tain machine is the right fit for a certain project, it will make the purchase with the conviction that it can keep it busy on future projects. Harms also has a reputation for maintaining equipment, which translates into an above-average resale value. “If you own it, you're only making money when it's running,” says Kevin Harms. “If it goes down on a job, we lose money, so making sure it's serviced and running is crucial.” Next Level Equipment Support “It's a 24-hour operation,” ECA’s Gordian Ulrich says. “If the phone rings in the middle of the night, we need to have boots on the ground immediately to support the customer.” It was critical to have the right people to assemble the BG 55, start up the project with Harms, conduct operator training, and service the equipment. ECA’s team included technicians, operator trainers, and even welders for the tooling. “Projects of this size and scope are what the ECA BAUER Service Team lives for,” says Ulrich. “In 2019 we started building a team of BAUER product specialists to be able to support our customers in the field when it is showtime. Our crew set up and commissioned the rig before our in-house operator trainers started working with three Harms operators to ensure safe operation with this massive 84-meter-long Kelly bar together with the biggest rig on the East Coast.” ECA knows how to control the risk above ground, but once the drill breaks ground, all bets are off. With offshore drilling, no backup rig could be brought in if the BG 55 went down. The movement of the barge was also a factor, especially drilling at depths of up to 240 feet. The time frame Harms had to drill a shaft was fixed, which added yet another layer of complexity. Self-Sufficient Drilling Barge “Everything we need is on that drill barge,” says Jason Hardell. “The whole operation is self-sufficient.” Harms first pinned a square-shaped casing guide to the BG 55 barge to ensure that the casing was straight and properly located. Sections up to 145 feet were set with a 330-ton crane on a neighboring barge. The drilled shafts were 102-inch diameter from top of casing to the bottom with 96-inch rock sockets, the longest of which was 30 feet. The BG 55 was not the only massive piece of equipment on site. Harms used a crane-supported 100,000-pound ICE 200C Vibratory Driver/ Extractor to drive the casing that will remain in place as part of the structure. The BG 55 was then used to drill out the material within the casing to the depth Harms required. The depth of the shafts and the uncased section below the casing presented the greatest complexity for Harms. Polymer slurry was required to keep the hole open in sandy soils between the casing and the rock socket. The BG 55 was used strictly to excavate material and drill the rock sockets. Its cleanout bucket removed the spoils with the help of poly - mer slurry pumped from nearby tanks. A floating tank was moved back and forth to supply clean water for the reuse of the polymer slurry. The
weight fluctuated during drilling as the Kelly bar turned and slurry was pumped to the BG 55 to support drilling. “We had to analyze different drilling scenarios, including worst case scenarios,” says Jason Hardell. “Then we calculated the forward- and rear-leaning barge trim, conveyed that to BAUER, and received confir - mation that there would be no issue with the machine (BG 55).” Drilling in the River Harms installed rock sockets into the Siltstone out in the channel in the deepest part of the river. Some of the shallower shafts were sock - eted into dense clay. The Siltstone had tested unconfined compressive strength as high as 7,000 psi. According to Vice President of Construction Kevin Harms, the BG 55 excelled when drilling in hard materials. He says, “The BG 55 has been good in terms of its performance in harsh geotechnical conditions and overall capabilities.” Harms did two test shafts in November 2020 using the BG 40. A third test shaft was completed with the BG 55 in January 2021. The installa - tion of the production shafts started in February 2021. The Harms Way Pre-planning seems to be a recurring theme for Harms. Rob Harms says, “We looked at different options and different ways to do it, and it has paid off. We had some large, difficult challenges to overcome that weren’t in the planning process. That’s when you really see the value of the team.” From the workers in the field that barely pause to make eye contact with visitors, to the project management team, a get it done attitude seems to be the norm at Harms. “Our people have the same mindset: we’ve got to get this done no matter what it takes,” says Rob Harms. “When major issues arise, we focus on addressing the problem before considering the cost.” Harms only buys equipment. Once the contractor is convinced that a cer - Harms installed 87 drilled shafts up to 240 feet deep across the Raritan River in configurations from two to 10 shafts per pier.
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