GEL – Drilling on Slopes Since 2006

by Elizabeth Withington 29/06/2015 filed under Drilling


At Geotechnical Engineering Limited we are constantly evolving. We believe in finding better, more economical ways to carry out ground investigations through innovation. We have a wide range of plant to carry out drilling operations in a variety of locations.



Traditionally, any boreholes on slopes involved a delicate balance between cost and achievable depth, with the two options being either hand held windowless sampling or lifting at least one rig on to a scaffold platform. We knew that the hand held gave little or no valuable information and that the scaffold option was both expensive and labour intensive. This resulted in the R&D and subsequent manufacture of our P45 rig in 2006.


The P45 is modelled on a standard tracked windowless sampling rig and is capable of drilling soils to around 12m depending on ground conditions.  It can take SPTs/CPTs and UT100 samples as well as the added benefit of testing to DPH and DHSH(B) standards. Using casing of up to 128mm diameter, the rig can take dynamic samples of up to 98mm and install instrumentation up to 70mm OD.


Given what we had achieved with the P45, we wanted more and so we designed the P60 in 2007.  Modelled on our extensive fleet of Pioneer rigs, the award winning P60 slope climbing rigs are dual purpose and can dynamically sample soils, as well as coring and open holing through rock. The result is one rig to carry out both techniques. 


The P60 can take SPTs/CPTs as well as UT100 samples and, with the Mule assistance vehicle alongside, can safely carry water, ancillary tooling and equipment to each hole reducing the need for manual handling. The rig can case in P or H, can take liner samples up to 146mm diameter and core samples of 92mm diameter respectively and can install instrumentation of up to 100mm OD. Samples can be taken up to 1.50m in length, and with the larger diameter samples Class 1 subsamples can be provided.


Our experienced team of lead drillers and support staff now have over 9 years of experience working with our slope climbing rigs, working safely on slopes in many sectors including road, rail and utilities.  We also continue to work in many different ground conditions throughout the UK.  With innovation being part of our Company ethos, we are continually improving our rig capability, and have recently taken delivery of our fourth generation P60D.  

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