What is Directional Boring and When Do I Need it?

Friday May 29, 2020


Not long ago, the only way to install new piping underground — or even make simple repairs — was to tear apart the ground and ruin the landscape in a time-consuming trench digging process. With the advent of horizontal directional boring, the entire process has been revolutionized. No longer do you have to deal with large crews digging up the ground for weeks or even months to get a single job done.

The most common uses of directional drilling is to install pipes, conduits, or cables in areas where traditional open cut construction is difficult to achieve. Directional drilling follows a pre-planned path, creating a minimal amount of impact because it uses a relatively shallow arc.

Almost the entirety of the drilling process is done underground, with the exception of the entry and exit sites of the drill bit. Even then, the amount of surface space needed to accomplish direction drilling is minimal. Directional drilling can be used with many different types of pipe materials, including PVC, ductile iron, steal, polypropylene, and polyethylene. As long as the pipes you are using have the thickness and material strength to withstand the stress, they can be utilized.

Directional boring is a fairly simple process that consists of three phases.

 Drilling The Initial Hole

We take special care during this initial stage in the process. We strategically place entrance and exit areas in order to cut down on the disturbance to the surface level. We also meticulously plan out the bore route, taking into consideration other underground piping and lines that already may be in place.

Once the drilling process begins, an electric transmitter (placed directly behind the drill head) sends a signal back to the operator who then ensures the drill is continuing along its intended path and can make course corrections as needed.

Widening The Initial Bore

This next process involves widening the initial hole created by using a reamer. During this part of the process, the hole is enlarged to the point where it can accommodate the piping system you are trying to install.

 Reamers are attached at the opposite end of the pilot hold and pulled back into the initial hole while slurry is progressively pumped out. The slurry ensures the integrity of the hole and allows cuttings to be flushed out.

 Pulling The Pipe Or Lines Through

The final stage in the process is installation. Once the hole is sufficiently enlarged, the pipe is attached to the end of the bore and is run through the hole using a reamer. This pullback operation is accomplished as the rig rotates and pulls on the drill string until the pipeline is in place.

After all is done, we run a series of rigorous tests to ensure the integrity of the installation. We don’t consider the job done until we’re sure it’s completed to the highest quality standards.

From start to finish our expert operators use the latest technology to monitor the drill bit every step of the way. This ensures we make directional corrections before any incident occurs, saving time and money on costly mistakes. We also take measurements as we go, so the project progress is documented, and it’s made clear we are in compliance with permits and project specifications.