Everything You Need to Know About Directional Drilling

June 23, 2021 12:09 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Whether you’re constructing a new building or are having new utility lines installed at your home or business, directional drilling is typically an important part of the installation process. What is directional boring? Here’s a brief introduction to the process and benefits of horizontal drilling for utilities.

What is directional drilling?

Directional drilling or boring is an efficient way to install underground pipelines or cables. Instead of the traditional trench method, which involves cutting up the entire surface of the ground, directional drilling machines go underground through a small hole, creating a borehole upon exiting the ground.

By using the horizontal directional drilling method, utility installers can place pipes and cables without destroying the ground. In many cases, especially in urban areas, trenching just isn’t possible, since there may be existing structures in the way of the spot where you need your utilities to go. With directional boring, utility installers can avoid these obstacles while keeping the condition of the ground completely intact.

How does directional drilling work?

Typically, horizontal directional drilling is performed in three stages. Here’s a brief introduction to the typical drilling process:

  1. Pilot bore: During this stage, the drill bit is connected to the drill pipe and is pushed to the desired location of the borehole. As the drill pipe is guided through the ground, drilling fluids stabilize the borehole and lubricate the drill bit as it does its work. Once the drill bit exits the borehole at the exit pit, the first stage is complete.
  2. Reaming: The reaming process begins by connecting a reaming tool to the drill pipe and pulling it back through the borehole. The process is repeated with successively larger reaming tools until the hole can easily accommodate the pipe that’s being installed. A swab pass reamer is pulled through the hole to ensure the desired pipe will fit.
  3. Pipe installation: The final stage of horizontal directional drilling is the installation of the pipe. The pipe is brought to the exit location of the borehole and is then connected to a pullhead. The pipe is pulled through the hole, with technicians making sure there’s minimal resistance during the process. Once the pipe emerges at the drill rig location, it’s checked, surveyed and tested for proper functionality.

What are the advantages of horizontal drilling?

There are many benefits of horizontal drilling or boring for utilities. It’s a much-improved system compared to traditional trenching, since you’re able to connect utilities in places that traditional trenches could never reach. Directional boring is ideal for tricky situations like making crossings under rivers, roads and existing structures, as well as for providing reduced installation or repair costs when working on water and wastewater lines in dense, urban environments where excavation isn’t always possible.

What is directional boring? In short, it’s an efficient way to install underground utility pipes. Contact the team at Es7 Comm-2 U, Inc. to learn more about the basics of directional boring and how the process can be used at your construction site.

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