18th International No-Dig Conference and Exhibition

The 18th International Conference and Exhibition, which is the trenchless technology’s industry showcase, was the first to be held in the southern hemisphere. The staging of the 18th International No-Dig Conference and Exhibition in Perth last October was the culmination of an exhaustive four-year effort by a small-dedicated local ASTT committee under the chairmanship of conference convener Menno Henneveld. 
The results of these efforts were realised when a record attendance of some 600 delegate from as many as 32 countries attended. 
The event was sponsored by organisations including Vermeer, Kembla Constructions, Vinidex, Underground Services Australia, Dial Before You Dig, WA Water Corporation, Georgiou Group and Iplex Pipelines.

Industry Breakfast
Outside the main program, an industry breakfast was held prior to the official opening where the distinguished Frank Canon briefed the local industry on the many benefits that trenchless technology can offer the industry and gave his perspective on where no-dig excavation techniques are heading in Australia and overseas. Gert Fischer and Menno Henneveld also presented at this well attended session.

Pictured is Frank Canon (Baroid Industries) addressing industry representatives.

Welcome Reception
The welcome reception was held on a balmy Perth evening around the pool area of the Burswood Hotel. International visitors to Australia got more than they had bargained for when the Mucky Duck Bush Band opened up. Visitors were also given a special treat as they were allowed to handle native Australian animals including the koala, kangaroo and wombat.

Opening Ceremony

Western Australian Premier Richard Court officially opened the conference and in doing so welcomed all the delegates to Perth and invited them to network, look at the world class exhibition at the Burswood Dome, enjoy the conference and to take advantage of the fabulous facilities that Perth has to offer. 

Pictured is the Premier of Western Australia, Richard Court.

Pictured  from the left, Menno Henneveld, Chairman of ASTT and Vice President of ISTT, Dr. Satoru Tohyama, Chairman of JSTT and President of ISTT, The Premier of Western Australia, Richard Court and Gert Fischer, Chairman of SSTT and Chairman of ISTT.

Key Notes — Dr Ray Sterling

The vital role of trenchless technology in the future of the utility sector was outlined by keynote speaker Dr Raymond Sterling, Director of the Trenchless Technology Centre at the University of Louisiana.

He pointed out that more than 3.5 million miles of underground utility services - involving water, sewer, electric, gas, telephone, cable and other services to industry, business and homes - exist in the US alone.

Ten years ago, it was 
estimated  that 300,000 miles of underground utilities were installed throughout the world each year, at a market value of $35 billion. With the installation of fibre optic cable networks booming, the current figure would certainly be much higher, Sterling said.

After assessing some of the technological improvements taking place, he said: "There seems little doubt that this remarkable new set of tools for working remotely underground will continue to grow in importance over the coming decades.

"Future engineers will understand trenchless technologies as well as they currently understand conventional technologies.

"They will appreciate their benefits and their problems and will think of them as the standard tools with which to install and maintain our underground utility systems.

"In addition, trenchless techniques will have many applications to other types of underground works that are very poorly explored at present."

Key Notes — Pr. Bandi Horvat

In keeping with the No-Dig conference theme of underground space technology, keynote speaker Bandi Horvat gave the delegates to the Perth meeting an exciting picture of cities of the future transporting many of their goods in below-surface freight networks.

Several Dutch cities are already conducting feasibility studies into the establishment of Underground Logistic Systems, in which unmanned 

automatically guided vehicles would carry pallets of goods through 3m diameter concrete tubes that would be constructed at around 3-5 metres below the surface. On emerging from the underground tubes at terminals, the pallets/containers would simply transfer into the existing system of sea, road, rail and air containers.

Horvat, emeritus professor of Underground Space Technology & Subsurface Construction at the Delft University of Technology and Chairman of the Netherlands Trenchless Technology Research Group, said the ULS could represent an innovative development of pipelines beyond their traditional uses. "Networks for drinking water, waste water and natural gas are some of the basic facilities we take for granted in any built-up area, while the underground transport of gases and liquids has been commonplace for many years," Horvat said. "It is also important to realise that the transportation of gases, crude oil, hydrocarbon products and chemicals through (properly designed and maintained) pipelines is highly preferable from a safety point of view." He said the Dutch interest in the possibilities of underground transport in urban areas was being spurred by the availability of new technology such as trenchless methods for implementing and maintaining tubes in built-up or environmentally sensitive areas.

Horvat said that, while non-traditional systems of underground freight transport would have favourable impacts on the urban environment and accessibility, their feasibility depended on their cost-competitiveness. "The necessary system change requires the transport sector to accept and undergo a radical switch in the logistic choice approach, which seems, up to now, to be the weakest point for introducing underground freight transport," he said. "Therefore a leading role of government, in close cooperation with private sector partners, remains essential for developing and introducing underground freight transport.

"In the decision concerning government contribution, social benefits should also be weighted such as avoiding investment in other modes of transport, improvement in environmental quality, safety and the quality of life, deepening logistics know-how and, last but not least, economic functioning of urban areas."


Alongside the conference in the Burswood International Resort, the 2200sq.m exhibition in the adjacent Burswood Dome was the largest trenchless technology display ever mounted outside North America. 

The exhibition also exceeded expectations where some 250 people were involved as exhibitors representing 120 exhibits each displaying their products. This massive display really illustrated the immense support for the three day conference and exhibition.

Conference Program

The conference program consisted of the keynote sessions on the opening day, and was then split into concurrent sessions, field demonstrations and on the last day, there was three concurrent workshops on major topics: micro-tunnelling, horizontal directional drilling and sewer rehabilitation.

The theme of the conference was "Underground Space Technology - the hole solution". Some 44 speakers from around the world addressed a range of issues relating to the technology and its applications.

No-Dig Live

In addition, the No-Dig Live demonstration in the nearby GO Edwards Park allowed several leading international and Australian companies to show their latest equipment in working mode to delegates from around the world.

1999 No-Dig Award

An ambitious pipe-bursting project in the Canadian City of Nanaimo has been named the winner of the 1999 No-Dig Award by the International Society of Trenchless Technology.

The awards, announced at the official dinner during the No-Dig 2000 conference in Perth, included high commendations for the WA Water Corporation’s Kalgoorlie water pipeline maintenance program and a new driving control system for microtunnelling machines developed by the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation of Japan. The winning projects were chosen from eight entries for the annual awards.

The Nainamo project utilised pipe bursting trenchless technology to increase the size of some 4km of asbestos-cement wastewater pipe without excavating to remove the existing pipe.

The use of the pipe bursting technique, in which an expansion head is pulled through the existing pipe to break it apart and allow a replacement pipe to be pulled into position, greatly reduced the environmental impact on a sensitive river basin and reduced disruption on private properties, riverbanks and agricultural lands.

The project was completed a month ahead of schedule and $600,000 under the $5.4 million budget.

Perth NO-DIG 2000 Interactive Workshop Communiqués

On the final day of the Perth NO-DIG 2000 Conference and Exhibition, three simultaneous workshops in the areas of microtunnelling, rehabilitation and horizontal directional drilling were undertaken. The aims of these workshops was to determine those issues of international significance which could impede the rate of growth in each of these key areas.

Some of the key issues raised include:
Rehabilitation -
Education; Continuity of Work; Integration with Asset Management; Improve Program Management - planning, design and project management; Results of Rehabilitation; Training and Lack of International Standards.

Microtunnelling - Variable Ground Conditions; Reliable Geotechnical Information; Risk Sharing; Education; Communication; Shortage of Trained Operators; Jacking Pipe Materials; Shortage of Design Engineers that understand Microtunnelling;

Horizontal Directional Drilling - Contractor/Client Relationships; Risk Sharing; Specifications fit for Purpose; Poor Planning and Design; Inexperienced Operators; Australian Standards; Community Awareness; Look Ahead Steering Systems; Faster joining of HDPE; Mapping of Existing Subsurface Obstructions.

Those areas where issues were identified will provide valuable input into the Strategic planning processes for both ISTT and ASTT, and will prove very useful as a guide in setting future directions.

Closing Ceremony

Speaking at the closing session of the conference, International Society for Trenchless Technology Chairman Gert Fischer congratulated the Perth committee on an extremely well organised and run event that had launched trenchless technology into the 21st century.

Those involved with the technology were fully aware of the advantages of trenchless excavation, but the industry had to do much more to convince the general public, utility managers and politicians of the merits of no-dig. "I know our work is almost invisible - that’s part of the problem," he said.


Golf Day

Also outside the main three day program was the No-Dig Cup golf day. This event was held at the Joondalup Golf Course and there were some 56 players participated. The winner with a stableford score of 42 points was Steve Dewar.

Excerpts from this story
courtesy Mining Monthly   

Refer also to the Perth No-Dig 2000 Conference Summary Report 

Last Updated on 8 January 2001