What Is Directional Drilling?
Directional drilling is a method of creating a shallow underground tunnel with a boring tip and a heavy-duty slurry pump. This combination can dig relatively large diameter channels without disturbing the surface of the ground, minimizing damage to the landscape and qualifying the procedure as a trenchless service. This technique is also referred to as directional boring and Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), depending on the size of the channel and the equipment used to bore it. This technique can penetrate a wide range of dense and soft soil conditions, including flooded grounds and wetlands.
Directional drilling is commonly used for:
- Underground power line installations that are far more storm damage resistant than aerial transmission lines
- Telecom expansions of fiber optic data transmission lines and other high capacity additions from local cable and phone providers
- New water lines to serve entire neighborhoods and individual residences, including sewage lines with large boring bits
- Oil pipelines that need to pass underground to securely reach distant processing or transfer stations
Almost any installation of a curved and relatively shallow pipe or cable can be handled with directional drilling equipment. This means there’s high demand for the services across the country.
The Benefits of Directional Drilling
Since directional drilling doesn’t require digging a trench from the surface downward, there’s little disturbance to plants and trees. This makes it popular among both city planners and homeowners living around the installation areas where boring is necessary. A drilling fluid is used to keep heat from building up and to encourage the flow of debris smoothly down the pipe. This fluid consists of a steady supply of fresh water mixed with a specially made polymer or bentonite clay to increase the lubricating and cooling properties of the liquid. To keep the fluids moving at full pressure, the project needs heavy-duty slurry pumps to move the debris-filled liquid back to the reclaiming chamber to clear out bits of dirt and rock. The slurry removal and transport pump takes the brunt of wear and tear from the process since it must move liquids packed with sharp bits of stone and soil that are highly abrasive.
Common Issues That Affect Directional Drilling Pumps
Most directional drilling pumps are based on modified slurry pump designs since these units need to work with drills producing up to 600 metric tons of thrust force. Large bore directional drilling heads can remove large chunks of solid stone and compacted soil that causes a lot of wear and tear to traditional slurry pumps. Debris bouncing against internal parts like impellers and spiral vanes results in constant repairs and a shortened lifespan of the pump. EDDY pumps are designed to last even in challenging directional drilling and boring applications.
The Power of EDDY Pumps for Boring and Drilling
It’s the specific design of the EDDY Pump that makes it ideal for directional boring and HDD uses. An open rotor design allows objects of up to 11 inches in diameter to pass through the pump without clogging it. This should cover even the largest and most aggressive cuttings generated by boring and drilling. There’s also no issue with generating plenty of pressure with any kind of drilling fluid with the open rotor design. Corrosive and abrasive mixtures don’t cause issues for the tough EDDY Pump design either. There’s relatively little maintenance needed to keep the high solids EDDY slurry pump working project after project. Sizing the right pump to the boring equipment will ensure it lasts for years with minimal wear and tear from the abrasive debris and cuttings.
Speeding up Cleanup After the Work
Most contracts for public and private directional boring work include a clause stipulating the contractor is responsible for cleaning up after the work is completed. These cleanup steps usually include dewatering any remaining drilling fluid or transporting the cleaning water left over after the drilling bits are removed. Slurry pumps are also great for quickly removing these lingering fluids even when plenty of debris is mixed into the liquid.
Order or Get Selection Help
Let our sales or engineering support help in your slurry pump and dredge equipment selection. Call (619) 258-7020