It’s common sense among contractors that renting can be a cost-effective way to supplement their fleet when they need an extra piece of equipment or a project calls for a machine they may not utilize frequently. Rental stores carry a wide range of excavators, loaders and aerial equipment, but what happens if you’re looking for something more specialized, like a steering system for an auger boring machine? Most rental stores aren’t going to carry it, so do you have to buy it? Not necessarily. Renting may still be an option for you through your local dealer or the manufacturer.

What is an auger boring steering system?

Auger boring may be one of the oldest trenchless installation methods, but there is still room for innovations. One of the main complaints that contractors share about auger boring methods is the limited ability to steer, which reduces the likelihood of them using an auger boring machine to perform on-grade and on-line work. That all changed with the introduction of the McLaughlin On Target steering system. With the On Target steering system, you can control the direction of the bore vertically and laterally. Moreover, getting started with an On Target steering system is easy, because of McLaughlin’s flexible rental and purchase options that include onsite support from a trained expert for up to three days at no additional cost.

How it works

The On Target system is designed to work with any auger boring system ranging from 16 to 60 inches (15-152 cm) in diameter. You just need to attach the appropriately sized steering head to the casing being installed and connect a few hydraulic, electrical water lines to the system’s self-contained control system. A vertical alignment sensor on the control station provides continuous monitoring of grade, while twin-line halogen projection lights enclosed in the steering head gives the operator the ability to check and maintain the line throughout the bore. Any adjustments vertically or horizontally can be made from the operator station using hydraulic actuated flaps that open and close to keep the head on the intended path.

When to rent

According to Dave Gasmovic, business development manager for McLaughlin, renting an On Target steering system is an excellent option for anyone who has never used a steering system like this before. “Using the system doesn’t add many steps to the auger boring process, but the ability to accurately measure where the drill string is during the process helps improve overall productivity,” he explained. “On-grade and on-line case installations can be done in one pass instead of doing multiple passes with pilot guided boring.” With every rental, McLaughlin will send out an auger boring expert to ensure that your crew gets everything setup correctly and help explain how to use the steering system. After that, help is always just a phone call away. “The system is easy to use, but we’ve found that having someone onsite who has used the system before helps gets a job up and running more quickly,” said Gasmovic. “The onsite resource can help make sure everything is setup correctly, show the crew how to read the system’s indicators and show them how to make adjustments.” After every rental, the team at McLaughlin refurbishes the On Target steering heads to like new conditions. “Many contractors prefer to rent because they don’t want to handle the maintenance work. Instead, they get a steering head ready to work at the start of every new project,” added Gasmovic. McLaughlin offers flexible rentals of the On Target steering system. You can rent a steering head and the control station together, purchase a control station and rent various sized heads when you need them, or just rent an uncommon steering head from time-to-time. To get started with renting, contact to your local McLaughlin dealer or you can give Gasmovic and his team a call at 864-277-5870.

When to buy

If you perform on-grade, on-line bores on a regular basis, purchasing the On Target steering system may be more economical. Gasmovic said contractors can recoup their initial investment in as little as three to four projects. “Many contractors will purchase the control system and commonly used steering head sizes,” he explained. “The main sizes that we see contractors purchasing are 24 inches (61 cm), 36 inches (91.4 cm) and 48 inches (121.9 cm), but it all comes to down to personal preference and how many jobs a contractor has forecasted for a particular head size.” If you’re not sure if you should rent or buy a system for your particular project, give your dealer or the team at McLaughlin a call, and they can help you decide. No matter which option you choose, the McLaughlin On Target steering system will make the old “poke and hope” way of performing auger bores a thing of the past.

Have questions about the auger boring or the McLaughlin On Target steering system? Give McLaughlin a call at 864-277-5870.

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