Piling Canada

Compact Yet Powerful

The GEAX line of drilling rigs excels at working in close quarters
Written by Lisa Gordon
July 2022

Photos: GEAX

Sometimes small is better, especially when working in tight spaces to get the job done.

It’s a concept that Adriano Pesaresi, founder and CEO of GEAX Drilling Rigs, understands very well. In fact, it’s the foundation of his business.

With previous experience as a chief designer at an Italian drilling company, Pesaresi struck out on his own in 2003 as a foundation contractor. He began building prototypes of three different drilling rigs; models that would later form the GEAX product line.

“That initial venture served mainly to test and refine the rig design with direct jobsite experience,” Pesaresi told Piling Canada. “After three years, I founded GEAX in 2006. At the beginning, it operated mainly in Italy, manufacturing drilling machinery and piling equipment.”

Today, GEAX builds rigs from its headquarters in Montefano, Italy, and is still wholly owned by the Pesaresi family. Like its machines, GEAX is small and compact, and delivers results. Its products include three main series of rigs. All are easy to operate and have similar basic characteristics, including a compact footprint, proven stability, superior quality design and an unrestricted view of the excavation area.

The DTC Series is the company’s first line of compact machines designed with an enclosed Kelly bar drilling system. They excel in narrow spaces or jobs with restricted headroom. Among the DTC Series’ most appreciated features are independent movements that facilitate mast positioning even on extreme slopes. Recently, the company announced its newest rig, the DTC-20. As the smallest in the DTC Series, it is capable of drilling down to depths of 22 metres with a rig weight of just 6.5 tonnes.

The EK Series offers a line of multi-purpose machines with an external Kelly bar that is similar to a traditional drilling rig. It is capable of Kelly drilling, continuous flight auger (CFA) piling and diaphragm walls, as well as soil mixing, vibro impact, soil displacement and jet grouting. The EK Series is highly manoeuvrable and can be equipped with a computerized drilling monitor system, depending on customer needs.

Finally, the XD Series includes some of the smallest hydraulic piling rigs in the world. Capable of working inside buildings and in places where space is restricted, this rig family features a patented mast design with a gimbal for precise operation. Although it comes in a small package, the XD Series packs the same features as larger rigs, including a hydraulic cylinder for crowd force, an auxiliary winch, winch limit switches, spin-off speed and depth meter. With low operational costs and the ability to achieve verticality thanks to a patented mast design, the XD Series gets the job done.

With previous experience as a chief designer at an Italian drilling company, Pesaresi struck out on his own in 2003 as a foundation contractor.

“All GEAX production is focused on a constant effort to improve drilling operations, enhance site safety and reduce operating costs,” said Pesaresi. “We focus on building drilling machines that are compact, easily transported and highly capable.”

As the company founder, Pesaresi credits his success to understanding the European market’s need for smaller drilling machines. A great deal of residential foundation work takes place in hard-to-access areas on uneven ground, so stability and flexibility are crucial.

All three of the manufacturer’s rig families are available through its exclusive Canadian dealer, Selix Equipment in Ottawa.

“Our machines are designed to be very manoeuvrable, compared to other rigs that use a parallelogram structure,” he said. “Our rigs use a sliding mast on a long support boom and are designed to be very stable and manoeuvrable, almost like an excavator.”

After a few years of focusing on the Italian market, which still represents about 20 per cent of company sales, GEAX branched out within Europe and then to North America and Australia. Pesaresi says there are currently 20 GEAX rigs operating in Canada. All three of the manufacturer’s rig families are available through its exclusive Canadian dealer, Selix Equipment in Ottawa.

With safety as a driving force, GEAX strives for constant improvements in rig capabilities as well as ease of operation. The company’s network of 15 dealers receives factory training on how to operate and maintain the equipment; and when possible, clients are invited to the Italian factory for onsite testing and demonstrations.

“Our machines are very popular because an operator can jump in and learn them in half an hour. As a design choice, we chose not to overcomplicate the electronics and systems. They are good machines to rent out because they are very intuitive,” said Pesaresi.

As it moves into the future, GEAX is enhancing its efforts for environmental sustainability. Pesaresi says the company’s rigs offer lower emissions and reduced fuel consumption. As well, GEAX has begun designing a solar plant at its Montefano facility that will meet its future energy demands. It also intends to install recharging columns for electric vehicles over the next couple of years.

Those plans will benefit the 30 employees based at the factory – a tight-knit crew that Pesaresi calls an extension of the family-owned enterprise.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever lost a single employee since the company started,” he said. “But the original four to five people from 2006 are still with us. It’s like a family atmosphere. Everyone has developed their own skill and expertise to build quality drill rigs, and we offer a qualified manufacturing facility.

“That is why we choose to be in Italy; there is a long tradition of building piling rigs here.” Piling Canada

Category: Profile

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.

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