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Orfeus: smart guided drilling

RICE takes part in the European research project Orfeus (Operational Radar for Every drill string Under the Street), aiming to develop a drill tip radar. Its goal is to make drilling smarter and more efficient.

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Portrait of a GRTgaz Sector Manager - Franck Dunouau

Are trenches a necessary evil?

Nowadays, many of our networks are buried: traditional underground networks like water and gas, as well as electric and communications grids.

Creating or expanding a buried network often means digging trenches. This heavy construction can disturb residents and local economic activity, while also tearing up roads and other facilities in urban areas. Fortunately, trenchless drilling has emerged in the last twenty years to help overcome this constraint. The only problem: this technique is generally done “blindly” and thus risks damaging other buried works.

Building on more than 15 years of R&D at an estimated cost of 20 million euros, Orfeus (Operational Radar For Every drill string Under the Street) is a project supported by the European Union that brings together a dozen partners (network operators, industry and academics) from 7 countries (France, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland) to develop a solution for securing trenchless drilling.

Orfeus, a project full of ideas!

Researchers on the Orfeus project developed a guided drill tip radar. When the radar detects an object (buried object or another network, for example), it diverts the drilling operation to avoid it.

This technology offers many benefits:

A mechanical and electronic solution

Orfeus enables the following:

The project has carried out several successful tests on test sites, including the RICE detection ground, and on actual worksites. The Orfeus solution’s industrialisation phase will take place from 2018-2020 through a global partnership (Europe, United States, Brazil, etc.). The success of this phase will open many opportunities in numerous global sectors.

To learn more