CZM’s largest drill rig makes its first appearance in Canada

By Lori Lovely

Keller Canada, a branch of the world’s largest foundation contractor worldwide, is using CZM Foundation Equipment’s largest drill rig, the EK 300, to help build Transit City in Vaughan.

While the EK300 has been in production for four years, this unit is the first one in Canada, according to Marcos Cló, CZM’s vice president of sales and marketing for more than 30 years.

The 432 hp rig is mounted on a standard Cat 352 Tier IV chassis with a fully integrated undercarriage. 

“Cat delivers the base chassis; we mount a drill rig or pile-driver rig on it,” Cló said, adding that CZM engineers work with Cat to get the most efficiency from the hydraulic power that can be delivered to perform the drilling functions in several applications. 

The EK 300 onsite at Transit City has been customized for the Toronto application with cable crowd and, therefore, a long rotary stroke to handle long casing segments in addition to the drilling operation. 

Transit City 

The Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is a master-planned, purpose-built business district at the terminus of Line 1 north of Toronto. 

The Transit City project is designed to elevate Vaughan above a bedroom community to a destination and business centre by offering luxury residential high-rises, restaurants, entertainment venues, shopping and retail shops along the six-stop Toronto-York-Spadina Subway Extension, which will connect the suburb to downtown Toronto.

Under construction since 2018, the first three 55-story condominiums are rising above the skyline adjacent to the newly opened TTC subway station, while work on towers 4 and 5 is just beginning.

As part of a 442-acre redevelopment intended to anchor the York Region’s new urban centre, the 100-acre SmartCentres Place around the transit station will build 3.7 million square metres of density into 1,579,351 square metres of residential, office and retail space, built around a 9 acre park. 

The project is a product of Ontario’s Greenbelt and Places to Grow Act  supporting transit-oriented density as “smart growth for the future” and as such, will include new public space at grade.

The CZM EK 300

The EK 300 is the largest drill rig out of about 30 models CZM manufactures, ranging from a Cat 316 base to the Cat 352 base. Its design is known as a European-style drill rig, Cló explains, due to the parallelogram device mounted on it, but it is unique for being designed and built in the United States, as are all models manufactured by CZM. 

This EK 300 model delivers greater maximum torque and increased main winch pull force. 

The rig in Toronto may drill up to a 3.6 metre diameter shaft and 61 metre deep with a cable crowd force of 82,540 foot pounds reaching a maximum torque of 252,000 foot-pounds. The main winch line is capable of pulling 71,000 foot pounds.

“It is a powerful drill rig,” Cló summarizes.

Extendible crawlers add stabilization while operating with the high erected mast. 

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The EK 300 started working on the Toronto project in November and all reports are positive. The Keller Group was already a major CZM customer in the United States, but the Canadian branch is now working with the manufacturer in a rental purchase option, Cló reveals. 

Although Keller has other brands of drill rigs onsite, this is the only unit that comes with Cat support.

The OEM relationship between CZM and Cat provides support through the Caterpillar service network throughout North America. Availability of parts and trained technicians minimize downtime when maintenance is needed.

CZM Versatility

Like others in its line, the EK 300 is designed for ease of use and simple conversion for numerous other piling applications beyond drill shafts. 

“It is easy to convert with parts kits to exchange for different applications,” Cló states, such as short mast for low clearance, soil improvement, displacement pile and CFA. “It has a continuous rotary stroke to get to a depth of 85 feet. It can also use up to six element Kelly bars due to the big inner passage of its rotary head.”

Canadian market

While CZM has designated Globoquip in Montreal as its rental house for Eastern Canada to provide technical support for the CZM rigs and expand the rental market, Canada is a market they have not yet penetrated … but they want to. 

“We’re excited about the Canadian market,” Cló said. “It’s competitive and it’s growing. Next stop will be Western Canada.”