Selection of the HDD equipment
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Specific features of choosing the HDD rig
Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is a trenchless construction method used to install pipelines of various sizes and materials below the ground surface. Trenchless technologies, such as horizontal directional drilling, pipe bursting and slip lining allow the entire water supply and drainage system of a city to be replaced without causing a major traffic jam and incurring the enormous cost of restoring streets and roads.
The HDD rigs differ from each other in appearance and by technical characteristics. There are several categories of horizontal directional drilling, which are based on the physical scale of the operation, including the size of pipes to be installed as well as the overall bore path distance and depths to be achieved. For example, mini-HDD, also know as "guided boring", is typically used for the relatively shorter distances, shallower depths, and smaller diameter pipes associated with local distribution lines, in comparison to maxi-horizontal directional drilling (maxi-HDD), typically used for longer distances, greater depths, and larger diameter pipes, such as major river crossings. Mini-HDD is typically employed for placing pipes up to 12 inches (305mm) diameter, and boring segments less than 600 feet (182 m) in length, at depths up to 15 feet (4,5 m). Maxi-HDD is capable of accurately boring holes on the order of a mile in length, and placing pipes of 48 inches (1219,2 mm) or greater, at depths up to 200 ft (61m).
Mobile HDD rig usually has a crawler. The weight of equipment exceeds 5 ton. In an urban setting, the pieces of rubber are mount on the crawler for protecting of the pavement. When making a selection of the HDD rigs, it’s also necessary to pay attention to transportation sizes of the drilling equipment. The low loader is most commonly used for transportation.
We can distinguish several stages in the process of HDD. It is necessary above all to drill a pilot bore. For that purpose, a transmitter of guidance system is placed on the drilling head (transmitter housing), which can be controlled (monitored) by special receiver. Then diameter of the pilot bore is expanded to the right size by special drill tools (reamer). The selection of the reamer depends on complexity of the soil. The final stage is pulling the pipe. You can learn the more detailed description of HDD technical process in our article “About HDD Technology”.
During drilling process, it’s necessary to use a special bentonite slurry. After the end of HDD works, the bentonite is pumped out and utilized by special equipment (Slurry Pump).
So, let’s sum up:
The HDD rigs are usually purchased in specialized companies. In order to choose the right equipment, it is necessary to pay attention to the following selection criteria:
- Length of the laying pipes
- Diameter of the laying pipes
- Type of the soil
- Specific features of the construction
It’s necessary to be consulted by HDD experts for making the most appropriate choose of HDD equipment.
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