Earthmoving News

Digga marks 40 years of innovation with Halo Auger Alignment system

Australian machinery attachment manufacturer Digga draws on a rich 40-year history of innovation in bringing its HALO auger alignment system to the local market, with its latest release costing a fraction of traditional cab-mounted systems and decked out to deliver a range of efficiency and productivity benefits.

With a staff of 13 engineers, Digga is constantly looking to upgrade its products, improve its manufacturing processes and develop new attachments, staying at the forefront of market trends, and it is this philosophy which lead to the joint development of the HALO system with a local design firm.

In line with Digga’s commitment to product quality, it’s notable that the HALO took over four years to arrive to market, having undergone a multitude of design changes and improvements to ensure the final product was easy to use, accurate and able to withstand the rigours of drilling and handling.

This is a process which encompassed rigorous testing for vibration through simulated bench testing and real-life rock drilling, with working units also spending a great deal of time submerged in hot and cold-water baths, undergoing plenty of rough treatment to replicate real working conditions.

Once this in-house testing was completed, a small number of HALO units were sent out into the field for customer use – and, following customer feedback, a few tweaks were made before testing on a large scale was rolled out, with an additional 100 units deployed.

This important stage of field testing saw questionnaires sent out and feedback gathered over a six-month period, with further refinements made to the design and functionality of the HALO, getting it ready for release.

Located in the hood ring of the auger drive, the HALO provides operators a clear line of sight to itself, as well as the hole being dug, with a band of green LED lights indicating when the drive is plumb, while a sequence of red and green lights guides the operator back to plumb when out of alignment.

These lights, which have been designed for high visibility, move around the hood, indicating which way the operator needs to move, with the HALO having been programmed to show all green LED from 0° to 1.5° of incline, while after 1.5° the LEDs show a sequence of red and green lights.

As noted by Digga Marketing Manager Lionel Smitka, the HALO integrates a number of advanced components to deliver accurate readings.

“Typically, everything we make is out of steel, however the HALO has six sensors and a microprocessor, and it’s a much different product than we’ve produced before,” Lionel commented.

“The fear of bringing out a product which fails in the field made us test the hell out of it and seek industry feedback like never before. The result is a game changer. We’re calling it the future of drilling.”

Benefits of the HALO include:
• Operators won’t need a spotter with a spirit level guiding them through the hole
• No need for operators to take their eyes off the job
• Ensures holes are drilled plumb and reduces the number of in-hole angle adjustments
• No oversized holes reduces the amount of concrete required to fill the hole
• Eliminates sideload on auger drives and augers, which can potentially cause damage and result in expensive repairs
• Allows operators to get back to drilling faster after returning the auger into the hole

The HALO can be connected via cable to an in-cab cigarette lighter, or powered by a magnetised rechargeable battery, with the capacity to last all day (designed to be charged via USB or a 240V wall charger), with the battery option featuring a “zeroing” function, which lets the operator set the angle of inclination with the press of a button.

Digga has now launched the HALO for its entire range of PD auger drives, which it states will suit mini loaders right up to 50t excavators.

Digga this year marks its 40-year anniversary, with the proudly 100% Australian privately owned company – founded in a Brisbane caravan park in 1981 by Stewart Wright, who is still involved in the business to this day – having grown over the years to preside over an extensive product range, available in local and international markets.

Having initially started out supplying earthmoving wear parts to local machine operators, Digga soon after established a small factory in Tingalpa, servicing a growing need for the repairs and supply of drilling augers, and subsequently moved into manufacturing in 1982.

Digga’s focus on improving its manufacturing capabilities saw it introduce CNC machining centres, robotic welding, gear cutting and advanced steel cutting equipment, while in the early ‘90s it also established facilities in Sydney and Melbourne to better service the local markets.

As the reputation of its attachments continued to grow, Digga developed export channels to New Zealand and Europe, and in 1999 started exporting to Canada and the US, which ultimately led to the construction a 3,500m2 purpose-built facility in Iowa in 2013, extended to 5,500m2 in 2021 to cater for increased demand.

In 2016, an electrical fault sparked a fire at Digga’s main Gold Coast manufacturing facility, wreaking havoc on the factory – however, once fire crews had assessed the damage, the team got to the clean-up and had Digga back up and running in a temporary factory in quick time, having only lost a total of four working days.

The following 12 months saw Digga completely rebuild its 12,500m2 factory into a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant equipped with the latest technology and machinery, with the business, continuing to support Australian manufacturing and local jobs, and bouncing back better than ever.

Now, 40 years on from its humble caravan park beginnings, Digga oversees branches in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, the UK, New Zealand, and the USA, with over 450 dealers worldwide.

“Digga now sells over 70 different attachment ranges, exports to over 50 countries and employs nearly 300 employees in our Australian facility and over 350 worldwide,” Alan Wade, Digga Australia CEO, commented.

“From initial design, to sourcing raw material, to manufacturing the end product, Digga has always been uncompromising in its dedication to providing the highest quality, competitively priced attachments that are made super durable for Australian conditions and for the Australian market.

“Digga has built a reputation based around quality and innovation for almost four decades. The Digga name is synonymous with the earthmoving industry, but what really sets us apart is quality. We see auger drives come in for service that we manufactured over 20 years ago.”

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