Have you ever been amazed when, on the side of the highway, you spotted a strange piece of equipment that was somehow drilling under the roadway? The drilling objective was likely to run new water lines, or other utilities, across and under the highway. It's easy to be stunned upon seeing such a marvel. These machines are called HDD, or Horizontal Directional Drilling, machines. If you're curious about these amazing machines and how they work, read further, and all will be revealed.
Why Is It Called HDD Drilling?
The emergence of an HDD drilling service first appeared in the petroleum industry, where it became the preferred method in the 1980s for laying pipelines. HDD is popular because it's the most efficient method to traverse rivers, waterways, and railroad tracks.
HDD, or Horizontal Directional Drilling, uses large/maxi-sized drilling machines with large diameter drilling bores. These drilling rigs use crossing lengths up to thousands of feet for horizontal boring. HDD horizontal directional drilling machines are trenchless, steerable, non-vertical drilling rigs.
What Are Some Perfect Projects for HDD Drilling?
Some projects require large-scale boring rigs for laying larger steel casings or multi-conduits. The larger boring rigs often drill through challenging rocky soil, and the project requires larger diameter drilling augers. See some of these project types below.
Auger Boring Projects
Using special boring heads, auger boring is a trenchless, HDD drilling service that requires a larger diameter pipe up to 48 inches. They're also ideal for boring under-train tracks, levies, and roadways to lay utilities such as water, sewer, and gas lines where the terrain must remain settled.
HDD Drilling With Ductile Iron Pipe
When laying utilities like gas or sewer lines across obstacles like waterways, HDD drilling is used to lay ductile iron pipes. A ductile iron pipe is a special cast iron pipe that's more flexible than a standard iron pipe with a special, non-toxic coating on the inside and outside covering. The ductile pipe is approved for gas, potable water, and sewer lines.
HDD Drilling for Telecommunications Projects
HDD drilling service is becoming more popular for various telecommunications projects. One reason for this popular growth is that it's less expensive than traditional trench drilling. With this service, boring under roads, sidewalks, and waterways leaves the surface settled without requiring extensive repairs. Ideal telecom candidates are fiber optic cable, phone lines, E-Mobility, and city utilities.
HDD Drilling for Wind Farms
Trenchless drilling is the preferred method of drilling for an entirely new market: wind farms. Wherever you see a farm of windmills, you notice the terrain is still pristine thanks to HDD, or trenchless, drilling. The same pristine condition also applies to wind farms in the ocean. The pipes necessary for conducting windmill power on land or offshore are efficiently laid with HDD trenchless drilling technology.
Projects Drilling Through Rocky Terrain
The HDD drilling service that has to drill through rocky soil, depending on the rock composition, has a whole new set of challenges to overcome. Among these unique challenges are the following:
- Selecting Drill Bits
Choosing the right drill bits becomes especially tricky when HDD drilling through extremely rocky soil. Take extra care not to select the wrong drill bit, which can wear down or become stuck prematurely. Like any drilling project, when the drilling rig is down, the project is losing money.
- Using Drilling Fluid
It's critical, depending on the type of rocky soil drilled, to maintain a clean drill head. The drill bit is cleaned by flushing rock debris away from the drill head. The cleaning process is where drilling fluid comes into play. Depending on the rocky terrain and drill fluid mixture, the drilling fluid helps flush away debris and save the drill head. The drilling fluid is primarily water, mixed with lubricant, depending on the soil composition. Bentonite, a clay-based soil, is often used to keep the drill head cool and lubricated.
Recently, HDD drilling has become even more popular, especially laying utilities, pipes, and communications lines across difficult city terrain. HDD drilling is rapidly growing and the directional drilling market is projected to have a value of around $12 million in 2028, according to Globe Newswire. Considering the different project types you can use HDD drilling for, its popularity makes sense. Contact Hardrock HDDP today to get started with our HDD drilling services.