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Erik Nubberud

Uniting to deliver explosive power

March 22, 2022

Erik Nubberud has his sights set on young, eager miners and rock excavators from his own home town. This has made the company take off even faster than he had ever hoped – with Epiroc as a reliable partner.
Sondre Martinsen

Sondre Martinsen

If the employees at Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS aren’t one big family, they certainly have a tight-knit relationship. Of the nine employees, two of them are brothers. Most of them grew up in the same municipality and have parents who know each other well. Several of their fathers have had the same profession.

Erik Nubberud, owner and general manager of the Norwegian company, is keen to employ skilled workforce who enjoy new challenges at work and who are knowledgeable and respectful of the powerful forces found in rock and explosives. And it’s important that his employees work well together.

“Their work ethic and sense of community have helped me grow faster than I had planned,” says Nubberud.

At the age of 27, he’s the oldest member of the company. Nubberud thrives on the construction site. This is where he meets customers, sees the drill rigs in action, and watches how his employees carry out their assignments. At the same time, he has to manage the company and calculate quotes.

“Both are important, but it’s crucial to keep the balance. If we become too big, I won’t be able to spend as much time out on site,” says Nubberud.

He shows us around Skarsnuten Panorama in Hemsedal Municipality in southern Norway. This will soon host two floors of new vacation apartments, as well as an underground parking garage. Thirty meters further up the hill, the owners of the apartments in project stage one and two have already put up curtains and moved in furniture. The third stage of construction is now underway. Erik Nubberud’s colleagues prepare construction pits for new apartments and delivery routes. The work, which began in June, will take four months to complete. Last winter, they also performed wire rope sawing at a new hotel in the area. They made drill cuttings in the mountain five meters high and blasted right up to the walls of the hotel. They worked in snow and temperatures as low as minus 15°C.

In the background, driller and rock blaster Sondre Martinsen, 23, performs pre-split drilling. The purpose of this is to make a breaking point in the rock to avoid any damage of the rock beyond where they have planned. The machine he operates is a FlexiROC T35 R drill rig. At a speed of 1.5–2 meters per minute, the rig drills eight meters into the rock. There are 20 centimeters between each hole, and each hole has a diameter of 76 millimeters.
Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS

"This was the kind of work I wanted to do when I started as an apprentice with Erik five years ago. Operating the rig and firing off the explosives makes for an exciting work day."

Sondre Martinsen ,Operator, Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS
Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS

Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS

Using the remote control, he moves the 15 ton machine easily around the construction site, making it possible to work precisely and efficiently. The drill rig that Martinsen controls replaced a FlexiROC T30 R, which fell over a short time ago. No employee was injured in the accident, but the machine had to be serviced by Epiroc. The day after the accident, Epiroc sales engineer Johnny Ryen Johansen made sure that the T35 R was in place.

“Reliability, and that we deliver on our promises, means everything to me. This is how we gain trust and a good reputation. Here, the cooperation with Epiroc is important,” says Erik Nubberud.

He adds that Epiroc machines are reliable, but that accidents can happen.

“It shows how important it is to use the remote control, as the operator had also done in this case. This minimizes the risk of injury.”

Six of the seven drill rigs used by the company are from Epiroc. A high degree of reliability and machines that are well-suited to Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging’s varied assignments were a crucial part of his choice. The fact that most aspects of operation can be arranged through a single phone number is efficient – whether parts need to be replaced or instructions are needed on the use of the machines. It also makes it easier for employees to be able to refer to a single management system. Having a good line of communication withEpiroc is also useful for getting the best deals when replacing machines. The joy of doing a variety of different tasks at work is something that motivates the employees we’ve spoken with. They’ve had the chance to see a lot of Norway and have worked in both urban and natural settings. No workday is the same, just like the rock they work with. Part of the reason Erik Nubberud began working for himself in 2016 was the opportunity to manage his own workday. The freedom to choose his direction of work, prioritize assignments himself, and build his own corporate culture made him take the chance at starting the company.

Today he has worked all throughout Østlandet – which, in practice, is a radius of 250 kilometers around Oslo. He wants to be welcoming to his customers and to be perceived as a positive supplier of his services. His good reputation has also contributed to several assignments. In 2018, he had revenue of NOK 15.5 million. By 2020, the figure was 25 million. However, Nubberud reiterates that right now the company is as big as it should be.

Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS and Epiroc

Drill rigs used by Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS are the FlexiROC T15 R, FlexiROC T30 R and FlexiROC T35 R from Epiroc. These were chosen for their reliability and good drilling capabilities. Variation in the size and characteristics of the rigs is important for the company to be able to work as well in narrow urban environments as in large, open quarries. The company also buys most of the drill bits they use from Epiroc.
Erik Nubberud

"If you ask my partner, she’d probably say I spend most hours of the day working."

Erik Nubberud ,Owner and General Manager, Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS
While they have a wide variety of work assignments, some are a little more special than others. Such as when a cottage owner in Hemsedal wanted to build a swimming pool under his cottage. The cabin was built on a mountain, so they had to carry out primary rock breaking, drilling, and blasting right under the living room floor. Erik Nubberud purchased a Husqvarna DXR300 with an Epiroc SB302 hydraulic hammer. The primary rock breaking was performed with a remote-controlled machine, while they used a handheld hammer drill and compressor for drilling. After blasting, the machine excavated a 500 cubic meter mass. The cottage floor was kept intact and the pool was put into place. The drill bits Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging uses on the drill rigs are from Epiroc. They undergo heat treatment and hardening, which makes for a long lifespan.

“When hammering rock 50–70 times a second at 35–40 tons of pressure, it’s crucial to have the right equipment. If the joints of the rods get stuck and the rods bend, it can lead to stoppages and drilling errors,” says Erik Nubberud. He adds: “I'm keen to deliver the best possible services to our customers. And if we can’t deliver what customers want because of the characteristics of the rock, it’s important to explain the reason to the customer.”

Skarsnuten Panorama

  • Located in Hemsedal Municipality, southern Norway. Vacation apartments are being constructed in three projects. There is also a hotel in the same area.
  • Erik Nubberud Fjellsprenging AS carries out blasting, pre-split drilling and rock protection for the apartments to be built. They also do blasting work for culverts and have carried out wire sawing and blasting at the hotel.

Five keys to success

  • Controlled growth
    Started with one employee and one drill rig. Growth has been steady, but has been kept in line with new assignments and new colleagues. A good reputation gives rise to a slow but undoubtedly positive ripple effect.
  • Spending time on site
    Because Erik Nubberud wants to be able to spend time with the employees, the company won’t become too big. Training and working on how to overcome challenges together requires his presence.
  • Employee selection
    It’s important to find employees who are able to both receive and take responsibility, because it's up to them to overcome challenges on their own when they're out at the facilities. They also have to work well together on the job.
  • Understanding the customer
    Understand your customer’s needs and suggest solutions when needed. This is why Erik Nubberud spends a lot of time at the sites. It’s important to stay flexible and to be able to come out on short notice when needed.
  • Reliable machines
    Breakdowns are costly and present major challenges. Close cooperation with Epiroc provides operational reliability and good service plans. It is also economically beneficial to renew the drill rigs at the right time.

FlexiROC T30 R Construction Edition 2022 International FlexiROC T15 R FlexiROC T35 Surface and Exploration Drilling division Customer story FlexiROC T30 R Quarry Edition

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