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Media / Application stories / Hole lot of reasons Balfour Beatty choose Atlas Copco

Hole lot of reasons Balfour Beatty choose Atlas Copco


At 1.8 kilometres long running beneath the Devils Punchbowl, the twin road tunnels of the Highways Agency A3 Hindhead Tunnel project will be the longest non-estuarial tunnels in the UK. Balfour Beatty, main contractor for the project, reached the stage where they were faced with the task of core drilling approximately 13,000 holes in the walls and floors of the tunnels.

The holes in the tunnels´ shot-crete walls needed to be 40 mm diameter, 150 mm deep and drilled every 750 mm at an upward angle using rigs mounted on the concrete shutter units. The holes in the tunnel floor needed to be 137 mm diameter and 220 mm deep drilled vertically every 2 metres using a portable drill rig. Both sets of holes are needed to ensure total stability of the automatic concrete shutter units when forming the concrete tunnel lining sections in-situ.
Chosen for core-drilling the walls were eight Atlas Copco LCD 1500 hydraulic core drills, two per shutter, each powered by an Atlas Copco 3 phase electric, 20 litres/minute hydraulic power pack.

Dave Carver, Tunnel Agent for the project, is very pleased with the performance: “The drilling rate, reliability and robustness of the Atlas Copco LCD 1500 core drills are far better than the electric core drills being used initially and has saved us a lot of time. When you have thousands of holes to drill, time saved on every hole and lack of breakdowns soon adds up.”

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Atlas Copco is an industrial group with world-leading positions in compressors, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. The Group delivers sustainable solutions for increased customer productivity through innovative products and services. Founded 1873, the company is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 170 countries. In 2009, Atlas Copco had about 30 000 employees and revenues of BSEK 64 (BEUR 6.0). Learn more at

Atlas Copco Construction Tools is a division within Atlas Copco´s Construction and Mining Technique business area. It develops, manufactures and markets hydraulic, pneumatic, and petrol-driven equipment for demolition, recycling, compaction, rock drilling and concrete applications. Products are marketed and sold under several brands through a worldwide sales and service organisation. The division is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has production units in Europe, Africa and Asia.