A mobile drilling platform developed by Fugro that switches seamlessly between land and shallow water work has won the Equipment Innovation category in the 2018 Ground Engineering (GE) Awards.

The Fugro Amphibious Buggy (FAB) is an intertidal drilling platform designed to reduce cost and save time while improving safety and quality of geotechnical investigations in coastal and transitional water zones.

The FAB will float, propel itself both in and out of water, and can be elevated to withstand tidal movement and small weather events. The platform comprises two tracked pontoons, a deck area for drilling operations, a power pack to drive crawling and jacking activities, plus a fully enclosed cabin for the operator. The modular design allows mobilization by road or sea; the legs can be assembled at site using a mobile crane to reduce the amount of towage to the drilling location.

Fugro FAB2Depending on site conditions, the FAB ranges from beaches during low tide to an approximate maximum water depth of around 2.5 meters, with potential to complete exploration boreholes up to 80 meters deep.

Winners of the GE Awards were announced at a prestigious ceremony held in London (UK) on 6th June attended by major players in the geotechnical industry from around the globe.

In their critique of the FAB, the judges agreed that the innovation has ‘huge potential to be used on nearshore geotechnical schemes and helps bridge the information gap that exists in geotechnical data in the intertidal transition zone’.

They went on to comment: “Until now investigations for this zone have relied on adapting the techniques used for either a marine investigation or land investigation approach. The amphibious buggy has been proven to work in all environments providing a cost-effective solution to clients to obtain reliable data”.

Blending its capabilities in marine and land-based geo-intelligence, Fugro has been evolving a highly mobile, ‘light footprint’ approach to investigations in what it refers to as the Shallow Transition Zone.

Other Fugro innovations in this area include low ground pressure crawler plant, two-in-one drilling techniques and the walking jack-up platform, WaveWalker 1, a previous GE Award winner developed by a Fugro JV with Van Oord. The company says that the common goal is to enhance safety and efficiency, reduce cost and minimize the impact of ground investigation wherever land and water meet.

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