Limited Access?? Maybe Crane Drilling Will Do It?

By: Mikayla Sockwell

Most all contractors have had to deal with limited access issues at some point within their careers. It comes in many shapes and sizes, but the more time I spend in the construction industry the more I have come to realize that working with limited access is almost inevitable. When a limited access job site also needs a rock drill, creativity, versatility, and innovation becomes key to helping the contractor come up with a solution to get the job done.

Adaptability and Limited Access Drilling

In all honesty, I am relatively new to the rock drilling industry. However, in my two years of working at WORD Rock Drills I have heard dozens of impressive stories about how contractors overcome the constraints of limited access drilling. Most recently, one of our customers at WORD purchased an M125 drill motor to do just that.

Lakes & Rivers Contracting out of Illinois won a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation to remove and replace a pier protection cell for I-80 over the Des Plaines River in Joliet, IL. The previous cell, having been struck by a barge, had been badly damaged and had fallen. To replace the damaged pier, Lakes & Rivers Co. planned to anchor a replacement cell into the underlying limestone with 2.5” rock anchors, increasing the cells ability to withstand barge impacts in the future. In order to complete the anchoring process, Lakes & Rivers Co. needed to be able to drill 24 rock anchors in a cell that was only 26’ in diameter and approximately 10’ below the top of the sheet piling.

Creating Drilling Solutions

Confronted with limited access within the cell, Lakes & Rivers Co. knew that conventional drilling rigs would be challenging to put in place and operate once inside. As an alternative solution, they reached out to WORD Rock Drills and purchased our M125 drill motor. This motor provided the needed torque and DTH hammer capabilities to drill the 6” diameter holes needed for this job. They then built a sled system onto their existing crane and mounted the drill onto the sled, allowing the drill to travel up and down the crane leads to drill.  

Working With WORD

Through this drilling method, Lakes & Rivers Co. was able to successfully complete their job, mending the protection cell and helping to keep the bridge safe from future harm. Their purchase of a WORD M125 drill motor also increased the capabilities of their fleet for future projects. When asked about their experience working with WORD Rock Drills, Lakes & Rivers Co. Project Superintendent on the job replied, “Working with WORD was a great experience, their salesman, John, helped me through specifying the equipment for the project and was willing to offer some input to follow-up questions we had through the drilling procedure.”

7 Ways to Maintain your Drilling Equipment Between Jobs

1. Grease

Your drill has many grease points that prevent early wear and allow your machine to run smoothly. Regular greasing is important to maintain the machine during use. Sometimes, when your drill is doing work on the job site, common grease points are overlooked during daily maintenance. Down-time on the job site provides a great opportunity to look over your machine closely and make sure everything is well greased.

2. Set Chain Tightness

The feed rail chain on your WORD Rock Drill can become loose periodically. The natural movement of the machine during drilling leads to wear within the primary sprocket of the feed rail chain. This sprocket contains a 1/16th brass bushing which is often the cause of a loose chain. When testing your chain tightness first check to make sure the brass ring within the sprocket is in place and not showing signs of wear. You can then proceed to tighten the chain as usual. Test the tension by moving the drifter all the way forward and checking the rigidity at the middle of the chain.

3. Check Your Lubricator

During your down time it is important to make sure your line oiler is refilled with rock drill oil. When drilling, the oil level in your line oiler should be checked twice a day. When checking your line oiler between jobs, perform the white paper towel test to make sure that oil is making its way through the unit.

Order a new Line Oiler Here

4. Clean Quick Connects

No job site is clean, so it is almost impossible to prevent your quick connects from getting dirty even when they are hooked up. Although they pretty much stay dirty, it’s important to clean the quick connects when re-attaching them to your machine. With the combination of hydraulic oil and dirt, they can get pretty grimy between uses and you don’t want that dirt to make its way into your hydraulic line.

5. Check Extension Clamp Plates

The extension clamp plates are protective plates located on your feed rail. These plates serve as a buffer between the steel of your feed rail and the steel of your feed rail extension piece. The use of these plates prevents the two sections of feed rail steel from grinding together during movement. As the clamp plates wear down, you will notice that the feed rail extension will jostle more when being extended and moved.

Click here to order Clamp Plates

6. Check Nylatron Wearpads

Located on the mounting assembly for your Word Rock Drills motor, the Nylatron Shims on your rock drill allow your motor to move smoothly along your feed rail. Over time, these Nylatron Wearpads become thin due to the constant movement. Regularly replacing these wearpads is essential for maintaining the longevity of your machine.

Click here to order Nilatron Wearpads

7. Look for Wear on your Centralizer Gates

As a key component in the movement of the drill, your centralizer gates wear down throughout a job. Check your centralizer gates between jobs and replace them when they start to wear down to keep your machine in peak condition.

Let’s be honest. ConExpo 2020 was something none of us expected. Between the rain, coronavirus, and a shortened show; this years ConExpo was not lacking in drama.

However, despite the strange circumstances of the show this year, there was an amazing turnout! The smaller number of attendees actually turned out to be beneficial, giving us time to have quality conversations with each person that entered our booth. From an attendee perspective, many Attendees also seemed to enjoy the show more because they didn’t have to constantly fight masses of people to get to the booths they wanted to see.

WORD Braving the Storm

Premier of WORD Rock Tour

If you made it out to ConExpo this year you may have seen us in our inaugural “WORD Rock Tour” themed T-shirts for 2019. These shirts represent a yearly initiative WORD is making to represent our customers and bring some fun into the rock drilling industry. These T-shirts will come out at the end of each year, themed to fit a popular rock band but with a WORD twist. The back of the T-shirts will list the locations that each drill in that year was delivered too! But that’s not even the best part! Each WORD drill customer from that year will receive a commemorative tour t-shirt to celebrate!


Shipping Container Transformation

Conexpo 2020 was a time of firsts for WORD Rock Drills! Not only did we premier our new WORD Tour T-shirts but we also designed a new booth for the show! Unlike anything we’ve done before, this display actually started its life as a shipping container! After months of planning and modifications, we turned a shipping container into a casual booth space with a bar, couch, and even a second level observation deck! If you didn’t make it to this ConExpo, come check out our shipping container display at MineExpo 2020 or IFCEE 2021! It’s a great place to escape the trade show chaos, kick your feet up, and enjoy an afternoon happy hour!


Team Bonding


Our last big initiative for ConExpo 2020 was to have all of our WORD Rock Drills team attend! ConExpo is an amazing show in our industry. With the amount of exhibitors and equipment showcased every three years we believe that attendance is an experience no employee should be left out of. Focusing on team bonding and education, we gave every WORD employee the opportunity to attend ConExpo and experience its magnitude. Having the capability to bring our team together for experiences like this is something we value deeply at WORD and we hope to continue this tradition moving forward!

Price Your Drill Today and Join the WORD Rock Drills Team!

The excitement for ConExpo is something that builds for months. There are ads in every construction magazine for “Big Reveals” and exciting activities that keep the event buzzing. Leading up to the 2020 ConExpo was no different, everyone was excited, ready to show off new products and booths. Things played out a little different than usual, but this may not have been a bad thing.

“ConExpo 2020 was something none of us expected.”

ConExpo 2020 was something none of us expected. Between the rain, coronavirus*, and a shortened show; this years ConExpo was not lacking in drama. With worries about potential exposure and looming travel restrictions, attendees and exhibitors were jumping ship left and right. Oddly enough, this smaller number of attendees and exhibitors may have been the best thing to happen to the smaller businesses in the construction industry exhibiting at ConExpo this year.

Having attended ConExpo for 5 years as a small company out of North Carolina, this show has always been a great opportunity for WORD Rock Drills to generate leads across the U.S. and internationally that we may not have otherwise made contact with. However, as a small business at this type of show we are often bombarded with vendors trying to push their own products and unrelated attendees who only visit our booth hoping to leave with free stuff. These categories of attendees can take away from the time our team can spend answering real questions and clog up our lead tracking system making it difficult to pursue follow-ups.

“The quality of leads we received at this ConExpo was beyond what we expected!”

The quality of leads we received at this ConExpo was beyond what we expected! Of course there could be a number of reasons for this: a better booth location, an enhanced booth setup, or the increase in pre-show marketing. Or … it could have been because of the attendees that DID show up! Attendees at this ConExpo had to be dedicated and determined in order to face the potential risk and show up regardless. These attendees were serious about their product research and truly looking for quality products. The smaller crowd made their mission easier and gave us more quality time to spend with these attendees answering their questions.

Overall, the drama surrounding ConExpo 2020 turned out to be a blessing for us as a small business. We are so thankful for the attendees that made the choice to show up and we feel like we were truly able to serve them amidst the circumstances. The results of this ConExpo is a testament to the small ways that God is looking out for small businesses during periods of uncertainty. Returning to the office we are energized and ready to serve our customers through the coming weeks and beyond.

*This article is not intended to diminish the seriousness of COVID-19 or the current pandemic. Please refer to the CDC and local governing officials for facts and current legislation surrounding COVID-19.

Man Portable Drill , Measurements in Millimeters

You’ve got to get the job done! You’ve beaten the competition and the contract is yours but now its time for logistics. Limited access drilling it tricky. Are you trying to get a drill rig through a doorway? Down some stairs? Helicoptered onto a remote location? Struggling with accessibility in basements or parking garages?? Is your team overwhelmed trying to make this all happen??

We’ve got great news! WORD Rock Drills’ new Man Portable drill rig could be your solution.

1. Made to Be Moved

The Man Portable Drill was made to be moved easily and is exactly what you need for limited access drilling! Standing at 108 inches tall and 36.5 inches wide this drill rig is skinny enough to fit through a standard doorway, light enough to be maneuvered down stairways, and just the right height to fit in a standard basement or parking garage. Additionally, the light weight aluminum feed rail and wheels on the Man Portable allow it to be pushed by a single man or lifted by 2 men.

2. It Fits AND It Ships

Not every job site is conveniently located. Beyond having the capabilities to be easily moved while on the job site, the Man Portable Drill is also easy to transport! With a drill like this, you don’t need roads. This drill can even be delivered via helicopter if needed … AND it’s been done!

3. High Torque, Small Package

Manufactured with over 1,300 ft/lb of torques, you won’t lose any power with this rock drill! In addition, this drill has offers 3,000 lbs of pullback, a 60 weight chain, and the ability to add 1″-6″ clamp.

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