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The Future of Horizontal Directional Drilling: Innovations to Watch

By Hydrovac Calgary   |   Directional Drilling   |   0 Comments   |   30 October, 2023   |   0

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) has become an essential technique for installing underground pipelines, cables, and conduits with minimal surface disturbance. With every passing day, better and better Horizontal Directional Drilling Innovations are emerging to improve the precision, efficiency, and capabilities of these drilling systems. Let’s look at some key innovations that represent the future of HDD.

Enhanced Steering Technologies

Advances in downhole steering tools and bore path control are making HDD more accurate than ever before. Operators can fine-tune the drilling head position to stay precisely on target throughout a run. Real-time electronic steering systems combined with mud pulse telemetry give the driller unmatched control. This allows them to thread narrow utility corridors and avoid buried hazards. Some newer tools even allow for wireless bi-directional data transmission between the drill head and operator.

Expanded Use of Walkover Locating

Walkover locating systems help operators track the drill head position with precision by detecting its subsurface electromagnetic signal. Traditionally, this required stopping the drill to take readings at survey points. New continuous tracking walkover systems allow for drilling and tracking simultaneously. Active steering can then make instant course corrections. This results in better borepath accuracy and less need to pause and verify position.

Larger Drill Rod Sizes

Contractors traditionally utilized 3-4 inch drill rods, restricting how much soil could be removed and the size of the conduit installed. New systems employing 6-8 inch rods double the capacity. This allows the installation of bigger pipes or bundles of conduits in a single bore. Fewer bore runs increase efficiency and reduce costs. These larger-capacity HDD rigs also extend drill distances and depth capabilities.

Increased Power and Torque

More powerful drill rigs boast improved torque, pullback force, and mud flow rates. This gives them the strength and stamina to complete longer bores through denser soils. Powerful rigs equipped with dual rod boxes can drill continuously without pausing to add more drill stem sections. Larger rigs may also allow angled bores exceeding 45 degrees to install lines deep beneath obstacles.

Better Fluid Handling

HDD depends on drilling fluid to stabilize holes, remove cuttings, and cool the drill bit. Smarter recycling and conditioning systems clean used drilling mud to maintain optimal properties throughout a bore. Sophisticated sensors continually monitor fluid parameters downhole. Automated chemistry adjustments enhance performance. All this sustains peak drilling speeds and efficiency. Cleaner drilling also brings environmental benefits.

Thanks to these horizontal directional drilling innovations, this technology will continue getting faster, safer, and more reliable. For your next HDD project, partner with the experts at Hydrovac Calgary. Their skilled personnel stays current on the latest equipment and techniques in HDD and all forms of trenchless underground construction. By embracing new innovations, together we can build infrastructure that sustains communities into the future.

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