One major advantage of being a global company is that our teams can tap into a huge wealth of expertise from across the world. Keller ASEAN recently did just that, reaching out to the Jet Grouting Global Product Team (GPT) on a major project in Kuala Lumpur - with tremendous results.

Global Product Team enhances Malaysia project

The Conlay station project is part of a high-profile programme of works to transform the Malaysian capital’s public transportation system. Keller ASEAN is working on the underground station until March 2018, providing rock fissure grouting, ground anchors and jet grout columns to stabilise the soils. With jet grouting still a relatively new technique for the business unit, they contacted APAC’s GPT representative, Damien Bray, for some extra support.

“The team in Malaysia wasn’t doing a bad job by any means, but this was an excellent opportunity for us to help them make improvements – and see operations in Asia first hand,” says the GPT leader Ken Ivanetich. “The GPT team tries to get together somewhere in the world once a year, so this project was ideal.”

Room for improvement

The five members of the GPT – one from North America, one from APAC and three from EMEA – met in Kuala Lumpur and were immediately impressed by what they saw. “It was a very clean, well-organised site, with well-documented safety information,” Ken adds. “They clearly had their act together on how to run a project. They were at an early stage in the jet grouting and they were doing a good job, but there was room for improvement.”

Looking at safety, quality and production, the team made a number of suggestions, including:

  • Adding drill rods mechanically, rather than by hand, to improve safety.
  • Using down-the-hole surveying equipment to ensure the column location wasn’t deviating from its intended location.
  • Operational enhancements to raise production.
  • Introducing a way of sealing the jet grout nozzles to prevent blockages, which immediately reduced downtime.

A simple solution for tripling production

Malaysia General Manager Sreenu Raju says the project really benefited from the GPT’s input: “Firstly, it was great moral support to have them as part of our team. We appreciated that they took the time to really understand the issues and provide suggestions, rather than just telling us what to do.

“Our biggest challenge was a small rig and deep jetting – up to 58m. We were also facing serious nozzle-choking problems that were wasting hours of time, but modifications to the tooling got us back on track and made our lives much easier.

“We were able to reduce cement waste during drilling by using water in the top 20-30m, followed by cement grout in the bottom 10-20m. We also increased production and reduced cement content thanks to their help in optimising column diameters.”

Willing to learn

Ken adds: “It was great that we were able to provide support and that the site team was so open and willing to have us there and to learn. Some people can be resistant to others coming in, but they were appreciative and responsive. Nobody has all the answers; even the GPT is constantly learning.

“The fact that GPTs are able to support projects like this no matter where they are is a fantastic advantage we have in Keller. We have more knowledge in this company than in any other company in the world as it relates to special geotechnical construction. That speaks volumes."

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