IMS Depth Master Dredger Solves Silt Problem at Xacbal Dam

Xacbal, Guatemala – IMS is pleased to announce that Grupo Terra’s IMS Depth Master Dredge operating at the Xacbal Dam is successfully removing silt and sand from 55 ft. (16.7m) depth. The Depth Master is removing the silt from the dam to keep the turbines operating which are critical for producing Guatemala City’s energy.

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The Depth Master operating at the Xacbal Dam in Guatemala.

In November 2011 HidroXacbal approached IMS to come up with a solution to solve the challenging application at Xacbal Dam. The dam required a 55 ft. (16.7m) maintenance dredger. There are dozens of manufacturers around the world that could meet the digging depth requirement, but only IMS could offer a system that is two-truck transportable, has a low turbidity horizontal cutterhead, and has an optional liner protection system which includes bottom sensors, cutterhead cage, and guidance wheels to protect the poly lined dam.

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Ryan Horton, Global Sales Director (right), meets on site with
HidroXacbal’s Fredy Valle to assess the job site in 2011.

Ryan Horton, IMS Global Sales Director, flew to Guatemala and then took a one hour helicopter ride to the remote mountain location with IMS’s Territory Manager, Felix Montes, to inspect the Xacbal Dam. On the way to the site Horton took note of the roads leading to the dam.

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The steep mountain cliffs were one of many obstacles that were
overcome to get to the job site.

“Once we got out of Guatemala City I could see the logistical challenge that was ahead of us. We actually brought a leading freight expert Oscar Caniz, President of Caniz International Corporation, with us to the site to assess the travel route from the seaport to the dam. There were 90 degree turns in villages with dirt roads and buildings on all sides of the road. The scariest part of the route to the site was the roads with deep drops into canyons with no guard rails and no anti-erosion measures. It was basically a worst case scenario logistics situation,” said Horton.

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The Depth Master’s compact design allowed it to be transported on narrow roads and take 90 degree turns in congested mountain villages.

After a series of detailed meetings with HidroXacbal, the division in charge of the Xacbal Dam, IMS was able to offer the Depth Master as a solution. One European supplier offered a siphon type dredge as a solution, but there were concerns over the crater effect caused by the system and its overall performance. Other hanging pump options were considered but under water cave ins have been known to bury these pumps which then need to be completely replaced if the hoisting line snaps during the collapse. The client wanted an even bottom profile like the Depth Master creates to remove the sediment in layers and prevent major material collapses underwater. The Depth Master for HidroXacbal would be outfitted with a Dredging GPS System, horizontal environmental cutterhead, and a redundant liner protection system.

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Steep hills were overcome and roads were patched when necessary to
give the dredge safe passage up the mountain.

Due to the extremely narrow roads in some of the mountain passes, IMS was asked to remove the power units, ladder system, pump and cutterhead and ship them separately. These modifications lowered the center of gravity and made it even easier to get the system on site. IMS Field Service Technician, Victor Tirado, flew to the site and guided the HidroXacbal’s personel on how to assembly the dredge.

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IMS’s Felix Montes used an unmanned drone to capture photos of the
Depth Master from above the reservoir.

IMS started the dredge at the dam in late 2013 and did another follow up training and maintenance visit in 2014 to make sure the project was on track. The Depth Master is working on a daily basis at the dam to ensure proper function of the turbines to supply electricity to Guatemala City.

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IMS President, Jim Horton, and Technical Sales Manager, Michael Young, meet with Ing. Edwin Hernandez, HidroXacbal’s General Manager, at the Guatemala City Heliport as part of a courtesy visit to insure customer satisfaction.

IMS’s Depth Master Product Line includes systems that can reach 12 to 18 meters dredging depth and are all two-truck transportable. All models are available with cable drive and / or propeller drive. The Depth Master is ideal for dam maintenance, port maintenance and river sand mining operations.

For more information on how the Depth Master can solve your dredging needs please contact Ryan Horton, Global Sales Director, at [email protected] or 913-642-5100.