Technological Advances Come to Fencing

How Innovative Design Can Improve Operator Safety

Fencing contractors have come to rely on high-speed mechanical earth drills for quick hole digging — and for good reason. These powerful machines greatly increase productivity over manual methods, improving profits and ROI. However, some efficiency is lost on increased labor costs and safety concerns directly resulting from the brute force these machines employ. Some companies — like Little Beaver — have made improvements to the design to allow a single operator to drill safely, saving time, labor costs and reducing the possibility of injury to the operator and damage to the machine.

Torque Transfer

Mechanical earth drill torque tube

By transferring dangerous kickback to the engine carriage as opposed to the handles, one person can safely operate a Little Beaver drill.

One-man drilling leaves the torque generated from a mechanical drill operating at 360 rpm in the hands of one person, a dangerous and potentially costly situation that can leave workers injured, jobs unfinished and insurance claims to be filed. It’s why Little Beaver builds its mechanical drills standard with steel torque tubes to prevent such situations from spinning out of control.

The steel torque tube transfers auger torque and kickback to a separate engine carriage instead of the drill’s handles. Little Beaver makes this possible by mounting the engine on a separate carriage and then connecting the engine to the drill via the torque tube. This makes one-man drilling a safe and efficient reality instead of a potential hazard.

But what happens when the kickback proves too much for the drill?

Centrifugal Clutch

Mechanical earth drill centrifugal clutch

A drill equipped with a centrifugal clutch will automatically slip if it becomes overloaded or strikes an object that cannot be readily drilled through.

Fence installers know the frustration of hitting tough objects, like roots or rocks, that can abruptly halt drilling at the expense of the operator or the drill itself. Quick changes in torque when drilling can destroy a transmission as easily as it can a shoulder. A centrifugal clutch helps to alleviate these hazards and headaches.

As the torque tube mitigates operator risk by reverting the torque back to the engine carriage, the drill’s transmission now takes on the risk of overloading from all the torque and drilling pressure or damage from encountering a buried object. This is where the centrifugal clutch kicks in. A drill equipped with a centrifugal clutch will automatically slip if it becomes overloaded or strikes an object that cannot be readily drilled through. Pairing this feature with a heavy-duty transmission limits the chances for auger and transmission damage or an untimely breakdown.

A centrifugal clutch, along with the steel torque tube, brings repair cost mitigation and safety maximization full circle. The increased safety of the operator combined with one-man operation and the decreased likelihood of a breakdown equals a smaller and more efficient crew that can take on more jobs.

Intuitive Design

Intuitive design leads to fluid operation. A drill operator shouldn’t need to waste time or focus searching for a switch or changing a cumbersome attachment. Time saving features like snap-on augers and handle-mounted on/off switches on Little Beaver drills help to improve operation, increasing efficiency and potentially saving the operator and machine from unnecessary harm.

There is no formula for increasing the number of jobs completed while decreasing labor input. Such a conundrum takes technological advances to overcome, and Little Beaver has done just that. Fencing crews can now complete jobs with less labor, freeing up time and budget to tackle more work safely.