Breaking Down the Process of Horizontal Directional Drilling — What Happens?

It is impossible to imagine taking on a new construction project without excavating or drilling the ground. Drilling is necessary for preparing the ground to provide the right anchorage for the structure you are building. It also provides the safest place for laying plumbing and electrical utilities such as pipes and cables. When you drill and bury them below the ground, you lower the chances of these utilities getting damaged by harmful elements. You protect them from brute force and inclement weather conditions. However, the elephant in the room is the drilling process. It is often demanding in terms of labour, equipment and time. Here is a discussion on horizontal directional drilling to help you get a better grasp of the process.

The First Step Is a Pilot Hole

The first step in horizontal directional drilling is making a pilot hole to act as a framework of the final tunnel you want. The contractor pumps drilling fluid via a pipe and pumping bit. The bit generates jets with lots of pressure that can cut through the soil before the arrival of the drill. Besides grinding the soil and creating a perfect working ground for the drill bit, the fluid removes the unwanted dirt from the tunnel and sends it back to the entrance where you can get rid of it. A special transmitter helps the technicians keep tabs of the alignment, angle and depth of the pilot hole to ensure that the drill bit drills in the right direction.

Reaming the Pilot Hole

Earlier, there was mention of the pilot acting as a framework for the tunnel you want. Therefore, you need to ream or enlarge it to an appropriate size to house all your utilities. The stage involves routing a rotating reamer that puts more drilling fluid through the tunnels as it pulls back. The additional drilling fluid cuts through the tougher ground to increase the size of the tunnel. The cuttings performed here will depend on the composition of the ground. For example, clay is compact and forms tougher a tougher composition compared to sand. It requires more reaming.

Retrieving the Pipe

The last stage involves retrieving the pipe from the reamed tunnel. The process requires a reamer, swivel and a drill rod. The purpose of the swivel is to refrain the drill string so that it does not exert any stress on the pipe during withdrawal. Additional drilling fluid also comes into play to reduce the friction on the pipe as you pull it from the tunnel.

For more information, contact a directional drilling service.