Horizontal directional drilling has definitely grown in popularity since its inception in the 1960s.
Today, HDD is the preferred method of installing utility lines, underground pipelines and cables involving trenchless methods.
Without horizontal direction drilling techniques, installing these various lines would require trenches to be cut across our roadways and railroads.
And, with the telecom business set to explode with the installation of 5G, it seems that horizontal directional drilling is here to stay.
HDD Involves 3 Steps
HDD is a multi-step process that first requires the use of a pilot bit. Pilot bits normally range between 5 1/2″ and 6 1/2″.
The Pilot Bit
Why use a pilot bit? Well, imagine trying to drill a horizontal hole that’s 48″ in diameter. A drill bit so large would be difficult to steer, not to mention the damage it could do if steering got off track.
An easier way of drilling a large, horizontal bore and ensure it’s placed where you want it, not where you don’t, is to start the process with a smaller drill bit and work your way up in size.
Once the pilot hole is drilled, it’s time for the reamer. All kinds of HDD reamers exist on the market, but all of them function by either pushing or pulling.
In HDD, the reamer is turning to the right with the drill string either pushing the reamer to drill the hole or pulling the reamer to make it drill.
Bore holes are reamed to larger sizes in 6″ increments. So, if a 48″ hole is the end goal and a 5 1/2″ pilot bit is used for the pilot hole, it is followed by 12″, 18″, 24″, 30″, 36″, 42″, and 48″ reamers.
Once the bore hole has been drilled, sewer pipe, fiber optics, or other materials can be placed in the hole.
Thanks to HDD, the surrounding landscape has barely been touched.