Atlas Copco portable air compressors for foundation drilling

Compressed air in foundation drilling operations

For many construction projects today, foundation drilling is a crucial step in the process. It provides solid foundations for structures being built and helps ensure their stability and safety over time. Portable air compressors provide compressed air needed to power drilling rigs and other equipment used in foundation drilling.

How does Atlas Copco contribute to improved productivity and efficiency in foundation drilling?

Ensuring the most efficient point

Industry-leading technology provides the perfect combination of best drilling speed with optimized fuel or energy consumption.

Resisting tough working conditions

DrillAir range is built to withstand demanding conditions and ensures reduced downtime. Smart electronics extend the lifetime of critical components of your Atlas Copco's portable air compressor.

Reducing environmental impact

Our DrillAir compressors offer industry-leading fuel efficiency. Which is achieved by combining best-in-class engines and an in-house designed oil-injected screw element. Electric powered models are also available.

What is the role of portable air compressors in foundation drilling?

Foundation drilling involves drilling deep holes in the ground to create the foundation for buildings, bridges, and other structures. The process requires heavy machinery, including drilling rigs, that rely on compressed air to function.

Portable air compressors provide the compressed air needed to power the drilling rigs and other equipment used in foundation drilling. The compressed air is used to power pneumatic hammers.

How to choose the right portable air compressor for foundation drilling?

It starts with defining basic running parameters such as air delivery rate and operating pressure. The air compressor must provide enough air flow and pressure to power drilling equipment. The right model is determined by the project-specific data, including soil profile, drilling method and depth. 

Atlas Copco experts are here to help. We can find the best solution for your needs. We can also advise on other important factors for maximum efficiency and a fast return on investment.

What makes Atlas Copco's offering for foundation drilling operations stand out from others on the market?

Atlas Copco's AirXpert technology provides the most efficient point

Designed with efficiency in mind, so you always get the perfect fit

AirXpert technology provides the perfect combination of the best drilling speed with optimized fuel or energy consumption. Thanks to automatic control of the compressor's key operating parameters depending on the current demand for compressed air.

Dynamic Flow Boost is another great technology for drilling applications. It allows you to increase the flow when flushing and during drill stem refill. It means faster flushing, faster stem refill and a shorter time to finish a well.

The Atlas Copco DrillAir series is designed for demanding foundation drilling applications

Drilling is a tough business, so you need the quality you can rely on
Regardless of which Atlas Copco compressor is chosen, you can be assured that in addition to superior performance and efficiency, special attention has been paid to overall product quality and serviceability. DrillAir range compressors are built to withstand harsh conditions and heavy use, ensuring that they can operate reliably in demanding foundation drilling applications.

A short frame makes it possible to carry both DrillAir compressor and drill rig on one truck

Logistics is a significant expense, so you can get a benefit here
Atlas Copco air compressors are easy to move from one site to another, thanks to their compact size and easy-to-transport design. This makes our DrillAir series smart choice for foundation drilling applications where the equipment needs to be frequently moved from one site to another. A short frame makes it possible to carry both DrillAir compressor and drill rig on one truck.

Atlas Copco offers diesel and electrical driven portable air compressors. Which option is right for you?

The choice between electric or diesel-driven air compressors is mainly influenced by the availability of a reliable on-site power supply.

If there is no access to electrical power or power outages are common, a diesel-powered air compressor might be the most obvious choice. At Atlas Copco, we make sure our diesel air compressors are ones of the most fuel efficient and comply with the latest environmental standards.

An electric air compressor can offer you great flexibility if you have access to a reliable power source. It will certainly contribute to sustainable operation and reducing the environmental impact. No emissions are produced, and noise levels are extremely low.

Atlas Copco's electric air compressors with VSD technology are game-changing when it comes to performance and energy efficiency.


Customer story: Impressive efficiency of Atlas Copco portable air compressor for drilling operations in Spain

Spanish geotechnical drilling expert, Cimentaciones Abando, offers their customers years of field experience and precision work for projects that range from land exploration to foundation drilling. 

The results were very positive: the H23 (Atlas Copco DrillAir model) outperforms comparable compressors when it comes to fuel efficiency. We were surprised to see that fuel savings easily exceeded 20%, over the whole operation cycle and even more at partial load.

Julen Abando , Fleet Manager at Cimentaciones Abando



Basics to know about foundation drilling

What are different types of drilling techniques used in construction industry?

There are several popular foundation drilling techniques used in construction, including:


1.    Auger drilling technique involves using a rotating helical screw blade to remove soil or rock from the ground. Auger drilling is commonly used for shallow foundations and is particularly useful for drilling through soft or loose soil.

2.    Drilled shafts, also known as bored piles, are deep, cylindrical foundations that are drilled into the ground using a large diameter drill bit. Drilled shafts are commonly used for large structures, such as high-rise buildings and bridges.

3.    Caissons are similar to drilled shafts but are typically larger in diameter and can be drilled deeper into the ground. Caissons are often used for heavy or tall structures, such as bridges, dams, and skyscrapers.

4.    Micropiles are small diameter piles that are typically less than 12 inches in diameter. They are often used in limited access or low overhead clearance areas, and can be installed in a variety of soil and rock conditions.

5.    Continuous flight auger piles are similar to auger piles. But instead of removing soil or rock from the ground, they use a continuous flight auger to drill into the ground while simultaneously injecting concrete or grout into the hole. They are commonly used for medium to large structures.

6.    Vibro stone columns are a ground improvement technique that involves inserting crushed stone into the soil using a vibrating probe. This technique is used to improve the load-bearing capacity of weak or compressible soils and is commonly used in foundation construction.


Overall, the choice of foundation drilling technique will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the project, as well as the soil and rock conditions at the job site. A qualified foundation contractor will be able to recommend the best drilling technique for a particular project based on these factors.

How does foundation drilling affect the environment?

Some of the ways in which foundation drilling can affect the environment include:


1. Soil disturbance: Foundation drilling can disturb the soil, leading to erosion and soil compaction.

2. Noise pollution: Foundation drilling equipment can produce high levels of noise, which can be disruptive to nearby residents and wildlife.

3. Air pollution: The operation of foundation drilling equipment can release dust, fumes, and other pollutants into the air.


To ensure sustainable practices, various regulations have been put in place by governments and industry bodies.


1. Permitting and approvals

Foundation drilling companies are required to obtain permits and approvals from local and state authorities before commencing drilling activities. These permits and approvals specify the environmental conditions that must be met during drilling operations.

2. Environmental Management Plans

Tha plans are developed to manage the environmental impact of foundation drilling activities. These plans outline best management practices for soil and water management, noise reduction, and air quality.

3. Soil and Water Management

Regulations require foundation drilling companies to implement soil and water management plans to minimize soil disturbance and prevent erosion. For example, sediment control measures such as silt fences and sediment basins can be used to prevent soil from washing into waterways.

4. Noise Management

Regulations specify maximum noise levels for foundation drilling activities and require noise reduction measures such as sound barriers and noise barriers to be implemented.


Overall, regulations and sustainable practices are essential to ensure that foundation drilling activities are conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner. These regulations help minimize the environmental impact of foundation drilling and protect the health and well-being of nearby communities and the natural environment.

What are the key factors affecting efficiency of foundation drilling operations?

There are several the key factors that affect the efficiency of foundation drilling jobs.


1.    Soil conditions: The type of soil or rock being drilled through can significantly impact the efficiency of foundation drilling. If the soil is very hard, it may be challenging to drill through, and the drilling process may take longer. On the other hand, if the soil is too soft, it may be difficult to maintain the stability of the hole, which can slow down the drilling process.

2.    Type of drilling method: Different drilling methods have different levels of efficiency. Some methods, such as continuous flight auger (CFA) drilling, are faster and more efficient than other methods, such as bucket or clamshell drilling.

3.    Drilling equipment productivity and efficiency: Performance of drilling equipment has a considerable impact on the efficiency of drilling process. More powerful drilling equipment can drill deeper and wider holes, which can speed up the process. However, it is important to balance performance and cost efficiency.

4.    Skill and experience of the drilling crew: The skill and experience of the drilling crew can also play a significant role in the efficiency of foundation drilling jobs. Experienced crews are typically more efficient and can complete jobs more quickly than less experienced crews.

5.    Weather and environmental conditions: Weather and environmental conditions can also impact the efficiency of foundation drilling. Heavy rain or high winds can make it more difficult to work, and extreme temperatures can also impact the performance of the drilling equipment.

6.    Access to the job site: The accessibility of the job site can also impact the efficiency of the drilling process. If the site is difficult to access, it may take longer to transport equipment and materials, which can slow down the drilling process.


By considering these factors and implementing effective strategies to address them, foundation drilling jobs can be completed more efficiently and effectively. 



7-35 bar / 20-45 m3/min

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