Vermeer Buys Electric Directional Drill Technology

By Mike Brezonick22 December 2020

Vermeer Corp. announced it has acquired electric-powered horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and fluid systems technology from Dutch manufacturer Normag. Through this acquisition, Vermeer assumes the rights to develop, manufacture and distribute the established fully electric HDD rigs, generator sets and fluid management systems, which are currently operating across Europe under the Normag brand. No financial details were provided.

As a global supplier of the HDD and fluid management products, this acquisition is a key part of  Vermeer’s strategy to meet growing demand for electric-powered worksite solutions.

The Normag electric HDD technology incorporates an integrated electric power system designed to optimize efficiency across the generator set, drill rig and fluid management systems during operations. When connected to the electric grid, the system can operate as a fuel-free system. All systems have also been designed to match standard international shipping container dimensions to reduce the machine footprint, jobsite set-up time, complexity and cost, Vermeer said.

“With this technology already proven in operations across Europe, our Vermeer team can now fast-track an electric HDD offering that helps operators better control their cost of operations and worksite impacts through reduced fuel use, near-zero emissions, limited noise and an overall smaller rig footprint,” said Vermeer President and CEO Jason Andringa. “This investment critically supports our innovation and product development focus to continually help customers optimize their worksite efficiency, while limiting environmental impact.”

Eight years in development

The Normag HDD system technology has been in development for more than eight years in the Netherlands. It was purpose-built to help companies comply with European transportation and worksite regulations and meet their goals to lower their environmental and worksite impacts. Drill rig and fluid packages have been piloted with customers across Europe for the last several years.

Because they are European-market ready and tested, Vermeer will focus first on introducing the products to the European customer base to support large-diameter underground infrastructure projects. Products will be sold under the Vermeer brand in partnership with Vermeer dealers.

All product development, engineering, marketing and production for the technology will immediately move to the Vermeer EMEA headquarters in Goes, Netherlands. Vermeer expects that its first rigs and fluid systems will be in production and ready for distribution in Europe by late 2021. That will likely include a system built around a 120-metric ton HDD rig, a 2500 L reclaimer and high-pressure pump.

The company said it also plans to offer additional fluid systems in the first year to establish a range of reclaimers ranging from 750 to 3000 lpm per minute of cleaning capacity.

As the products get established in Europe, the company will look to introduce them in key global markets where electric systems are desired, including North America and Australia. The intent is to bring the products to those markets within the next 24 to 36 months.

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