The Grouter was developed based on the Hydra Barb design but with an internal check valve for high-pressure grouting through the plug. The plug can be used to block high-pressure water, and pressure grout against that water. The plug is also used for consolidating loose material in the hole. Drillers can pressure grout, with or without a grout accelerator, wait several hours for it to cure, then drill back through the cured grout and the plug. Drilling can then continue past the unconsolidated area into more competent ground.
The Grouter also finds use for collar grouting upholes. This avoids the requirement for high reach equipment to reach an overhead collar. The plug can be pushed up with the end of a drill rod, pushed into position, and then the hole can be collar grouted through the plug.
The more advanced Grouter Mk3 allows remote opening of the check valve in the plug so that the drainage of the water table can be regulated externally. The plug can be used as an alternative to drilling through a standpipe. On completion of the hole, the plug is pushed in to place and will hold water pressure to 1,000 psi (69 bar). For most mines where water pressure is below 500 psi (34 bar), the check valve can be remotely opened by a 1” parallel threaded pipe. A tap on the end of the pipe allows regulation of the water flow depending on use, for sampling, or to allow drainage of the water table. In this way, when a mine’s pumps are at full capacity, the taps can be closed. They can be opened again when the pumping spare capacity is available.
An alternative use of this plug is to grout, either collar grout or fully grouting, on a campaign basis. The plugs can be pushed in on completion of the hole (or survey), and left to the end of the week when the rig is being serviced. All of the installed plugs can then be connected to sequentially and grouted in the one grouting session, saving on both drilling time and grouting clean up time.