Australian innovation in trenchless technology

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Perth based Trenchless Utilities claims to have invented a new technology for trenchless installation of pipes and cables that is ideal for use in narrow corridors thanks to its small footprint.

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According to a post from James Johnson, head of business development at Trenchless Utilities, on Linkedin, “This process, Safetrench, sits between the expense of horizontal directional drilling and the damage of heavy plough installations.”

There is a YouTube video showing the Safetrench in action, and it seems to have impressed viewers, especially those involved in the installation of optical fibre cables for Australia’s National Broadband Network.

Comments posted to the video said: “Just awesome...”, Just what the NBN rollout needs: a fast efficient piece of technology like this...”, “Amazing bit of engineering ......this would be the most advanced technology Australia's NBN has ever seen” and “Simply amazing technology....evolutionary stuff for the Australian trenching industry. Ideal for Telstra and National Broadband Network rollout.”

According to Trenchless Utilities “Safetrench is a patent pending hybrid cable plough/trench and pipe laying system based on a registered mechanical design which enables the installation of conduit or cable in greenfield areas which is safer, faster and environmentally responsible while at the same time provides a better quality finished asset.”

The company says that the inspiration for the system was its desire to offer its clients “a superior quality of installation of product with lower risk management than derived [sic] by conventional open trench installation.” Safetrench is claimed to require as little as 20 percent of soil excavation compared to conventional excavation techniques.

The company says that Safetrench differs from conventional ploughing systems that require a combination of power, weight and large physical size to grip the ground and rip through the hard earth in that it “works by loosening only the narrowest section (as little as 200mm) working like a milling router applying HP [high pressure] to a small area allowing the laying chute to pass without the need larger equipment. The corridor width is therefore minimised vastly reducing the impact on the environment.”

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