400-ton rig for O´Connor Utilities

Most powerful drilling rig in the UK



On January 31, 2014 Tim O´Connor received the key for the new drilling rig at Prime Drilling in Olpe, Germany. With the PD 400/150 RP-C machine, the line construction company O´Connor Utilities now possesses the most powerful Horizontal Directional Drilling Rig in the United Kingdom.



The Manchester based company O´Connor Utilities was founded in 1994 by the brothers Tim and Tom O´Connor and now employs about 500 people. It is known as one of the biggest construction companies for underground utility lines in England. Flexibility and versatility are the features cultivated by O´ Connor to maintain their position in the market. The company´s spectrum encompasses a wide range of installation products, such as telecommunication, power lines, pipelines and also features a broad range of construction technologies to comply with the demands of the market. This is the reason why the HDD section of the company has recently grown. “It is a crucial competetive advantage for us if we are able to offer these services from a single source and need not to rely on sub-contractors“, says Tim O´Connor.

So far the company operates 7 drilling rigs in the category of 23 to 100 tons pull force. Among those is a 100-ton rig made by Prime Drilling, from which O’Connors had gained a very positive and highly productive experience over the last years. Now they can rely on the new rig PD 400/150 RP-C for future projects as the most powerful drilling rig in the UK.


1.6 million Euros is the sum that O´Connor has invested in the rig, which has been made by Prime Drilling in Olpe, Germany specifically to the customer´s own specifications to meet the strict safety regulations that apply in the UK. Scope of delivery besides the rig mounted on a self-driving crawler carriage was a super-noise reduced hydraulic power pack, which is installed into a separate container and is driven by a 570 kW CAT turbo diesel engine complying with the latest requirements of the Tier IV emissions standard. With a push and pull force of up to 4,000 kN drilling of lengths up to max. 2,600 m and of diameters up to max. 1.8 m are achievable. The power rotary head has a torque of 150,000 Nm, both speed and torque are continuously adjustable. The rack & pinion (RP) feed system allows a feeding length of 11 m.

A computer integrated into the steering container records and stores all important drilling parameters and data. The additional pipe-side camera delivers high-quality images over a distance of up to 3,000 m and enables the operator to supervise the installation of the pipe. A connection to the Internet allows for real time online diagnosis of all drilling parameters and issues irrespective of the rig´s location.



Besides quality, technical support and the worldwide availability of spare parts, the principal factor in making the decision to purchase a  Prime Drilling System was above all the flexibility of the manufacturer to supply a machine tailor-made to the specific requirements of the customer. ”It wasn´t the price that made our decision but the complete package”, underlines Tim O´ Connor, whose view seems to be supported elsewhere. According to its Managing Director Werner Wurm, in 2013 Prime Drilling achieved the best result since the company was founded. Now with 80 employees the company has manufactured 14 HDD-Rigs, 9 of them with a pull force exceeding 250 tons. The total number of Horizontal Directional Drilling Rigs made by Prime Drilling now comes up to 144. According to Werner Wurm its subsidiary company German Pump Technology is also on course for further growth. The Managing Director of German Pump Technology said ”We are completely satisfied with the current development.”


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