In 2005 the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT) accepted ploughing technology, which is also known as cable ploughing or mole ploughing, as a trenchless technique. The ISTT defines ploughing as a system that uses a specially designed ploughshare, blade or lamella which is pulled through the ground using a strong wire cable attached to a towing unit or a wheeled/tracked towing unit.
The blade runs through the ground at a pre-set depth to create a furrow, exactly as it is done in farming. The main difference to farming practices is that utility installations need only a single furrow (trench), rather than many in a row, and a far greater depth than is needed for agriculture.
The cable or pipe is automatically laid immediately behind the ploughing blade before the trench has time to collapse or fill with soil. Filling the furrow is not left to chance. A second blade on the plough is used to return the material, opened out of the furrow by the first blade. This closes the excavation.
The FSP 220 Fockersperger
Australia’s pipeline industry is excited about the arrival of the first FSP 220 Fockersperger from Germany. Executives of the major energy companies, government authorities and irrigators travelled from all parts of the country to witness the first field presentation of the FSP 220 in Australia in July.
The plough is suitable for installation of cable and flexible pipe up to 315 mm in diameter, and can bury the pipe at depths up to 2.5 m. The plough has a frictional force of 180 tonne.
According to Pipe and Civil Director Brenton Euler, the company is the first to bring this new ploughing technology to Australia, and in doing so will become the largest pipeline and cable ploughing contractor in the country, soon to be the largest worldwide.
“Pipe and Civil is always looking for better ways to deliver our service now, by applying this technology and customising it to the local requirements, we have once again set ourselves apart from the pack and are positioned as a leader in coal seam gas (CSG) upstream gathering innovation,” said Mr Euler.
“This new pipeline system will be more cost efficient in Australia because of the increase in production capability. It’s also safer due to the lack of open trench and reduces the environmental impact when compared to current pipeline burial methods.
“A reduced construction easement combined with lower levels of soil disturbance is a win for the environment and landowners,” said Mr Euler.
“Pipe and Civil is leading the way once again with innovative solutions for the CSG industry. We are now bringing to the market what has evolved from a couple of solid years of research and planning.”