The British Drilling Association's (BDA) first ever seminar in Wales was a fitting location to bring its recent seminar series - "Solutions for the Future of the Geotechnical Industry" - to a close. Held Wednesday 17th July 2019 at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, the seminar also broke new ground, being the first organised jointly with Cymru ICE Ground Engineering Group (Big Thanks to Jack Blake Chair of Cymru ICE GEG)
As with previous events, the calibre of attendees - which included Arup, Atkins, BGS, Enitial, Hydrock, Jacobs, Mott Macdonald, RPS, WYG, WSP, AECOM, Welsh Government and Cardiff University to name a few organisations - was excellent and so too was the quality of the speakers, all of which communicated the impact technology is having on the drilling sector superbly and together with real-world case studies, how it can be embraced for commercial success.
As with previous events, the seminar kicked off with a keynote presentation, delivered by Mark Skinner, of Arup, who set the scene for the seminar by looking at where the geotechnical industry is at present and what will be driving technology in the near future.
Rutger van Goethem, of Eijkelkamp/SonicSamp, delivered an insightful presentation on 'Progression in Sonic Drilling & Overcoming Future Limitations', whilst Andy Jacques, of Epiroc / Atlas Copco, delivered a thought-provoking presentation on 'Automation of Drilling Rigs - Present and Future'. Both presentations were extremely well received.
Alison Graham and Sophie Payne, of Atkins, delivered a great presentation on the BGS's "Dig to Share" initiative and how it will be of benefit to the drilling sector. Dr Simon Hughes, of Terradat, spoke about 'Downhole seismics: good! Crosshole seismics: better!', an intriguing title, with fascinating content. Nicolas Loubier, of Bentley Software, presented and engaging topic 'Going Digital with the Geotechnical Data Workflow'. The implications of this go without saying, as data invades all our working processes.
With there always being a need to frame things commercially, Roger Chandler, of Keynetix, delivered an engaging presentation about 'Using Geotechnical Data and New Technology as a Competitive Advantage' and concluding the event was Dr Mike Harbottle, of Cardiff University, who spoke about 'Self-healing geomaterials - smart, autonomous response to damage, deterioration and environmental change'.
Post-event discussions were just as lively as previous seminars and demonstrated just how topical; the presentations were to day-to-day working now and in the future.
Networking before, at break and after event was equally lively with plenty of 18 exhibitors to showcase their services. All-in-all the event was tremendous success, with positive feedback received from delegates and exhibitors alike.