Part of the recent Maasvlakte 2 project at Rotterdam involved a contractor drilling some 180,000 holes in concrete. It is clear that this part of the project would benefit from some level of automation.

The new Maasvlakte harbour, dubbed Maasvlakte 2, required several construction phases, including reclaiming a portion of a seawall and building shipping terminals.

On the northwest side of the harbour, a 2.2-mile-long hard seawall required nearly 20,000 concrete blocks and quarry stones. Contractors placed the 44-ton blocks at the foot of the hard seawall and formed the seaward side around the sandy core with 2- to 4-inch diameter stones to minimize erosion. They covered the landward side with clay and a grass layer.

A 4.6-mile soft seawall, built on the west and southwest side, includes a beach with 46-foot-high dunes with marram grass to minimize wind erosion.

To meet the project’s deadlines, the port authority needed a concrete-drilling company that produced 800 to 1,000 holes per day.

“In the past we’ve used handheld rock drills, which are effective, but don’t feature the precision, reliability and speed of E-Z Drill units,” said Karel Van de Moosdijk, owner of BEMO Betonboor & Zaagtechniek, a concrete drilling and sawing company that received the contract.

BEMO’s crew drilled about 180,000 holes using E-Z Drill’s 3-gang and 5-gang slab rider concrete dowel drills during the three-year project — a drilling rate they would not have been able to safely sustain with handheld drills.

The E-Z Drills’ auto alignment systems also sped production, allowing operators to reposition the units quickly for maximum efficiency — a key feature when drilling nearly 1,000 holes per day.

Beyond speed, the contract required meeting the port authority’s environmental requirements for air quality. E-Z Drill’s concrete dust collection system, which includes a dust boot mounted to the end of the bit guide, gathered the dust directly from the drilled holes. The system clears the air and minimizes silica-dust exposure.

Remco Joon, a 15-year E-Z Drill dealer and owner of Rocbo Boortechniek, offered support throughout the project to further ensure smooth operations.

That teamwork got the project done on time. Maasvlakte 2’s major container terminal companies, APM Terminals and Rotterdam World Gateway, opened for operations in 2015. Each can handle more than 2.3 million containers annually thanks to the expansion.

US-headquartered E-Z Drill was established in 1987 and manufactures slab rider, on-grade and equipment-mounted drills with as many as five gangs as well as vertical utility models and concrete drilling accessories, such as dust-collection systems. E-Z Drill also can custom design and build automatic drill systems for specific jobs.

By Jake Frith