water-propelled drilling

the technology in brief

Since more than 25 years, the water-propelled drilling technology has been established as a full-worthy alternative to efficiently solve several drilling applications and within different segments, such as:


  • Foundation
  • Tunneling
  • Dams
  • Geoenergy/geothermal
  • Maritime
  • Mining & Exploration
  • Oil/Gas Storage


  • Foundation
    • Casing advancing/Pile driving
    • Casing advancing for installation of steel core piles
    • Pre-drilling for jet grouting
    • Pre-drilling for sheet pile wall
    • Drilling into bedrock for anchors installation (Maritime)
  • Tunnelling
    • Drilling in hard rock
    • Pre-drilling for rock fissure grouting
    • Freeze-hole drilling
    • Horizontally drilling
  • Dams
    • Pre-drilling for drainage and grouting
    • Pilot holes for grouting
    • Drilling for installation of steel pile wall
    • Casing advancing for installation of groundwater pipes for monitoring
    • Drilling for installation of pendulum-monitoring instruments
  • Geoenergy and Geothermal (420 m+)
    • Deep hole drillings; casing 20-30 m+ plus rock drilling 390-400 m

Even though the technology was originally used for mining applications in Scandinavia and (at the time) only was used in a few pilot markets, the growth has been and still lies on the segments Foundation, Tunnelling, Dams and Geoenergy/Geothermal in so far nearly 40 countries (in blue below) - on all continents!


Two of many advantages are the technology’s being environmentally friendly and safer and very benign to the surrounding geology and infrastructure/buildings. Therefore, the water-propelled drilling technology is more and more frequently being used as chosen method to solve drilling missions in dam and urban infrastructure projects.


  • Environmental friendliness
    • Less noise
    • Less CO2 footprint
    • Less (or no) dust
    • Less hazard risk
  • Benignity to the surrounding geology and infrastructure/buildings;
    minimized risk of settlements
  • Hole straightness: Minimized deviation < 5% (sometimes < 1%)
  • Hole quality: Control of hole wall finishing
  • Productivity: Shorter project time
  • Economy: Less diesel consumption

the GDS offer

GDS offers the market complete systems for drilling with water-propelled hammer technology, including the following components:

the water-propelled hammers (DrillKing)

Available hammer dimensions from 3.5’’ - 8’’ (WAI 30i to WAI 80i)



drill bits (DrillKing)

Available drill bits dimensions for drilling with water; Ø90 - 254 mm (Ø3.5’’ - 10’’).


high pressure water pumps (GDS)

The capacity of the available compact and light, easy-to-use GDS pumps are up to 846 lit/min and 200 bar, thus supplying hammers from sizes 2’’ up to 8’’.

GDS has developed the unique Twin 720 resp. Twin 850 Diesel pumps for water-propelled drilling. The unique design permits one pump to serve two drill rigs with high pressure water.

Example of pumps, sales or rental:

  • GDS 290 Diesel or GDS 490 Diesel
  • GDS 423 Electric or GDS 500 Electric
  • GDS Twin 720 Diesel or GDS Twin 850 Diesel




casing advancing systems (GeoRocFor)

The innovative casing advancing systems are available in dimensions from
Ø114.3 - 324 mm (Xs T V2.0 4,500″ / 114.3mm- Xs T V2.0 12,750″ / 324mm)


other related drilling tools (Sysbohr and Colcrete Eurodrill)

This group comprises tools such as flushing head and shafts, check valves, friction-welded rods (up to Ø273 mm / Ø10 ¾’’), threaded casings or drill rods, guided drill rods as well as all possible cross-overs/adapters and high pressure hoses.


In addition, simplex, duplex and triplex jet-grouting systems and high pressure swivels and monitors can be supplied.



filtering systems (Ramson)

The filtering systems for water treatment are available from basic bag filters to more advances automatic filters. Also, flexible customized solutions are possible. The filtering systems are available for sale or rental.


drilling fluids and lubricants (Matex)

The environmentally safe and biodegradable drilling fluids & lubricants from Matex include, among ohers, the biodegradable hammer oil and foaming agent.

In connection to all the above, GDS also offers highly qualified service support and turn-key solutions.

project cases

In total, there are far over hundreds of projects in which the water-propelleed drilling technology has been successfully used. Here are some of them, where GDS has delivered the WAI hammers from DrillKing and/or GDS pumps and service support:

  • The Boliden Garpenberg mine
  • The Light Rail Link/Hammarby Sjöstad
  • The Liljevalchs art gallery
  • The Pyramiden blocks
  • The Solna United office building
  • The Stockholm City Line (Anslutning Södra Station)
  • The Swedish Ica stores new Headquarters
  • The Chancza Water Reservoir
  • The Semmering Tunnel

Link to Project Case