Portable compressor hastens urgent Thai well-drilling program

Oct. 1, 2006
Thai drilling subcontractor Noppree Deep Well Water Co. works with the Atlas Copco oil-injected rotary screw compressor to bore wells in a drought-stricken Thai province.

Thai drilling subcontractor Noppree Deep Well Water Co. works with the Atlas Copco oil-injected rotary screw compressor to bore wells in a drought-stricken Thai province.

Sam Waes

Thailand’s Chachoengsao province, located on the kingdom’s Eastern Seaboard, has embarked upon the construction of a large number of water wells to help alleviate the drought that constantly threatens this key industrial and agricultural region. An Atlas Copco mobile compressor is a vital part of the equipment being used by the contractor to ensure that the wells are bored promptly within a tight schedule.

The wells are being drilled at strategic locations throughout the province and then connected to farm, domestic or industrial and commercial installations either through directly laid above-ground polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping, or via an existing distribution network. Water is stored in elevated tanks above the wells to ensure even pressure for distribution throughout the largely flat terrain.

The main contractor for the Provincial Waterworks Authority project is Niam Padit Construction, which organized a mobile team under the subcontractor Noppree Deep Well Water Co. to travel to the sites surveyed by the province’s engineers and to bore the wells. Noppree uses its own drill rig working in conjunction with an Atlas Copco XAHS 365 oil injected rotary screw compressor, delivered by Atlas Copco (Thailand) Ltd.

Chachoengsao province lies in the river plain of the Bang Pa Kong River, with most of the land being rich alluvial deposits of sand and mud, and rocks of granite and limestone. The trailer-mounted hydraulic drill is equipped with a tungsten bit and is digging vertical boreholes working at between 40 and 70 rpm, grinding the granite and limestone it encounters and with the compressed air blowing the fragments and spoil up to the surface. As the ground is essentially soft and the rocky obstructions generally small in scale, there is no need for a down-the-hole hammer or a pounder, so the drill team is able to progress quickly.

A pump is used to extract water from the drilled well into a prefabricated water tower to alleviate acute water shortages in Thailand’s Chachoengsao province.

Atlas Copco’s portable air Product Manager Chanwit Choon, said that the compressor is working at a pressure of 12 bar and delivering a maximum capacity of 21 m3 /min. A Deutz diesel engine powers the machine. Noppree manufactured the drill rig to their own design, which is flexible enough in use to employ a range of drills for different sized well diameters, most usually six inches, eight inches, 10 inches and 12 inches, depending on the potential water flow and the size of the community to be served.

Choon explained that the Atlas Copco machine fits into this broad range of hole diameters because it functions in all of Noppree’s well types and there is no need to consider using another compressor, even for the largest diameters. “The well drilling team is traveling throughout the province and working very quickly to dig the wells, as the water shortages throughout this region have become acute,” he said.

Choon commented: “The water table lies at around 200 m. Moving onto the site the team drills down to the water, using the compressor to speed the drilling process. On average it takes just two days to dig the well. The prefabricated water tower is then erected and a pump placed in the well to suck up the water. As the well progresses it is lined with PVC, and PVC pipes are used to connect the well to nearby villages or agricultural installations. The team then moves on to the next site.”

Atlas Copco (Thailand) Ltd., located on the Wellgrow Industrial State in Chachoengsao province, one of the Eastern region’s largest industrial estates, is Thailand’s premier supplier of air supply systems for mobile and static installations.

Author’s Note

Sam Waes is the divisional communications manager of the Portable Air Division. The Portable Air division within Atlas Copco’s Compressor Technique business area develops, manufactures and markets portable oil-injected and oil-free air compressors and generators for prime or standby power worldwide under several brands to the construction and general industries. The divisional headquarters and main production center are located in Antwerp, Belgium. Atlas Copco is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. Visit the website: http://www.atlascopco.com.

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