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Driller to driller - Epiroc TH60 rig reviewed by owner Felix Eye

September 3, 2020

I’m certain other drillers who’ve stood behind a drill rig long enough have fantasized as I have about the perfect rig, creating it in their mind over the years. This is it!
TH60 water well drilling rig in Missouri

Felix Eye, Marshall Eye Jr Drilling Co Inc

Standing at the driller’s console, I’ve dreamed of everything from new gearbox designs to a powder-dry landing strip while I was drilling so I wouldn’t have to mat out of the drill site.

While I admit that landing strip is too much to ask from a rig manufacturer, the TH60 was almost as unlikely a dream. It seemed to me as though someone had squeezed a deep-hole oil and gas rig down to the size of a water well rig – yet kept the power-to-weight so high it was simply mind-blowing. It’s like bringing a baby RD20 to work. Yet, backing into a drill site, it feels more like I’m driving a monster truck pump hoist.


Here in Missouri, we can be working on a forgiving formation that allows us to set 80 feet (24 m) of PVC casing with yields of 30 GPM (6.8 m3/h) at 140 feet (43 m). Yet move a mile down the road, and we are drilling in beaten-up broken rock, gravel-laden path to hell that consumes 200 feet (61 m) or more of steel casing.


You’re drilling your 10-inch hole with goose-egg-sized rocks and sandy creek gravel hailing down on you between rod changes. With that hole, you cut your casing off, go in clean, weld on, push, cut, and repeat until you’re on top. You better have a rig that can back up your last move.


My TH60 has been there, done that, and has plenty of torque and pullback, even when I wondered if my hammer was going to be on the end of my drill string when I came back out.


The TH60 is perfect for situations like these, giving me access to move around under the table. It’s the easiest swinging table I’ve seen. And it is so solid-built compared to any rig I’ve ever run. You don’t hear any rattling from this one.

The operation is quiet since it has no deck engine. This makes my days a lot more productive, reducing my stress level as an operator as I try to think through my next move. I’ve noticed what an advantage that is. I’ve run rigs with a giant fuel-sucking deck engine that threw power to places I didn’t need its power to be. Standing on their decks was like riding a runaway train. I’m not saying the TH60’s 600 hp genie-in-a-bottle is so quiet that you can hear a pine cone hit the ground. It’s a big engine. It can beller like a coal train when you skin the throttle back. But you won’t hear it unless you walk to the front of the truck past the cab. Standing back at the operator platform, it’s surprisingly quiet.

"My TH60 has been like Christmas morning every morning since it came, opening that present up, again and again, each time I take it to another job."

Felix Eye ,Supervisor, Marshall Eye Jr Drilling Co Inc.
With all that power at hand, the fuel savings I’m getting are surprising. I had run it a couple of months when I got a call from the fuel delivery people asking if they’ve done something to upset me. They thought I was buying fuel from someone else. I had to laugh, explaining my new TH60 was probably going to be their worst enemy. My fuel usage has been cut well over half, and much more than that when I’m tripping out. Do the math – instead of tripping on 18.5 gph, I’m running at just 2.5 gph. 

In saying this, I am not at all bashing other manufacturers.  I appreciate the unbelievable amount of time, money, and hard work they put forth in designing and manufacturing their rigs. I know, too, that not every driller has the same situation, style, or preference I do. Everyone is handed their unique situation. But I can say for me, finding the TH60 is the reward of a life-long journey. It started 42 years ago as a 5-year-old kid standing in my backyard blasting holes into the ground with a garden hose and a big red Tonka firetruck, drilling with a down-the-hole hammer I improvised from a 2-pound window weight. My TH60 has been like Christmas morning every morning since it came, opening that present up, again and again, each time I take it to another job.



Deep hole Epiroc Drilling Solutions International well drilling rig 2020 Waterwell