For some, tradition can be hard to break. For others, trying something new is exciting. For SubSurface HDD LLC, it’s a little bit of both. They understand that there’s a certain amount of consistency and tradition that is good and healthy, but they also know that in order to get better, trying new things can be a quick path to growth. This particular time, they decided to try something new and start using the Vermeer QuickFire® HD connection system on their horizontal directional drills (HDD).
Digging deep on SubSurface HDD
Let’s back up and dig deep on SubSurface HDD. Founded by Scott Searl and located in Rapids City, Illinois, Subsurface HDD has more than 25 years of experience in the underground industry. They specialize in fiberoptic OSP and ISP builds and can achieve all aspects of a fiberoptic plant, including traditional conduit systems, FuturePath style conduit, hand holes, vaults, duct splicing, fiber blowing, fiber over blowing, fiber splicing, ribbon fiber splicing and Demark locations.
Then in 2017, Searl founded Strada Communications LLC, also in Rapids City, Illinois. They are a fiber service provider to the home and last mile provider for the communities of Port Byron, Rapids City and Erie, Illinois. They offer speeds of up to one gigabyte for the rural communities and businesses in those areas.
Together, these companies create a successful fiber team. Strada Communications provides the fiber service, and SubSurface HDD installs the fiber lines.
New tool, same method
To try and improve their fiber installation process even more, Searl and SubSurface HDD decided to test the Vermeer QuickFire HD connection system. This tool was designed to help reduce the labor involved with changing over from pilot bore to pullback tooling.
“The QuickFire HD system expands the types of ground conditions contractors can use this type of quick connection system for,” explained Jason Zylstra, product manager for Vermeer Lifecycle products. “Crews familiar with the original QuickFire system will recognize the same 4-turn makeup on the QuickFire HD system, only they’ll now have some ease of use and reliability-minded enhancements.”
The Vermeer QuickFire HD system uses two heavy-duty roll pins to secure the locking collar over the non-torqued threaded connection. Resembling other proven Vermeer designs, this retention feature has performed well in extensive field tests. Also, the QuickFire HD allows the collar to be assembled at any orientation to avoid having to rotate the collar to align it with the retention bolt hole, unlike some other systems.
Improved confidence and optimal boring
After using the QuickFire HD system on several jobsites and bores, SubSurface HDD had this to say about how it went:
“Our experience with the QuickFire HD system collar has been fantastic,” said Searl. “With now more than 50,000 ft (20,000 m) of using the product, it has given us the confidence to make some of the more difficult shots through the cobble, fractured rock and incidental rock areas that the traditional-style collar bolts didn’t.”
He went on to say that, at first, he wasn’t confident if the QuickFire HD system would hold up in the rugged conditions that they put it through. But that isn’t the case anymore.
“Knowing that it won’t come loose now and cause us to lose the bore or cause other problems that we’ve experienced with the collar and bolt system, I can assure you I won’t be switching back,” said Searl.
For SubSurface HDD, changing up how what tooling they used led to improvement and a new way of boring. Sometimes change can be a good thing. All it takes is a willingness to try new things and a drive to find a better way.
You can learn more about the SubSurface HDD story and see their hands-on experience with the QuickFire HD system by watching this video:
This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers. Testimonials and/or endorsements by customers in specific circumstances may not be representative of normal circumstances experienced by all customers.
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