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Purpose-Built Limited-Access Drill Rigs

Purpose-Built Limited-Access Drill Rigs

Just as conventional reinforcement technologies are rarely suited for the challenges associated with geohazard mitigation, conventional drill rigs are no match for the difficult conditions encountered on emergency geohazard sites. That’s why GeoStabilization engineers each of their purpose-built rigs to deal specifically with geohazard repair conditions. From helicopter-mobile wagon drills, excavator-mounted Soil Nail Launchers and SuperNailers, to crane-basket mounted drills and SPIDER mounted “walking” drill rigs, no company in New Zealand has a more extensive, diverse, or capable fleet. All of GeoStabilization’s purpose-built equipment provides the following benefits:

Fast Installation

In geohazard mitigation, speed of installation is critical. Active landslides don’t slow down or stop when you start working on them. Unstable rock masses have a very short timeframe when they can stabilised in place. Using the best tool for the job results in fast installation, which correlates directly with site safety. Using the wrong tool for the job, or only having a few tools to choose from can directly lead to total roadway collapse. For example, only the speed of the Soil Nail Launcher and GeoStabilization’s purpose-built SuperNailers prevented total collapse of a state highway in 2005 and again in 2012. Conventional drill rigs could not match the installation rates of either tool, and would not likely have succeeded in preventing failure at either site.


Active landslides and unstable rock masses, by definition, exist near a factor of safety of 1.0. This means that the driving forces causing failure and the resisting forces preventing movement are nearly equal. Any disturbance to this delicate balance can trigger total failure. For this reason, GeoStabilization specifically tailors its purpose-built fleet to work without major access road and significant site disturbance and excavation. This “light” site footprint can also yield environmental benefits and a reduction in permitting requirements.


Many geohazard sites are relatively inacessible with conventional drill rigs. Unstable rock masses can be hundreds of feet above the roadway’s elevation. Landslides can occur on remote sections of gas pipelines. Transmission tower sites can be miles from the nearest road. For this reason nearly all of GeoStabilization’s fleet can travel the most questionable of roads, and many can be mobilized using helicopters, cranes, or high-reach lift equipment.