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Media / Product and service news / Atlas Copco launches Elemex - a piling solution for sensitive areas

Atlas Copco launches Elemex - a piling solution for sensitive areas


Drilled casings is one of most popular piling methods for foundations in urban areas. Today consultants are increasingly interested in utilizing DTH hammers in foundation construction. At the same time they are increasingly concerned about the use of compressed air which might cause damage to surrounding structures due to air leakage or overdrilling. To meet this challenge, Atlas Copco has developed a new system and is now proud to present Elemex flushing control casing drilling system.

Elemex air flow

Thanks to the extended ring bit, the air flow is redirected across the bit face, resulting in an efficient flushing without air escaping to the surrounding ground.

Use of DTH drilling systems in foundation construction gives plenty of benefits; high productivity, straight holes and deep hole drilling capacity, just to mention a few of them. However, when working close to existing foundations the method poses one great challenge – controlling the removal of cuttings from the hole with compressed air. The flow of compressed air needs to be strong enough to transport the cuttings up to the surface but must not escape into the surrounding ground or remove excessive soil. This issue is most demanding in sensitive ground conditions. In clay, the compressed air can escape to surrounding working foundations and weaken the adhesion between soil and load-bearing elements. This brings a risk for sudden settlements. In sand, excessive flushing can unconsolidate the ground, decreasing the capacity of existing friction piles, which in turn might cause pile buckling and settlements.
Controlling air escape puts high demands both on the drill rig operator and the casing drilling system itself. Conventional systems push air straight into the ground, which is a feature derived from rock drilling applications where the rock face needs as much air as possible to be cleaned efficiently. However, in overburden drilling conditions flushing should be just intense enough to get cuttings out from the hole, but not more.

Elemex system

An operator attaching the Elemex pilot bit to the drill string

The new and reliable Elemex systemminimizes the air escape to the surrounding ground as the high pressure air never faces the ground directly. The unique concept behind the Elemex design is built on redirection of the air flow. Once the air reaches the bit face, it is blown against the extended ring bit walls which redirects the flow across the face. This way, the air pressure is decreased just enough to allow an efficient flushing of the bit face without escaping to the surrounding ground. By utilizing the Elemex system, not only do you get peace of mind from knowing that neighbouring structures are kept intact and people around the worksite are safe, you also get all the benefits from DTH drilling for maximized productivity. With Elemex no special operator’s training is needed to control the air flushing intensity; Elemex takes care of that for you. During our extensive testing program, consultants on the field have measured the ground water level variation, and with Elemex there has been none to show. Neither have there been any settlements of the surrounding buildings recorded.

For further information, please contact:
  • Steve Greer, Vice President Geotechnical Engineering Business
    Atlas Copco Geotechnical Drilling and Exploration
    Phone: + 46 708 56 96 14                                                                    
  • Mathias Lewén, Vice President Communications
    Atlas Copco Geotechnical Drilling and Exploration
    Phone: +46 702 40 80 06                                                                     

Atlas Copco is a world leading provider of industrial productivity solutions. The products and services range from compressed air and gas equipment, generators, construction and mining equipment, industrial tools and assembly systems, to related aftermarket and rental. In close cooperation with customers and business partners, and with 136 years of experience, Atlas Copco innovates for superior productivity. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the Group’s global reach spans more than 160 markets. In 2008, Atlas Copco had 34 000 employees and revenues of BSEK 74 (BEUR 7.7). Learn more at
Atlas Copco Geotechnical Drilling and Exploration is a division within Atlas Copco’s Construction and Mining Technique business area. It develops, manufactures, and markets equipment for exploration drilling and ground engineering. The division is headquartered in Märsta, Sweden, and its production is organized in specialized competence centres in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.