40 years of Bauer rotary drilling technology:
Schrobenhausen, Germany – Bauer foundation piles support the glass dome of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany; the 828-meter-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai stands on Bauer foundation piles – Bauer has influenced specialist foundation engineering since the mid 20th century.
40 years ago, a rotary drilling rig that outshone every other competitor's equipment arrived on construction sites: the BAUER BG 7. In 1976, the new machine surpassed the drilling systems available on the market with its technical innovations, which increased the performance capacity as well as reliability: In addition to the strong mast, there was a massive kelly bar, an additional rope winch, a crowd cylinder system and a hydraulic drive with a kind of torque that had never been seen before.
Along with the anchor drilling rig developed a few years previously, the BG 7 meant a major step in Bauer mechanical engineering. At that time, there was a significant increase in the pile drilling work at Bauer, primarily using the grouted anchor invented in-house. However, the work with the drilling equipment which was standard at the time was technically unsatisfactory. Those systems were too light in all aspects. There was not only a relatively weak mast, but also a delicate square kelly that frequently broke. Other weak points were a fragile chain feed and a torque that was way too low. Dr. Karlheinz Bauer, the head of the company at that time, decided: Let's construct the machines ourselves, drilling has to be more efficient.
Dr. Karlheinz Bauer and mechanical engineer Hans Haberer poured a lot of courage and new ideas into a new concept. The individual components were focused on what was essential – on pile drilling – and nothing else. They utilized the experience accumulated on many construction sites.
The BG 7 was first used on construction sites in North Bavaria, in Nuremberg and Bayreuth. It had to be worked out how the new machine affected the acquisition and calculation of projects; the time required for a construction site had to be re-calculated. Where earlier two piles could be constructed in a week, the new machine was capable of constructing several piles in one day. However, the adjustment phase was short, and the teams on construction sites were enthused by the new advantage over the competition. A crucial technical leap was soon brought about by a revolutionary new development – the lockable kelly bar.
The BG 7 was originally intended only for own construction operations; however, the competition was eagerly looking at the machine which gave Bauer Spezialtiefbau an economic advantage over others. Finally, it was decided to sell the machines. The following years and decades proved that the trump card for the further development of mechanical engineering of Bauer was the close contact of practical experience in construction and machine design. Construction managers would recognize problems when using the machines and would give feedback to the designers. A lot of suggestions also came from the construction sites outside Germany.
It took barely three months to design and build the first rotary drilling rig. The rapid success of the BAUER BG 7 can be seen from the numbers: In the first year, two machines were built, again two in 1977, then nine in 1978, eleven in 1979, and as many as fourteen in 1980. Bauer rotary drilling technology was shown at Bauma for the first time in 1980 – meanwhile, the larger BG 11 was already in use.
Bauer participated in Bauma 1989 for the first time with its own stand, showcasing the BG 30 rotary drilling rig. Today, Bauer is the world market leader providing a full range of specialist foundation engineering equipment.