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Technology is ever present, yet its commonplace existence often masks the benefits it can bring, especially to the drilling sector. Against this backdrop, the recent British Drilling Association (BDA) seminar, "Solutions for the Future of the Geotechnical Industry" took to explore technology's many facets, and how it is shaping the sector now and in the future.
The sold-out event, which was held Wednesday 13th February 2019 at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, saw Alistair Chisholm of Arup, opening the proceedings, with his keynote presentation setting the scene for where the geotechnical industry sits with technology and the drivers behind the use and implementation of technology. Alistair also spoke of the need for industry to change and be more receptive to the benefits and advantages technology can bring.
The "Progression in Sonic Drilling & Overcoming Future Limitations" was fascinating topic presented by Rutger van Goethem, of Eijkelkamp/SonicSamp. Specifically, he spoke about the many benefits the technique brings, such as reduced friction on the drill string and drill bit due to liquefaction, inertia effects and temporary reduction of porosity of the soil. Andy Jacques of Epiroc then took up the baton to speak about the not un-related topic of "Automation of Drilling Rigs - Present and Future". Both topics were thought-provoking and drew much discussion.
Following the mid-morning break, Gillian Gow and Wendy McPherson of IKM Consulting, delivered an insightful presentation on Geophysics and 3D Ground Modelling to Produce a Targeted Mineral Investigation. The step-change capabilities of the technique and its possibilities were fully explored too.
Going Digital with the Geotechnical Data Workflow, was the topic of Ian Joyce of Bentley Systems, who offered a unique insight into the digital future and more importantly, its impact on data flow in the geotechnical sector. The need to be open to new solutions was further stressed and how the cloud is already impacting on the way we work.
Roger Chandler, of Keynetix spoke in detail about Using Geotechnical Data and New Technology as a Competitive Advantage. Extremely informative and engaging, the presentation explored how new technology can be put to good use in the geotechnical sector.
Completing the formal presentations, Dr Michael Brown, Reader-Geotechnics, Civil Engineering, University of Dundee, spoke on the topic of Solutions for the Future of the Geotechnical Industry. Specifically, Michael discussed a novel method allowing the correlation of large screw pile installation requirements (torque and force) with CPT.
The post event discussions were lively across all topic and it was clear that the drilling sector is open to new technology and the many benefits it brings, and feedback post-event has supported this view too.
Networking before, at break and after event was very active with 18 exhibitors and continued for a significant time after event, was enjoyed and appreciated by all.