Directional boring, also known as Horizontal Directional Drilling or HDD, is the process of drilling underground to install electrical and other services. These services are essential to residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. It's safer than digging a trench because it doesn't disrupt traffic or carry the risk of collapsing.
High-tech, custom-built maxi rigs, and drilling fluid are used to drive a drill bit through the ground to make room for the needed pipes, cables, and conduit. Drilling also doesn't risk damaging already existing service lines underground. Since they're using high-tech rigs on the ground's surface, they can see everything going on underground in the area.
Three Phases of Boring
The drilling process is usually completed in three phases. The operators are above ground, controlling the drill bits remotely. A transmitter very close to the drill head keeps the operators in constant control.
The First Phase
The first step is to determine the boring path. This phase utilizes a smaller pilot head to drill a smaller hole through the soil, determining the drilling or boring path. As noted, the rig operators constantly take measurements of the drill head's alignment, depth, and percent slope. The speed of this phase depends on the soil conditions and how much steering is needed when drilling. After the drill head reaches the end of the determined path, it's replaced with a reamer for the second phase.
The Second Phase
This phase involves drilling a larger hole in the same place as the smaller pilot path. The operators use a tool called a reamer for this. The drill head is pulled back through the area to enlarge the path to pull along the excess dirt with it. Operators pump drilling liquid through while the drill head moves backward, as was done to go forward with the pilot head. They use additives like bentonite to maintain the hole's stability.
The Third Phase
The final phase involves pulling the service lines and piping through the hole to set up the services. The hole is made larger than needed for additional services to be installed later without any further disruption to the environment. More drilling fluid is pumped down through the hole as a lubricant for the service pipes. After the service lines are inside the hole, the process is complete, and the boring crew can leave the job site.
Horizontal Directional Drilling, or HDD, is a safer and more cost-effective method of installing pipelines for services underground. It's also less disruptive to the South Florida environment and only needs to be done once for current and future service lines. As you can see, the process benefits everyone, as residents and business owners receive the services they need, and crew members don't have to worry about as many hazards when doing their jobs.
To learn more, contact our team at Assurance Power Systems