Digging Deeper - July 2021 - Akkerman

Digging Deeper – July 2021

Akkerman Inc.

Digging Deeper – July 2021

Teamwork at its best

A customer was on a guided auger boring pipeline project in Pontiac, Illinois and encountered several dilemmas during their pilot tube installation. They attempted installation at four different points of entry in the launch shaft. The subcontractor was getting some pressure from the general contractor and project owner. On the fifth attempt at 150-ft., the operator could not advance the pilot tubes any further and they were near maxing out the 5,000 psi rotational pressure capabilities of the jacking frame. The subcontractor called Paul in Aftermarket Support to request a field technician to be dispatched to their project.

Paul Farrell was the assigned field technician and left on a Thursday to be ready to assist the crew on Friday. After some safety training, Paul began to assess the situation.

It turned out that even though they were using a bentonite lubricant, their 2325D lubrication pump was not producing the 2,500 psi that it is capable of. It was determined that the bentonite mixture was in the wrong tank, plus it was a older unit and in tough shape; beyond the scope of a quick on-site repair. Paul called Akkerman headquarters was able to enlist help from Troy, Joe, Rey and Sharon to prepare and quickly ship a new 2325B/D pump to the project for Saturday delivery.

On Saturday the new 2325B/D was set up, and the mud mixture was switched to a polymer that is more conducive to the clays encountered on this project. They also rotated some damaged pilot tubes to use at the tail end of the bore so they had full target view at the critical point of the alignment. With these adjustments they were able to advance the pilot tube string with full view of the target an much lower rotational pressures. The crew finished the pilot tube installation on Sunday morning and Paul traveled home.

This scenario perfectly illustrates teamwork at its best. Many thanks go out to all who were involved in getting this customer back up and running smoothly!

Leveled Up Support

We recently developed a new device for microtunneling project remote support access and data log collection. It allows us to connect to the MTBM equipment over the cellular data network.

We’ve provided remote support to our customers for some time now, however, the new tools help us provide a more streamlined approach to support. In addition, our field technicians can now provide remote operational support to MTBM operators without having to fly to the project site. The active control screens on any of the equipped machines in North America are visible from any device.

We currently have several concurrent projects that have dashboard data displays. To date we have 10 customers using MTBM Cloud Data. We currently have four projects that have dashboard data displays, and a few weeks ago there were six. In the not too recent past, we supported one or two customers at a time. It’s even possible for us to be able to offer access to operational data to interested parties, like project inspectors, owners, and other stakeholders.

How it works is live data is brought in and displayed along with historical data. The viewer selects the date and time to view graphs. They can select a date range for historical data, or recent data from the last hour for active jobs. Arrow buttons on either side of the time selector allows them to move forwards or backwards in time. It also features a zoom out button if the user wants have a broader range of time visible.

Once the data has been synced, the user can select an area to zoom in on right from the graph by clicking and dragging.

We recently supported a customer who was having operational issues because of a change in ground conditions. We were able to login to the project and determine that over mining was occurring, right down to the exact interval that it happened. Our team was able to talk the operator through the issue, while both were actively looking at the control screen to make steering correction recommendations.

MTBM Cloud Data demonstrates how microtunneling technology is changing the market, and this new tool helps us effectively support our customers for project success.

Did You Know?

Have you ever checked out Akkerman’s YouTube channel? There are many great resources and can play a pivotal role in assisting customers with their equipment. Our customers and their operators have found the GBM How-To Series useful. They can view the videos in advance of the arrival of our field technicians, so the crew has some basic understanding of jacking frame and guidance system setup. They also serve as a good reference tools for once our technician has left the project.

The GBM How-To Series contains:

Staff Highlight

Mike has been an integral player in the machining department since 1989. He’s also in 4th place for longest Akkerman employee, ringing in at 32-years of service.

Nominated Because:

“Mike is reliable and always helps out when needed.”

“Mike is always willing to help and shows up everyday with the attitude to work and get the job done.”


To earn a free hat from Akkerman, post your photos on social media and tag Akkerman!