How Horizontal Directional Drilling Changes the Way We Place and Repair Pipelines

Horizontal directional drilling is a type of trenchless drilling technique that has many applications. Beyond simply being used for mining purposes, it is also used in many areas to install pipelines, including those that transport mined products, water, and more. If your city has an underground water system, you have likely experienced the results of horizontal directional drilling in action.

How It’s Done

Horizontal directional drilling is an excellent choice for drilling applications where a cut into the earth above would not be feasible. Some of these applications include the crossing of a river or large stream or laying pipe beneath roads. In these cases, this type of boring is used to place, remove, and replace piping, all without disturbing the everyday movement of the paths above the site.

During horizontal directional drilling, a steel drill string is extended beyond the cutting head as the hold is bored into the earth. Drilling fluids are used to keep the parts cool and clear of debris as cutting continues. After the hole is drilled, a back reamer is fed into it, with a pipe string attached via a swiveling head. The drill string is removed from the borehole and the back reamer is used to enlarge it, pushing the pipe string into place while a trained team watches for problems. This allows pipes to be laid with relative speed and ease, all while cars, boats, and people are able to move right across the top of the operation.

Tools of the Trade

As you might imagine, the tools used in horizontal directional drilling are important to the operation’s success. Materials like drilling fluid additives may seem inconsequential but are actually crucial to the overall efficacy of the machinery at work beneath the ground. Horizontal directional drilling parts are available through specialty retailers only and are just part of the reason that this modern technique is possible.

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