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Akkerman reports on updates to Fort McMurray project

Akkerman has announced a critical crossing took place under Highway 63 near Fort McMurray, AB, Canada. Due to the raveling sand ground conditions, Akkerman’s Total Trenchless Ltd. established exact line and grade with the Akkerman 240A GBM system and installed a 36-in steel casing directly behind the pilot tubes by pipe ramming with a TT Hammer. Then the casing was cleaned out with an MBM auger bore machine. This method allowed Total Trenchless to install the 36-in steel casing online and grade while maintaining positive face pressure.

The West Fort McMurray (WFMAC) 500 kV Transmission Line Project includes over 310 miles of high voltage transmission line, expansion of the existing Livock substation, and construction of the new Thickwood Hills substation, all located in North central Alberta, Canada.

Another update to the project is that an essential component of the Tunnel Boring System, the laser stand, is now positioned over the rails of the skid, behind the pump unit on TBM projects. It serves to correctly house, protect and position the pipe laser for boring accuracy. With the pipe laser protected from movement in the cabinet, its beam shines through the pump unit laser notch down the center line of the tunnel to a fixed point on the TBM cutter head. Between haul unit cycles, the operator lowers the conveyor to check alignment.

Laser standing

Akkerman’s first laser stand was manufactured in 1983 as the 1250 and later 5000 Series Tunnel Boring Systems and the company made 67 of this model. The original laser stand box was sized to house any pipe laser and a car battery for power, with a sliding tube weldment, a lockable cabinet and support tubes legs and stakes that the crew could pound into the ground with a sledgehammer.

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In 2022, a new laser stand was conceived and manufactured with the goals of improved rigidity, ease in fabrication, and ability to top-mount the GEO VL80 Automatic Drifting Laser. This design eliminates the support tubes and stakes therefore increasing the limited real estate in the shaft. Instead, they were replaced with four rugged legs that are inserted into the corners of the assembly base. The legs are intended to be pounded in place using an excavator bucket and extracted by the excavator using a chain that loops through the four lift eyes. The laser stand eliminates many bolts and bolt plates for a more straightforward, simplistic design. Other design changes include a basic laser cabinet since modern pipe lasers are typically removed from the project site, making a lockable cabinet unnecessary.

Currently, both the F21675F and F61087F designs are active. Akkerman will sell its existing inventory and then offer the new model as a standard offering.

2023 marks 50 years in business for Akkerman. Visit the company’s website here to see highlights and photos of their work over the years.

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