Trenchless technology hands on: TRACTO gives insight into the future of pipeline construction

May 29, 2024

"Why dig trenches when there are better solutions?" To further establish sustainable trenchless construction methods, TRACTO regularly offers its customers and partners the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of the innovative company.

From 15-19 April 2024, the popular "Hands On Days" took place for the 12th time at the company's headquarters in Lennestadt-Saalhausen, providing a unique insight into the world of trenchless technology, TRACTO's product portfolio, its services and current developments in the industry. “TRACTO-CITY" was set up especially for the event in the form of a tent city where the whole world of trenchless technology and its applications were clearly presented. 20 machines were on display and could be viewed at close quarters.

Around 1000 visitors from 30 countries were able to obtain comprehensive information on products and tailor-made services from experts in individual themed tents. More than 30 factory tours gave interested visitors an additional insight into TRACTO's production and quality management. The NODIG systems could be seen in action in more than 100 live demonstrations in the demonstration area and of course all questions could be clarified directly with the experts. Some of the visitors even dared to sit in the operator's seat to get a better feel for the practical side of things.

The "Hands on Days" not only showcased the machines, but also the many related services that TRACTO offers as part of its "one-stop-shop" concept, so that users of trenchless technology can get everything they need from a single source: These services include financing solutions from TRACTO Finance, technical support and site consultancy, a wide range of training courses, geological expertise, as well as a used machines service and online shops solutions.

Technology and knowledge for the future

In many places it was clear that TRACTO is playing a major role in shaping the future of trenchless construction. The first HDD drilling rig with an electric motor, the GRUNDODRILL JCS 130E, could also be seen at work on the demonstration site. A broad programme of 15 presentations in four blocks covering markets, applications and technology trends focused on current topics in pipeline construction, namely fibre optics, power lines, pipe rehabilitation and future topics.

The future of drilling technology and its continued automation, as well as environmental and sustainability issues, were also explored in depth in the presentations, as was advancing digitalisation. Not only were presentations dedicated to these areas, but there were also separate information tents where these important topics could be explored in greater depth in personal dialogue with the experts. Further evidence of TRACTO's innovative strength was provided by the presentation of an interactive network called the "Trenchless Platform", which allows users to participate in digital development initiatives for the drilling rig of the future.

If you ask TRACTO's Head of R&D, Elmar Koch, he will tell you that the long-term goal is to achieve fully autonomous drilling. TRACTO's HDD rigs already use a variety of support systems: Cameras already monitor the drilling process, GPS is used to digitally document the drilling, sensors on the drill head provide information on ground conditions, and other sensors measure distances around the machine and detect hazards. Comprehensive data is also analysed and evaluated to help the operator assess and react to unexpected events during the drilling process.

With the world innovation ORFEUS, which is still under development, it will soon be possible to use radar antennas to detect unexpected obstacles in the drilling process at a distance of about 0.5 metres from the drill head, such as incorrectly mapped supply lines. The hardware evaluates the detected obstacles and triggers a warning if necessary. All obstacles are shown in real time on the drill's display using traffic light colours. The drill stops automatically when the colour changes to red. The ORFEUS ground-penetrating radar makes the HDD process even safer and is an important step towards autonomous drilling; it will be ready for the market by bauma 2025.

Sustainable solutions for all infrastructures

TRACTO's portfolio ranges from classic non-steerable machines like soil displacement hammers and pipe rammers to steerable HDD drilling rigs and bursting rigs for trenchless pipe renewal. The applications for these systems are extremely diverse. They are used in the construction and modernisation of all types of supply and disposal infrastructure, e.g. water, gas, district heating, fibre optics, power or pipeline construction.

The advantages of the NODIG method are obvious: not only are construction times and costs reduced, but the technology also greatly reduces the impact on the environment, which means far less disruption to people and nature. Emissions of CO2, dust and noise are massively reduced, as only pits need to be excavated at the start and end of the borehole, and much less material needs to be moved. Adding trenchless construction methods to the service portfolio is therefore an attractive prospect for civil engineering contractors. To increase the number of tenders for trenchless projects, TRACTO is also providing clients and planners in the pipeline construction industry with information on the advantages of NODIG construction.

TRACTO - everything from a single source

At this event it became clear once again that the total package of premium NODIG machines 'Made in Germany' in combination with industry-specific services is the added value that TRACTO offers its customers and partners. During the "Hands on Days", every visitor was able to see this for themselves - and to get to know the "hidden champion" up close. Much to the delight of the entire TRACTO team, visitors were thoroughly impressed by the combination of exhibition, live experience and knowledge transfer.


TRACTO-Technik GmbH & CO. KG

Paul-Schmidt-Straße 2

57368 Lennestadt



+49 2723 808 0



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