Most utility installers today use horizontal directional drilling to install lines below ground. Using this method, Advanced Line Systems can install pipelines, cables and other services without digging costly and unsightly trenches. Based on the process used by the oil well drilling industry, it instead drills precisely through the ground at a horizontal angle, then back reams the line. Here’s how directional drilling works.

We Drill a Pilot Hole

To start horizontal directional drilling, drilling fluid is pumped through a pipe and bit which creates high-pressure jets and grinding of the soil ahead of the drill. The fluid is also used to remove the cutting spoils back to the entrance of the tunnel. A transmitter or steering tool located on the front of the drill will then signal the drill location to a location engineer who keeps tabs on depth, slope and alignment. That engineer can then correct any issues by keeping the drill on the right path. A drill path may be straight or gradually curved and can be adjusted to go around or under obstacles.

We Pre-Ream the Pilot Hole

 After the pilot hole is created, it is enlarged and expanded to the appropriate size for the needed utility lines. This is done by using a rotating reamer that pulls back while pumping more drilling fluid to cut through solid ground and expand the circumference of the tunnel. Speed can vary depending on the state of the soil. Is it sandy or full of stone? The number of cuttings depends on that information. Once the cut has been made, additives are applied to create stability and break up more difficult ground types like clay.

We Pull Back the Pipe

Lastly, the pipe is pulled back through the pre-reamed tunnel using a drill rod and reamer attached to a swivel. The swivel should keep the drill string from transferring its stress to the piping while it is withdrawn. While the pipe is pulled through, more drilling fluid is added to keep the pipe lubricated. In some cases, the pipe can be pushed into place.

Directional drilling is a process that helps utility crews lay pipes and cables without digging trenches. It can save a construction company time and money while creating a line that can be used by the community for years to come.

For Industry Leading Professional Directional Boring Services, Contact Advanced Line Systems Today!

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