The rise in underground utility projects is good news for contractors across the country. However, whether it be due to fiber build-out or aging infrastructure replacement, this growth requires underground utility contractors to find and employ more horizontal directional drill (HDD) operators. This demand has resulted in a shortage of qualified, skilled and confident operators in the underground construction industry.
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Canadian horizontal directional drilling operator Fast Forward HDD could be called a specialist - more than 90 percent of the company's work hours have been spent on oil pipeline jobsites.
The Toro Company will acquire privately-held Charles Machine Works, Inc., the parent company of Ditch Witch and several other leading brands in the underground construction market. The purchase price is $700 million in cash subject to certain adjustments set forth in the definitive agreement. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is currently anticipated to close before the end of Toro's fiscal 2019 third quarter.
More than 50 percent of reported underground utility damages are the result of insufficient excavation practices according to the 2017 DIRT Report. The Ditch Witch organization, a Charles Machine Works Company, has introduced an industry-first Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator to better prepare horizontal directional drill (HDD) operators for safe underground construction through cutting-edge training technology.
The Ditch Witch organization, a Charles Machine Works Company, has updated its line of fluid management systems to increase productivity and reduce costs on horizontal directional drilling (HDD) jobsites. These advanced models incorporate new design features to meet the highest standards for jobsite productivity, improved drilling fluid flow, increased durability, and faster mixing cycles and yield times.
Ditch Witch, a Charles Machine Works Company, released a new JT20XP horizontal directional drill (HDD) package featuring a JT20XP drill and XP44 mixing system. The industry-first solution is the only drilling system in its class to utilize all on-board horsepower for thrust and rotation. Together, the full 118-hp solution provides operators industry-leading power and superior productivity for larger utility-installation jobs.
Ditch Witch, a Charles Machine Works Company, introduced its largest trencher to date, the HT275, to boost productivity and versatility on a broad range of trenching jobs. The unit was designed to increase year-over-year return on investment (ROI) on water, sewer, gas, power and underdrain installations, pipeline distribution and other heavy-duty trenching tasks.
Installation of underground infrastructure has become more challenging in today's sprawling urban centres. For many types of utility and service, the need to dig under existing roads, buildings and other obstructions has brought a growing interest in horizontal directional drilling.
As vacuum excavators expand use beyond horizontal directional drilling (HDD) jobsites to other industrial applications such as microtrenching, operators require new technology, tools and information to be productive and safe on the job. Ditch Witch, a Charles Machine Works Company, recently introduced the Ditch Witch Certified Vacuum Excavation Training program to help both novice and experienced operators maintain performance and safety when using vacuum excavators on today's diverse jobsites.