Water Well Journal

February 2021

Water Well Journal

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/1330849

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Page 27 of 59

There is no doubt when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic exploded last year it put a crunch on everyone working in the groundwater industry. However, according to Keith Jack- son, the international sales director at Infinity Tool Mfg., signs are pointing to this year looking better. "Our customers seem to be as busy as ever and are reporting the initial signs for 2021 look very good," he said recently to Water Well Journal. Infinity Tool is headquartered in Benton, Illinois, while Jackson lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, in the Pennines, a picturesque range of hills and mountains running up the spine of the country. The company manufactures a line of PDC bits, downhole bits, horizontal directional drilling consumables, and drilling accessories. Its products are suited for the water well, geother- mal, oil and gas, mining, construction, horizontal directional drilling, and geotechnical markets. Infinity Tool's staff boasts more than 100 years of combined experience in the drilling industry. Jackson has personally worked in the rock drilling industry since he was 18 and joined Infinity Tool in early 2019 to continue the company's international growth. With a business-to-business marketing background, includ- ing running his own marketing and commercial photography company for 15 years, he is responsible for the Infinity Tool's marketing around the globe. The February 2021 issue of WWJ focuses on drilling bits, tips, and techniques, so we thought it was the perfect time to catch up with Jackson. Water Well Journal: How were business sales in the water well and geothermal markets in 2020 here in the United States? Keith Jackson: The year 2020 was a challenging year for all in the drilling industry. During the first wave of the pandemic, we had to close our manufacturing facility due to state guidance (in Illinois). But from May 2020 onwards, we saw a recovery in the market as drilling contractors started to operate again throughout North America. We have also set up a number of new customers internationally, including distributors in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. WWJ: How does bit weight affect success on water well drilling jobs? Jackson: Bit weight isn't the main factor for a successful drilling job; choosing the correct bit type and design for the ground conditions is the most important consideration. There are many different rock tool technologies available for water well drilling including cable tool, tricones, DTH hammers, and PDC bits. Each technology is suited to different ground conditions. For instance, tricones are versatile bits with an option for nearly every type of rock, especially above 25,000 psi com- pressive strength. As well as being low in initial investment, they also have excellent impact resistance, which makes them suitable when the rock is fractured. PDC bits are excellent for drilling in soft shale/hard clay conditions up to solid rock at 25,000 psi. In these ground conditions, they offer higher speed, longer life, and increased steerability. They also put less stress on the drill rig due to lower torque required and less vibration on the drill rods, producing clean holes with a consistent size. We have a number of resources to help our customers choose the correct bit online at www.infinitytoolmfg.com/ resources. WWJ: What are some other factors that contractors tend to overlook on their bit that hamper success on a drilling job? Jackson: Operating specifications are very different for the various type of drill bits. For example, the maximum weight on bit (WOB) for a PDC bit is significantly less than a tricone, whereas the minimum rpm is higher for a PDC bit. I encour- age any contractor to get in touch with Infinity if they require advice for specific ground conditions. WWJ: How can water well contractors know when to send their bit in to be retipped? Jackson: The main factor in determining this is either a vi- sual inspection of the bit or a reduction in penetration rates. If contractors are unsure whether a bit needs repairing, they can send a few images of the bit to Infinity and we'll let them know if the bit is repairable with an estimation for completing the work. WWJ: What is the most common bit you repair in the water well and geothermal markets? Jackson: PDC reamers are one of the most cost-effective rock tools to repair instead of replace. This can either be replacing some of the cutters to a complete refurbishment including new blades. WATER WELL JOURNAL Q&A KEITH JACKSON OF INFINITY TOOL MFG. International sales director talks drill bits and success on the drilling site. By Thad Plumley waterwelljournal.com 26 n February 2021 WWJ Keith Jackson

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