In collaboration with Brownline, Saricon has developed a way to perform underground UXO detection in very hard-to-reach locations: UXOscope. This can be used for detection under buildings and infrastructure such as roads, waterways and railways. The UXOscope combines horizontal drilling with simultaneous detection.

The usual method
Detection in these hard-to-reach locations has been very difficult up to now, sometimes even impossible. Often the area has some limitation resulting in surface detection as the only possibility. Surface detection penetrates to no more than 4 m underground. When deeper detection is necessary, depth detection is usually used. This involves sending a probe down into the soil. To insert the probe larger equipment is needed to drill vertically, which causes disturbance for the surrounding area. In hard-to-reach locations this method is not always possible. But with the UXOscope it can be done!

Photos from UXOscope demonstration on 9 June 2016
On Thursday, 9 June 2016 we held a demonstration of our innovative UXOscope method. Visiting professionals were able to watch the pilot drilling live. See the photos here.

The advantages
The advantages of UXOscope:

  • Detects under buildings, roads, rivers, etc.
  • Minimal disturbance of surroundings
  • Much faster than detection from the surface
  • Detection is combined with the pilot drilling

Application is simple
The UXOscope is simple to use. A drill rig drives a drill bit underground. Detection occurs simultaneously with the pilot drilling. The data are sent to a control unit for evaluation by a senior UXO expert. Drilling and detection proceed in steps from 2 to 3 metres in length. In the area where detection is taking place the drilling speed is 50% slower than the normal drilling speed.

If the drill bit detects an object, the process immediately stops. The data are analysed to determine if we are dealing with a conventional explosive.

If the data analysis indicates that the object might be a conventional explosive, the senior UXO expert determines what to do next. The explosive can then be removed or the drilling path can be altered. If no explosive is detected, the area can be declared clear.

Two birds with one stone
The UXOscope can be used simultaneously with the pilot drilling to complete two tasks in one. The real-time interpretation of the survey data means that we can clear a tunnel with a diameter of 3 m free of airborne bombs 250 lbs and larger. A 3m tunnel is sufficient in size to lay a tube for cables, pipes, etc.

UXOscope is a solution for many difficult situations where detection of conventional explosives must be performed. When performing horizontal directional drilling (HDD) we often encounter suspect areas. This is very risky and detonation is possible. We developed the UXOscope to avoid these risks and carry out the project safely.

UXOscope references
Completed projects:

  • Faunatunnel A12 RWS – Heijmans
  • Laan van Ypenburg and Drievliet TenneT – Heijmans
  • CE detection at Schiphol - Gebr. van Leeuwen and BAM
  • Obstacle investigation at Amstelpark Amsterdam - Van Vulpen