Vermeer Directional Drills Integral to Alabama Contractor’s Fleet

Southern Directional trusts the reliability of the HDD machines, with their strong performance that is backed up by solid manufacturer service support

Vermeer Directional Drills Integral to Alabama Contractor’s Fleet

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Southern Directional owns 10 horizontal direction drilling machines, all made by Vermeer. More than half of the fleet is made up of D24x40 S3 units. The smallest machine is a D10x15 S3 and the largest is a D40x55 S3, says Tina Calma, co-owner of the Alabama-based company along with husband Matt.

The S24x40 S3s are the backbone of the fleet because of their versatility. They’re used mainly to perform bores for water and natural gas lines and electrical conduit, Calma says.

“They can handle smaller boring projects and larger-diameter pipes as well,” she says. “And it’s small enough to fit into tight spaces — great for working in right-of-ways.”

The D24x40, first introduced in 1993, is roughly 20 feet long, nearly 7-1/2 feet wide and just more than 6 feet tall (almost 10 feet tall with a cab). It weighs 20,700 pounds.

In terms of power and performance, it offers 28,000 pounds of thrust and pullback, 4,200 foot-pounds of rotational torque and a carriage speed of 240 feet per minute, all of which boost productivity.

But the company also invests in Vermeer machines for reasons other than performance, Calma says.

“They have a great service department that provides great customer service,” she says. “We’ve had other drills where we’ve spent lots of time waiting on parts and service when they break down. Downtime is a productivity killer.

“But if Vermeer can’t get a part to us quickly, they’ll send a mechanic out to us the same day. Their customer service is really what sets them apart. They stand behind their product.”

In terms of reliability, Calma points to one SD24x40 unit that’s 6 years old and still running as well as a newer 2020 model the company recently purchased.

“They cost about $250,000, but we know we’re getting a good return on our investment,” she says. “They’re easy to work on, too. They’re engineered with mechanics in mind.”

Read more about Southern Directional in the March 2021 issue of Dig Different magazine. 


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