Inaugural TTC Auger Boring School Impresses Attendees
The Trenchless Technology Center’s 2015 Auger Boring School received favorable reviews from participants in the week-long training program completed in mid-October.
Sponsors included American Augers, Baroid Industrial Drilling Products, Barbco, Thompson Pump, Midwest Mole, Permalok, Northwest Pipe Company, McMillen Jacobs Associations, Brierley Associates, U.S. Shoring & Equipment Co., Lincoln Builders Inc. and Louisiana Contractors Education Trust Fund. Sessions were conducted at a specifically designed and construction facility at the National Trenchless Technology Research Facility at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA.
“I was very impressed with the enthusiasm that was generated by the attendees and the program instructors and coordinators,” said Tom Iseley, Ph.D., P.E., Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) director and professor of civil engineering at Louisiana Tech.
The first auger boring school was not only a success in itself, but laid the groundwork for future schools. Input from participants already is being evaluated for subsequent schools.
“The first school went very well,” said Jadranka Simicevic, TTC assistant director and director of the auger boring school. “We planned the school activities in “advance, but were prepared to make adjustments as necessary when the school began. We had a group of carefully selected instructors who are very knowledgeable of the various aspects of auger boring. They prepared excellent classroom lectures and taught the material masterfully. The classroom lessons were following the schedule very well.”
Simicevic said despite some bumps in the practical field sessions – some took longer than scheduled – all practical installations were completed.
“Some students,” she said, “had previous experience in auger boring and were familiar with operating auger boring (AB) machines, but others students were shown how to operate the machines. Students saw how drilling fluids were mixed. Boring through different soil types was explained and demonstrated with instructors offering recommendations and valuable insight about how the process operates in those different soil conditions. Once boring started in sandy soil, the students could observe how sand was drawn into the pipe from the surface. Students could see how to auger bore with classic steel casing which required welding of sections and with Permalok pipes. On the last day, a novel, new electric auger boring machine from American Augers made a demo installation.”
Twenty-one students representing a cross section of industry disciplines completed the AB course, traveling from around the country including as far away as Alaska.
One student was Aaron Snyder, a superintendent at Snyder Construction Co. in Corydon, IN. “I loved the school,” said Snyder. “It was a wonderful week of instruction and knowledge. I’ve been in the business 17 years, so I know the process. You can study and research technologies, but sharing knowledge and experience with instructors and others at the school is priceless. I’m familiar with drilling mud, but to learn the chemistry and why fluids do what they do is important. I definitely would recommend the next school.”
Paul Supfel, underground utility coordinator, Portland General Electric, Portland, OR, rated the school “good to great.
“We got information there we can use immediately that will help in the planning and design of a major upcoming project,” he said. Learning is all about communication, said instructor Brian Dorwart, P.E., Brierley Associates, Bedford, NH.
“We had a dedicated group for a week focused on auger boring – and of course, Louisiana barbecue,” he said. “We were all talking and ideas were exchanged both in the classroom and in the field running equipment and making a hole. As with any real field job, there were issues in the field work – things happen. Everyone jumped in to work through the problems and even to shovel the spoils without any urging. This is not a sanitized course with showroom situations – you get dirty. We all worked the problems. We all learned. All was done without the fear that soil collapse would destroy a road or that repairs would cost our profits. Ideas were abundant and were welcomed. This week was well worth the time.”
“At the end of school,” said Simicevic, “instructors agreed that the school should be offered again and preferably held annually.
Input from this year’s participants will be evaluated. We have material for classroom instructions prepared, the outdoor facility is built, and instructors committed to the school program in the future. There is room for improvements and we can expect modifications in the schedule, duration of classes, what is instructed and how practical sessions based on lessons learned.”
Preliminary planning has identified March and November 2016 for possible dates for future AB schools.
Making The School A Success
A key to the success of the recent Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) Auger Boring School were the 12 volunteer instructors and staff of the TTC who planned and managed the week-long event.
Instructors praised both the TTC center and high level of interest and active participation of students.
Instructor Jimmy Lee of American Augers said the TTC did an excellent job on this first auger boring school.
“The site set-up for field instruction was good,” Lee continued. “We had students that were experienced in auger boring who were there to learn about new technologies and others new to the business, and they had a lot of questions. I believe all the instructors did a good job with hands-on training with the students.”
It was a good first effort for the school said Frank Canon, Baroid Industrial Drilling Projects.
“We had a very diverse group, some with experience with HDD fluids,” he said. “I think we were able to point out the differences between what fluids do for auger boring compared to directional drilling. The field work went very well, and one thing that impressed me was how hard the students worked. Mixing the fluids, the instructors didn’t have to do anything – class members jumped right in.”
In addition to Lee and Canon, school instructors were Dan Heath, American Augers; Tony Barbera, Barbco; Leo Barbera, Horizontal Holes; Ed Anderson, Baroid; Brian Dorwart, Brierley Associates; Dan Liotti, Midwest Mole; Babs Marquis, McMillen Jacobs Associates; Jessad Sunhachawi, Thompson Pump; Trevor Gonterman, Permalok; and Rus Lascink, Northwest Pipe Co.
TTC staff involved included Dr. Tom Iseley, Jadranka Simicevic, Fredda Wagner, Chris Morgan, Hunter Patton, Greta Vladeanu, Urso Campos and Saleh Behbahani.