What is Directional Drilling?

The process of Horizontal Directional Drilling, or HDD, is a method by which underground cables, pipelines and conduits can be installed with trenchless methods. This process uses a directional drilling machine with its attachments, in order to drill the chosen bore path in an accurate fashion and to back ream the pip required.

Furthermore, the technique can be employed to drill around occlusions and obstacles making it incredibly versatile and environmentally sustainable which is why it is used in so many different industries including utility companies who will use it to install lines deep below the ground.

Some of the other advantages of using this method are:

  • Pipes can be installed either straight or curved
  • There is no disruption to traffic for example and there is no need to damage the landscape
  • The process works for pipes of varying length

How does Directional Drilling Work?

Horizontal drilling provides the ideal solution to many of the problems we have just discussed and is a cheaper alternative to the convoluted process of laser microtunnelling. Using this system can reduce the overall cost of the project by 50% and utility companies tend to favour this trenchless technique as it is highly effective.

So, how exactly does it work? Generally, there is a three-step installation process:

  • Step 1 – A pilot rod that has been hollowed out is used to establish a line and grade that is 1” in diameter.
  • Step 2 – This pilot rod is inserted in and pushed out the other end of the pit by the augers and casings.
  • Step 3 – Once step 2 is successfully complete, then jacking pipes, measured to fit the size of the hole, can be installed. The augers and casings will then be pushed out the pit in the same way as the pilot rod was.

In step three, if it transpires that the jacking pipe is much bigger than the casings and auger then there may be the need to introduce a hydraulic reamer to be able to manage the larger diameter pipe.

In the construction and engineering fields, it is vital that a high degree of precision is maintained and that is why contractors and project managers favour the trenchless method. By installing 1” grade piping, a greater level of accuracy can be maintained and industry regulations can be met.

Precision Drilling

The method of the pilot guided auger boring system has been used within the industry for over 25 years and coupled with the theodolite camera, it remains the number one choice for civil engineers for maintain line and grade accuracy. The great thing about directional drilling is that it is scalable, suiting a number of projects and consistently delivering proven results time and time again.

Tunnelling Technology

This technique was first designed by Dr Peter Uffman at the Bohrtec but has since been carefully recrafted for use in modern industries and to be compatible with other equipment and machinery. Originally it found uses in the installation of sewer pipes and it still carries out that role today, among others.

One of the major advantages of the trenchless method is that it can install pipes as large as 55” in diameter or 1” and maintain a high degree of accuracy.

It is powered by the Bohrtec-manufactured hydraulic power pack and is capable of providing continued boring, utilising a minimum of 50kW of energy and generating a hydromechanical flow of up to 34.8gpm. This dynamic piece of equipment also achieves a massive 5,000psi in pressure thus making it incredibly efficient.

The equipment is controlled by an operator who has complete control over the pack despite its tremendous power and all of the levels are kept at eye level to ensure safety is maintained throughout.

The power unit is kept separate from the primary boring unit with the hydraulic hoses running in between them. The ingenious design allows an engineer to control the proceedings remotely thus they can remain in the launch area for the duration of the process.

Reliable, Safe and Accurate

No matter the size of your project, directional drilling is the preferred method by those in the industry to deliver fast, safe and accurate results consistently. It is a versatile technique and is suitable for a wide number of planned installations.

Furthermore, for such a simple process it allows exemplary results to be achieved even in the most challenging of geographical locations so it is easy to see why it is the top choice of drilling technique by civil engineers. We hope you have a better understanding of what this drilling tool can do and where it may be useful in your next project.