’s General Manager, Mr Paul Thurlow, said the Azimuth Aligner was a natural fit for the company’s innovative disposition and practice of utilising leading edge technology to deliver cost-efficiency and safety. We have used it effectively in the UK , US and Europe on some of our more complicated projects.

“We had been monitoring performance of the Azimuth Aligner for some time,” he said.

“Industry feedback – validated by the Ground Engineering Awards recognition – confirmed the benefits and the technological advance that the unit delivers, and we believe it will be a valuable addition to the range of products and services we offer clients.

“The Azimuth Aligner definitely delivers superior performance in ground support and other tunnelling applications – quite simply, it has made traditional time-consuming and costly drill rig alignment obsolete.”

In just three years since it was developed, the Azimuth Aligner has been put to work on mining projects in some of the world’s harshest environments – from the searing Australian outback to the icy wastes of northern Canada – and Minnovare reports a growing client base, particularly as companies reduce costs in the commodities downturn.

The device’s crossover into civil construction, where even greater accuracy is required in drilling works, proved to be the catalyst for improvement. The latest model of the Azimuth Aligner is wireless, smaller in size and lighter in weight. It streams ‘live’ data to the rig operator’s portable display unit, allowing highly accurate rig alignment in a matter of minutes. That data can also be stored and then exported to link with drill plods, planning software or emailed to clients for audit and quality control.

“The unit’s first foray into civil was outstanding. In fact, the efficiency and productivity gains on the billion dollar Port of Miami Tunnelling Project were so good that Nicholson Construction mandated its use on all the company’s future mobile drill rig set ups,” said Mr. McCracken.

 “It has been equally as good on the London Crossrail Project, too. Apart from savings though the reduction in labour and associated costs, the reduced downtime hours relating to set up enabled the contractor to drill hundreds of extra metres per rig per year.“Because of the significant number of civil works coming on, the U.K. is a strategic market for us and our partnership with Keller  Getec, with their commercial knowledge and credibility, will accelerate uptake of the Azimuth Aligner within it.”