In the foundation industry, Italian drill rig manufacturer Geax has established itself over the years as a global leader in the design of compact, low headroom and limited access piling rigs.
In a market that becomes more and more competitive each year, contractors that can offer fast solutions in difficult construction sites with tight spaces and limited access are often able to build a significant competitive advantage over the competition. It is in exactly this context that Geax has developed its EK series of foundation rigs, a range of machines that combine a unique architecture with compact size and superior manoeuvrability.
Towards the smaller end of the range, the EK40 has become one of the most popular drilling rigs in the Italian market and then gone on to quickly gain popularity worldwide.
Unlike traditional piling rigs, the unique EK40 architecture is characterised by a supporting long boom and a special sliding mast driven by two hydraulic cylinders. This architecture allows a wide variety of mast positioning, enabling the EK40 to easily drill over obstacles, inside buildings and allowing a very high tool discharge position in specific configurations.
In addition to this, similarly to the other EK machines, the EK40 can be quickly transformed from telescopic Kelly piling into CFA, or other drilling modes such as diaphragm walls, soil-mixing or hydraulic hammer using modular kits.
Another unique feature of the EK40 is the innovative crowd system for CFA piles, which is made by Geax - the BPS system. Thanks to a locking mechanism, the rotary can be locked at any height against the drill mast, and two large hydraulic cylinders can be used to drive the full mast assembly together with the auger to provide a very high crowd force when the hardest soil layers occur.
A trademark of Geax has always been the ability to customise the rig to meet the most specific customer requirements and special applications have been done in the past. In this regard, several options are possible with this rig, including various mast lengths, Kelly sizes and drilling monitoring devices ranging from the most basic to advanced fully-integrated Jean Lutz monitoring systems.
When asked about the EK40, Geax sales director Alessandro Baldazzi notes: "When new customers try the EK40, they are always surprised by the performance of the small machine. With 34kNm of torque and well-engineered and efficient hydraulics, this machine can achieve very good production rates and can drill some surprisingly large diameters in the right soil.
"Another aspect that they often exploit is the stability and manoeuvrability in almost any condition thanks to the expandable track base."
When asked what kind of customers buy the EK40 rig, Baldazzi responds: "Really any kind, from small contractors requiring a flexible drill rig able to perform a variety of jobs to specialised tight access contractors, and even very large contractors in need of a smaller machine which has literally zero installation time and very low running costs, so that they can become competitive in smaller residential jobs."
Giving his opinion on the design and development of the EK40, Geax technical director Matteo Gianangeli adds: "Our goal was to develop a compact and stable machine able to work in any site. We have designed the rotary to be very compact so that the rig can drill very close to the wall, which is often a requirement from our customers. In addition, the EK40 is very fuel-efficient thanks to its last generation 73hp tier 4f diesel engine and an optimised hydraulic system."
Summing up the appeal of the compact rig, Geax's founder and CEO Adriano Pesaresi has this to say: "The EK40 perfectly represents the Geax philosophy: building compact, high-quality rigs with good performance, which can operate in the most difficult construction sites with the maximum possible flexibility."
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