From Scotland with competence in large and deep hole drilling

2013 Apr 08

How a small group of drilling entrepreneurs in Scotland became a major player in the Atlas Copco world of drilling technology.

When Scottish company H&F Drilling Supplies Ltd was founded in 1986 it set out to provide large hole drilling and piling equipment for local contractors.

Specializing in overburden casing advancement and piling applications, the company soon found that its products and its expertise were in high demand, and not just in central Scotland, its home base, but throughout the UK and abroad.

By the end of the 90s, business was thriving, and over the next few years the company’s manufacturing and assembly premises doubled in size. In 2004, the company became an Atlas Copco distributor, paving the way for further expansion, and in 2010 became a wholly owned subsidiary. Today, as a fully integrated part of the organization, the company’s expertise has made it possible to create a Competence Center, providing equipment and services to drilling companies around the world.

Large hole and deep hole
The company still focuses on its traditional equipment, but now, as an Atlas Copco Competence Center, its emphasis is to analyze customer requirements together with its local sales engineers and provide cost effective solutions.

These solutions consist of the latest drilling equipment and accessories for large hole and deep hole applications and cover geotechnical, piling, casing advancement, water well and shallow oil and gas applications.

This involves all of the equipment required, from the drill rig drive down to the drill bit, and includes adapters, drill rods, hammers, drill shrouds, casing, compressors and pumps together with technical advice on correct use and maintenance.

The company is also building its rental capacity. Rental gives the customer the opportunity to select the most efficient method of completing the contract without having to buy the equipment. This option is especially attractive when the cost of purchasing equipment is a significant proportion of the revenue that will be earned from the contract.

A complete package
Andy Jacques, H&F’s Operations Manager, points out that the company has become the supply center for all of the key components required in large diameter and deep hole drilling.

“We have the most comprehensive range of equipment and services available under one roof,” he says. “For example, we assemble and deliver complete cluster drills together with associated equipment for service and repair on site. We also offer advice regarding the suitability of the products for each application based upon the geological information provided and our experience in using the product.

“In addition, we advise on and supply a selection of swivels, lifting equipment, oilers and pumps. All of this means that when equipment is delivered to a site, the drilling company can be assured that the components will fit together and that the equipment will work immediately.”

In applications where the Atlas Copco Symmetrix and other casing advancement systems are supplied as a drilling system, H&F supplies all of the equipment in a package including the QL hammers, HEX drill pipe, casing, adapters and shrouds.

The QL 300 hammer and associated Symmetrix casing advancement system enables simultaneous drilling and casing of holes up to 1 200 mm in diameter. A QL 300 hammer and Symmetrix system has recently been supplied on a rental basis for the installation of casing in a horizontal drilling application.

In water well drilling applications, the customer is advised on the correct selection of drill pipe for a given hole size together with the right stabilisers, drill collars and handling systems. On top of that, the company advises on the correct volumes of air or fluid circulation for given applications and can supply or rent out the compressors or pumps required.

For oil and gas drillers, Jacques points out: “We are conscious of the importance of selecting the correct drilling equipment and accessories for a given project and we take the time to appraise projects in order to establish the correct selection of equipment.”

Long term perspective
Whatever the application, H&F applies a long term perspective to the task, meaning that its experts focus on solutions that will get the best results over time and increase the customer’s productivity.

The company is represented in most parts of the world via the Atlas Copco organization and no project is too far or too remote. For example, a cluster drill was recently supplied to India, hammers and cluster drills have been rented to projects in France, Sweden and Slovenia and well drilling equipment has been supplied to various projects in Africa.
Jacques concludes: “We have a real passion for drilling and for sharing our experiences.If the customer has a problem, we find a solution and provide it as a single package.”

Epiroc operated under the trademark “Atlas Copco” prior to January 1, 2018.

Cluster drill consisting of seven hammers for tunnel foundation work in the USA.
A Symmetrix casing system for a road tunnel project in Norway.
A wealth of experience and knowledge: Above, the Competence Center team with a selection of Atlas Copco products for large hole and deep hole drilling.