Geoprobe® 20CPT skid steer has opened the windfarm market to Olsson, gathering data on soil stability along crane paths.
The 65-year-old engineering firm, Olsson, has been in the drilling side of the industry for the past 15 years, utilizing five conventional drill rigs. However, they were frustrated their big rigs lacked the necessary weight to complete Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) to the full potential. What they desired was an efficient, dedicated machine to run their CPT. In choosing the Geoprobe® 20CPT skid steer, their dedicated machine also provided profit versatility.
“If we’re not pushing cone, the skid steer can be cleaning up or helping other rigs so it can be profitable no matter what it’s doing,” Kevin Whitla, project manager, said.
One of the first big CPT jobs completed with the 20CPT skid steer was for a solar farm on the Texas coast. Olsson also worked an Iowa windfarm, where they were moving cranes around, that didn’t call for any physical soil samples. They gathered data on the crane paths to ensure the soil was stable for the heavy equipment. In a market that requires a lot of cone data, Olsson is now a player.
“We’re widening the field of what we can do now that people know we have a dedicated machine,” Whitla said. “We have a better shot at jobs like the solar and windfarms.”
Amplified Production and Results
In addition to opening markets, the 20CPT skid steer has removed the time-consuming task of setting up their conventional drill rig to do cone and then tearing it down to do drilling while adding the ability to push to greater depths.
“Many jobs require a certain percentage of cone and a certain percentage of drilling. Now we can send both rigs out to do their job, not tying up equipment,” Whitla said. “And we can push cone to a further depth than with our traditional rigs, so we’re getting better results.”
The 20CPT press has also enabled them to efficiently solve challenges. When Olsson completed a roadway job in Lincoln where an oddball layer of sand showed up inconsistently across the borings, CPT was the economical solution.
“We came back through with the CPT to punch a bunch of holes in between to get the complete profile – without excess soil samples and extra effort. This was more efficient and cheaper for us,” Whitla said. “The CPT provided a continuous soil reading to pinpoint the depth of the sand versus the drilling, which disturbed the soil making it hard to pinpoint the exact start of change in soil layers.”
The small size of the 20CPT skid steer has also given them the option to do more limited access jobs, getting them into tight spots while still getting quality data.
“We do a lot of work for the Natural Resource District on water conservation projects. So when they build a damn for a retention pond, we do a lot of cone work on the limited access levees,” Whitla said.
A recent job was on a golf course. Thanks to the cone and tracks they completed the job with less soil disturbance and fewer ruts when trying to get to the site.
Automatic feed rates and well laid out controls make the rig efficient and easy to run. And while Whitla describes the quality as “great,” for the few times he’s had an oddball software or cone issue – or even when they’ve experienced some hydraulic issues with the anchors – he’s known help is just a phone call away.
“I can contact Troy Schmidt and he'll walk me through troubleshooting while I’m in the field,” Whitla said. “Geoprobe® has put in a lot of time and effort to try and solve problems and accommodate our needs.”
Saving Time and Increasing Profitability
With the 20CPT skid steer, Olsson now completes a lot of footage in a short time, leading to increased profitability – which pleases them and their clients.
“It takes a lot less time to set up and push cone to 50 feet versus a drill rig drilling to 50 feet. Engineers and clients can get more information without the extra cost of getting the drill rig out there,” Whitla said.
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