Hazel Park green tech company unveils new technology

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published December 26, 2017

 Andrew Niemczyk, chairman and CTO of Exlterra, explains his latest invention, the Hazl Drill Rig, during an unveiling at the Hazel Park company Dec. 15.

Andrew Niemczyk, chairman and CTO of Exlterra, explains his latest invention, the Hazl Drill Rig, during an unveiling at the Hazel Park company Dec. 15.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 The rig’s drills are easy to swap in and out and maintain. The rig itself can be driven, and it can turn in place. It’s light but powerful, and it’s well-suited for any environment.

The rig’s drills are easy to swap in and out and maintain. The rig itself can be driven, and it can turn in place. It’s light but powerful, and it’s well-suited for any environment.

Photo by Deb Jacques

HAZEL PARK — A new drilling technology was recently unveiled at Exlterra, an international company based in Hazel Park that specializes in eco-friendly technologies. And company officials say it can change the world. 

Exlterra is located at 618 E. 10 Mile Road, in a nondescript building that was once an auto parts shop. Its gleaming interior was the stage for the grand unveiling of its latest invention Dec. 15 — the Hazl Drill Rig — driven out onto the floor before a throng of city administrators and reporters.

The drill can be used to drill holes for one of Exlterra’s earlier inventions, the energy-passive groundwater recharge system, which filters water back into the earth in a way that’s safe for soil, vegetation and underground structures. The drill has many other applications as well. 

Hazl is named for Hazel Park, the city where it was created. The “e” in “Hazel” was dropped to stay consistent with the spelling of “Exlterra” itself. The company’s name is derived from “excellent” and “terra,” the Latin word for “earth.” 

“During the development of the drill rig, we had the opportunity to interact with many companies and people in Hazel Park,” said the company’s CEO, Frank Muller. “When determining a name that fit our drilling rig, it just felt right that it be named after the city where it was born.” 

The Hazl Drill Rig is the brainchild of inventor Andrew Niemczyk, chairman and CTO of Exlterra. It offers immense drilling power — enough to bore through concrete — in a lightweight package that can drive across delicate terrain like a golf course without causing wear. It can also turn in place on a pivoting rear axle, allowing it to maneuver in tight spaces as well — including the indoor hangar where it was unveiled. It has a seat for a driver, and it is powered by an energy-efficient 26-horsepower Kohler engine, no larger in size than a lawnmower’s, complemented by a proprietary hydraulic system. 

The rig has integrated safety features, such as a pressure-sensitive seat that kills the engine if the driver moves off it, and a toggle between “drill mode” and “drive mode” so that the rig doesn’t accidentally move while drilling, or start drilling while moving. The drill itself is also easy to swap in and out — other drills require fiddling with pins — and the parts are simple to maintain. The rig can expand to a 14-foot height, allowing it to drill deeper with a 12-foot usable stroke on a unique telescopic tower.

It’s a fast, flexible solution for drilling needs in any environment, as the entire rig weighs less than 3,600 pounds. Officials say it’s competitively priced and will be marketed as the perfect tool for a variety of industries, including geothermal energy. Exlterra has clients around the world, including Switzerland, Japan and India. 

“The launch of Hazl will not only accelerate the development of our various environmental technologies, but also greatly benefit other applications such as geothermal, geotechnical and water well drilling,” Niemczyk said in a statement. “There is nothing in the world like this machine, I guarantee you that.” 

At the unveiling, Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher praised Niemczyk..

“Andrew is a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci. What he’s able to accomplish through his own ability to invent and problem-solve is absolutely extraordinary,” Klobucher said. “We’re very pleased that Exlterra has chosen Hazel Park as the location for their corporate headquarters. They’re truly a global company, and they’re putting Hazel Park on the map all over the world.” 

For more information about Exlterra and the Hazl Drill Rig, visit www.exlterra.com.