Industry Insights

Isuzu Trucks And Proactive Drilling Down To The Core

For the team at Proactive Drilling Services, their standard ten-hour days start at 6.30 am in the yard and then they’re driving off to their job sites in one of their Isuzu FRR 107-210 support vehicles, rigged with a vacuum excavation unit on the back.

And Proactive Drilling’s specialties? Environmental and geotechnical drilling.

Doing their part in saving the environment, the operation’s environmental drilling comprises identifying contamination in soil and groundwater, taking soil samples and installing groundwater monitoring wells, often performed on commercial sites or sites that undergo redevelopment after having a commercial past life. Their varied work takes them all across Australia, covering five states and territories.

Another core aspect of their work involves geotechnical drilling, which is the beginning of all the infrastructure we see every day. This process involves drilling down into the rock and removing core samples. The engineers then use the information to establish the design requirements for different kinds of infrastructure, such as train lines, roads and bridges.

One of Ryan’s favourite and more obscure jobs? Brisbane’s infamous Mary Street floods of 2011 where a planned skyscraper site and its 30-metre-deep excavated pit was flooded. Over the following weeks, the site was dewatered in preparation for drilling to begin. Ryan, his team, their track-mounted drilling rig and a six-metre sea container full of equipment were all lowered into the pit by crane, where they spent four weeks drilling through what Ryan describes as “some of the hardest rock they have ever drilled” and taking core samples from as deep as 50 metres below the surface.

Before investing in Isuzu trucks, reliability and cost of maintenance were the business’s biggest issues with their vehicles. Having used other European and Japanese truck brands, Ryan found there were recurring issues that led to them spending thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars at a time.

Frustrated and looking for reliability, dependability and affordable whole-of-life cost, Proactive Drilling made their move towards Isuzu Trucks.

“The first Isuzu truck we bought was in 2012—the brand has always had good reputation for reliability and after sales support.

“I had a bit of experience driving Isuzus in the past and favoured them over the competitors’ trucks in the range” Ryan said.

“We bought the first couple of Isuzus and, comparing them to the other trucks in our fleet, the Isuzus just won in every way.”

Now, Ryan’s fleet includes a Giga prime mover, two FVM 1400s (FVM 230-300), an FVR 950 (FVR 165-260) and their new FRR 107-210.

“Our Isuzu FRR is a great size, it’s compact enough to get to sites where access is tight.

“And all the while providing the power we need to carry a large range of support equipment, tow a 3-tonne trailer and have the vacuum excavator mounted on the back, with no struggle at all,” Ryan shared.

“In comparison, though, our previous trucks from other Japanese brands really struggled with the weight of our equipment and just didn’t have the power to carry a full load and tow a few tonnes.

“This meant that we often sent another truck and staff member to the job.

“Those other trucks would be maxing out at 60 km/h on a slight incline, while the Isuzu truck is running easily at 100 km/h.”
That’s thanks to the FRR 107-210’s impressive gross vehicle mass of 10,700 kg—and all within a body compact enough to access the hard-to-navigate sites.
When an average day at work for the crew at Proactive Drilling might mean driving for ten hours from Brisbane to Cairns, to Mount Isa for another job and finally returning to HQ in Brisbane, reliability becomes paramount.

Ryan explained, “When our other trucks broke down and needed parts that weren’t readily available, these other brands became the more expensive option, especially since downtime is very costly for us.

“Our trucks need to be going every day, we have two trucks travelling to each job, if one truck is broken down the job can’t start.

“With Isuzu’s after-hours servicing, and their trucks’ reliability and resale value… Isuzu trucks just fit our needs better than other truck brands.”
The years have gone on and Proactive Drilling’s Isuzu truck fleet has increased, with the fifth Isuzu truck, the FRR 107-210, added last year and another FRR 107-210 coming in from Brisbane Isuzu.
Ryan said, “The FRR has been a great addition, the handling, safety features and Isuzu reliability means we can concentrate on running the business. The drivers are very happy too.

“That’s why we’re buying another one!”