Horizontal directional drilling replaced much of what used to require open excavation in residential and commercial constructions. Utility industries that need to install pipes and cables for sewage, water, electricity, and telecommunications use directional drilling techniques to reduce costs and time of completion, while also maintaining the integrity of the construction site. Open excavation is dangerous and disruptive to the environment. What directional drilling does is to create a hole where pipes are installed without damaging the surrounding area.
Directional drilling defined
Horizontal directional drilling makes use of specialised machines to drill a pilot hole and pullback pipes and wires through the path created. This method is highly efficient and effective when used in populated and urban areas. These days, directional drilling resolves the challenges of retrofitting pipes and wires over commercial locations.
Operating principle of directional drilling
Directional drilling machines consist of a drill head and drill bit which is responsible for creating an angled pilot hole where a defined path is created underground. Once the path is completed, the drill head is fitted with a new set of tools where pipes and wires are attached, pulled back, and installed in the hole. During the drilling process, drilling fluid made of Bentonite polymer flows through the drill to stabilise the borehole. Depending on the length of the hole, pipes may be fused together to ensure a seamless pipe connection.
Benefits of directional drilling
There are many advantages to directional drilling in comparison with traditional open-pit methods:
- Quick installation. Faster installation time ensures that any commercial or residential structures located around the area do not suffer from extended interruption. Directional drilling is also safer for the environment and the workers.
- Ensuring pipe durability: since pipe installation is completed through a swift process, maintaining structural integrity is guaranteed. Minimal handling means there is less possibility of damage.
- Reduced costs. If a contractor has to pay fewer workers, it helps with reducing overhead costs. Aside from this, drilling equipment rented from reputable companies also helps in reducing the contractor’s budget.
- Directional drilling is suitable for different types of soil composition. Aside from this, you can use directional drilling underneath areas with obstacles such as buildings, rivers, and bridges.
- Less soil contamination. By creating seamless pipe connections, there is little possibility of contaminating soil.
Directional drilling and other trenchless techniques benefit many industries today. Pipe and cable installation are no longer time-consuming and tedious tasks because of this method.
Renting directional drilling equipment
Most contractors in the utility industry rent directional drilling equipment. To guarantee that you are renting only from the best, you have to determine your specific needs and use this as a guide to choosing the right equipment size. It is also necessary to examine the quality of tools used by the rental company. Check if the machine is well-maintained or if possible, the latest make and model available. You should also carefully select the right rental terms and agreement which best suits the timeline of the project.
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