Asta Infra Tel uses MT900 Trencher combination to install fibre optics in the Netherlands & Belgium
In the coming years, the instalment of fibre optics street for street across the country will become an increasingly familiar sight. This always used to cost cable-laying teams a lot of digging, but not much longer. A leading player in this field, Atsa Infra Tel Ltd., successfully tested a combination of a trencher on an excavator. They tested this unique combination in collaboration with Auger Torque trenching tool importer Verhoeven.
In 1957, the foundation was laid for what we now know as Verhoeven Grondverzetmachines Ltd. with three branches in Maarheeze, Zeewolde and Ninove. Over the years, Verhoeven has developed into a sales and service organisation in the field of earth-moving machines, equipment and undercarriage components. Since 1 June 2017, Verhoeven is the exclusive importer of the Auger Torque brand in the Netherlands and Belgium. Auger Torque is the global market leader in the field of augers and equipment. Auger Torque also has a range of other equipment on offer, including: trenchers, hedge trimmers, cement mixers and pallet forks.
Atsa Infra Tel Ltd.
The company Atsa Infra Tel specialises in providing connectivity infrastructure. Their mission is to ensure that the whole of the Netherlands can be connected to the most modern telecommunications network. With more than twelve years of practical experience, Atsa Infra Tel has built up an impressive clientele consisting of leading main contractors in infrastructure, such as: BAM, Spie, Allinq, VokerWessels and van Gelder. In 2015, Atsa Infra Tel focused on the contracting of projects. Thanks to the presence of experienced personnel, Atsa quickly expanded into a company with a high reputation in the industry.
Fibre optics is booming business
In December 2018, KPN Telecom started laying fibre optics cables in four Dutch cities. Part of the telecommunications company’s new strategy is that it wants to connect one million households to the fibre network by 2021. This strategy is accelerating KPN’s transformation from a telephone company into a modern telecommunications company. T-Mobile has also received approval in Rotterdam to provide 35,000 houses with fibre connections. An estimated 32,000 km or more of cable will be laid in the ground in the coming years.
This can be done more efficiently
Atsa Infra Tel is one of the bigger parties that carry out their own excavation work for laying their cables. The above-mentioned developments mean that without expansion, Atsa Infra Tel cannot take on any more new jobs until 2023! Owner Mr Harun Sarac says: ‘We now excavate most trenches for fibre optics cables using our Takeuchi TB216 machines equipped with a trenching bucket. Considering the large amount of work, we cannot stand still, and we are thus always looking for innovative solutions. As we have been a customer of Verhoeven for years now, we joined forces in looking for new possibilities. The question was a simple one: how can we cut our trenches more efficiently and effectively?
A unique combination of a trencher and a mini excavator
We found the solution to this customer need in the Auger Torque trencher. This trencher is unique in that Auger Torque is the only supplier of trenchers for mini excavators. Whereas you used to have to purchase a caterpillar trencher, you can now simply mount this trencher onto an excavator. Sarac: ‘We no longer want to lay the telecommunications cable at 60 cm, but at 45 cm. This makes it possible to use a trencher without touching utilities. We hope that attaching a trencher to our excavator will speed up our work.’
On a Takeuchi TB240, operator Marc Kursten demonstrates the Auger Torque MT600 with a 100 mm HD chain weighing 254 kg. He achieved an average of two metres a minute, including avoiding tree roots and removing rubble. The test proved that the Auger Torque trencher is the perfect answer to the prevailing market demand for a solution for cutting trenches effectively and efficiently. Sarac was also very impressed. ‘This works fabulously, at least it gets the job done quicker!’, he said. The machine’s power in combination with the trencher ensures significantly better performances compared with separate trenchers that are available on caterpillars.
Once it is level with the ground, the trencher cuts at the optimum cutting angle while retaining the right depth. Drawing the trench is just as simple as reversing the mini excavator. You can cut a perfect trench at a steady pace. Even less experienced operators will find cutting a trench a piece of cake. Sarac concludes by telling colleague companies that ‘the combination of a trencher and an excavator is extremely suitable for laying fibre optics cables such as those provided for by Atsa Infra Tel, but certainly also for companies that lay piping from A to B in greenhouses, for example, or companies that provide drainage solutions. There is plenty of work!’
Even more innovation in the pipeline
Atsa is currently working together with the Delft University of Technology on integrating a soil camera onto the trencher. The objective of this innovative development is to adjust the machine so that it can look into the ground at 1 m deep and 1.5 m wide, as it were, in order to avoid existing cables.