Drilling efficiently is often a two-person job, with a dedicated person guiding the operator to ensure the hole is drilled straight or to the required angle. This process generally requires a person to stand next to the rotating auger with a spirit level to check the angle of the auger and guide the operator to plumb. Surely there’s a better way! Well… there certainly is and what’s even more impressive is the Australian owned company who manufactures the product in Queensland. If you haven’t put two and two together just yet, we’re of course talking about our good friends at Digga and their super ingenious Halo auger alignment system.
The Halo auger alignment system is cleverly built into the hood of the drive unit. A slightly recessed band of LED lights shows all green lights when the auger is plumb. If it is leaning too much to one direction, the LEDs will show several red lights on the side it’s leaning to. Simply put, whichever side of the auger is green, that is the direction you need to go to. Chasing the green colour will see you achieve an entire ring of green, which indicates a plumb auger.
To put this system through its paces we enlisted the help of EEM operator specialist Scott Lidster from Australian Earth Training who had just returned from an overseas training gig. We enjoy working with Scott because he tells it as it is.
Scott shared, “I found the Halo system super intuitive. I just chased the green light – it’s that easy. Something else that jumped out at me was the ease of set up. In about 5-10 minutes the auger was off the back of the ute, fitted to the excavator and ready to go.
Simplicity is a consistent theme – from set up to functionality and even the clever battery system, which magnetises to the hitch or boom, removing the need for wires running back to the machine.”
Watching Scott go through the process of getting a feel for the system was surprisingly quick. We had a nine-hole configuration set up for a deck to be built on top of a hill with some pretty amazing views over the valley.
The first hole Scott had a crack at I could tell he was getting a feel for the system. By the third or fourth hole he had it nailed and was working through the set out a lot quicker than I expected.
“I didn’t have to look away from the auger when working it to view the in-cab inclinometer, which made me feel a lot safer.
Keeping your eyes fixed on the auger itself and the LED indicator lights enables you to have total control of the process, allowing you to drill perfectly straight holes every time. There’s no clunky wiring going back to the cab, you just roll up to a job and start banging holes down. The productivity gains are legit,” said Scott.
Inspecting the holes there was no question of their quality. They were straight as a gun barrel and super clean, which means the holes aren’t oversized and won’t need extra concrete to fill. Also, by keeping the drive unit and auger straight, potential side load is eliminated, which can lead to drive failure and damaged augers.
Some well-designed features and specs include accuracy to +/- .25 degrees and highly visible LEDs, even in bright daylight. The LED ring is recessed into the hood for added protection. There are numerous wiring options available with an optional rechargeable battery, which means no wiring back to the cab and enables straight drilling in seconds.
If angled drilling is required, you can reset the angle of inclination by pressing a button. When drilling holes is a part of your daily tasks, the precision and time savings of this system are going to drastically improve your productivity and accuracy.
Digga is Australia’s leading machinery attachment manufacture with over 80 different attachments, extensive wear and spare parts servicing. Digga is 100 per cent Australian privately owned and employs over 230 staff in three company-owned facilities throughout Australia. EEM was lucky enough to visit Digga’s 12,500 square metre main manufacturing facility in Brisbane last year and to say it’s impressive is a massive understatement. Digga has a long history of 39 years and has managed to continually innovate and impress over this time, and the HALO auger alignment system is yet another feather in the cap of this Australian go-getter.