The resulting waste mud and fluids from the hydro excavation process can be effectively managed, making life easier for drilling operators and creating possible new revenue streams.
Optimizing drilling efficiencies with a solids control system
The correct solids control system can improve drilling rig efficiency, reduce costs and minimize the environmental footprint of your operation
Although the use of drilling fluids within the HDD/trenchless industry is still relatively new, recent trends suggest that this standard is shifting as solids control is one of the most important phases in the drilling process. This shift is due to a growing awareness that drilling fluid maintenance and disposal can become exponential problems as they are both harmful to the environment and extremely costly. With the correct solids control system, fluid life can be doubled, if not tripled. Since whole mud dumping and dilution are unacceptable from both a cost and environmental standpoint, effective solids control equipment has become an increasingly important aspect in any drilling process.
Integral parts of a solids control system
Often good solids control practices are ignored simply because they are not understood. Typically, an HDD solids control system will employ a combination of shaker, hydrocyclone, mixing, pump, and compartmentalized tank technologies. The shaker is vital to the solids control system and is considered the “first line of defense”. Shakers act by removing solids from drilling fluid as the mud passes over the surface of a vibrating screen. Particles smaller than the openings in the screen pass through the holes of the screen along with the liquid phase of the mud. Particles too large to pass through the screen are thereby separated from the mud for disposal. Without proper screening of the drilling fluid during this initial removal step, downstream equipment will experience reduced efficiency and effectiveness. The downstream hydrocyclones and/or centrifuges (if elected) will simply be overloaded beyond their design capacity.
Basically, a screen acts as a guard to determine whether a particle is small enough to pass through a screen or not. Screening surfaces used in solids control equipment are generally made of multilayered woven wire screen cloth. The screening surfaces are considered the centre of the shaker, therefore, the quality of the shaker is thus defined by the quality of screens it utilizes. Relative to the use of shaker screens, it is the size of the screen openings, not the mesh count, that determines the size of the particles separated by the screen. It is because of this fact that HDD system users should compare and specify screens based on their API 13C designation.
Hydrocyclones are simple mechanical devices that do not contain moving parts and are designed to speed up the settling process. Feed pressure is transformed into centrifugal force inside the cone to accelerate particle settling in accordance with Stoke’s law. Drilling mud enters the cyclone under pressure from a centrifugal pump. The velocity of the mud then causes the particles to rotate rapidly within the main chamber of the cone (such as a tornado in a bottle). Light, fine solids and the liquid phase of the mud spiral inward and upward for discharge through the liquid outlet. Heavy, coarse solids tend to spiral outward and downward for discharge through the solids outlet or underflow. Hydrocyclones are important in a solids control system because of their ability to efficiently remove particles smaller than the finest mesh screens.
Centrifuges are another essential part of any effective solids control system. They have a great advantage of achieving extremely fine cut points. The rotating speed is transformed into centrifugal force inside the rotating assembly to accelerate particle settling in accordance with Stoke’s law. Essentially, a centrifuge acts as a small settling pit which alloys rapid settling of solids under controlled conditions.
In order to achieve effective solids control there are several steps that should be taken. The first and most critical step is to obtain an effective, dependable, and durable solids control system. Special attention should be given to ensure that the system is hydraulically balanced, capable of making both a scalp cut and a fine cut, and that the system has sufficient drilling fluid mixing and re-circulating capacity. Shake shakers and other solids control equipment should never be bypassed while drilling. The smallest mesh size possible should be used on the shale shaker as this will allow change from formation to formation and will require operators to maintain a variety of screens to be kept on hand. Furthermore, an adequate inventory of recommended spare parts and screens should always be kept to enhance operations.
Environmental and economical benefits
A good solids control system is only effective when you certify and assign rig personnel to be responsible for equipment operation and maintenance. By employing each of these steps, operators can achieve enhanced rig performance, improved rates of penetration, reduced waste disposal costs, and reduced mud costs. Founded in 1990, KEMTRON has evolved to become an industry leader in reliable, durable, and fully integrated solids management systems for the HDD industry. Operating on a global level with sales and service worldwide, KEMTRON can help you meet your drilling objectives.
More from Horizontal Directional Drilling
The rise in underground utility projects is good news for contractors across the country. However, whether it be due to fiber build-out or aging infrastructure replacement, this growth requires underground utility contractors to find and employ more horizontal directional drill (HDD) operators. This demand has resulted in a shortage of qualified, skilled and confident operators in the underground construction industry.
Vermeer's new Navigator horizontal directional drill designed to deliver in rocky, congested environments
The new Vermeer D23x30DR S3 Navigator horizontal directional drill (HDD) integrates dual-rod technology into a compact machine design to efficiently maneuver through rock in congested cities, busy neighborhoods or tight jobsites. Featuring a class-leading narrow footprint and a weight of 16,500 pounds (7,484 kg), the D23x30DR S3 is the lightest rock drill on the market and is well suited for fibre, electrical, gas and water installation in hard rock, as well as other challenging ground conditions.
More than 50 percent of reported underground utility damages are the result of insufficient excavation practices according to the 2017 DIRT Report. The Ditch Witch organization, a Charles Machine Works Company, has introduced an industry-first Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator to better prepare horizontal directional drill (HDD) operators for safe underground construction through cutting-edge training technology.
The Ditch Witch organization, a Charles Machine Works Company, has updated its line of fluid management systems to increase productivity and reduce costs on horizontal directional drilling (HDD) jobsites. These advanced models incorporate new design features to meet the highest standards for jobsite productivity, improved drilling fluid flow, increased durability, and faster mixing cycles and yield times.
Technical Toolboxes, a global provider of integrated and cloud-based pipeline software, consulting and industry training for pipeline engineering and technical professionals, has launched its new Horizontal Directional Drilling PowerTool (HDDPT).
Sandvik has acquired privately-owned Inrock, a supplier of rock drilling tools and services for Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) in North America. Headquartered in Houston, TX, Inrock is a market leader in pilot hole bits, reamers, guidance systems, accessories and services for the premium maxi rig segment within HDD.
MTI Equipment, a Charles Machine Works Company, recently completed construction of their new facility in North Port, Florida. Moving from their longtime location in Englewood, company officials say the new facility carries a larger inventory, offers improved service capabilities and is more conveniently located for customers.
HammerHead Trenchless, a Charles Machine Works company, has promoted three of its top personnel to newly created management positions. HammerHead President Kevin Smith said the new positions are part of an internal expansion initiative that strengthens the company's existing focus on customers and users.
Designed and tested with the help of small bore contractors, the Radius HDD Over-Bit Reamer easily attaches to an existing rock bit without breaking a single connection. The Radius Over-Bit Reamer only needs 16 inches of clearance. With the pilot tool still attached, the sonde can be used to track progress through tight easements during pullback. The Radius Over-Bit Reamer is available in 6- and 8-inch sizes with a variety of cutting styles.
Two of the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) industry's leading equipment and tooling manufacturers, Vermeer Corporation and Mincon Group PLC, have formed a distribution alliance to expand contractors' access to quality rock tooling worldwide. As part of the agreement, Vermeer dealers are now the exclusive channel for Mincon HDD air hammer systems, HDD pull reaming hammers and HDD support equipment, including HDD support stations and oilers.
Vermeer expands its line of utility installation equipment with the launch of the D8x12 Navigator horizontal directional drill. This new compact and highly productive drill is sized for working in tight spaces, features straightforward controls and delivers quiet operation. With two drill rod options for added versatility, the Vermeer D8x12 is well suited for small service installations, including gas distribution, power, water and telecommunication networks.
The Ditch Witch organization, a Charles Machine Works Company, has released an advanced version of their industry-first, web-based tool that helps customers be more efficient and reduce downtime by quickly finding the service parts they need. The Ditch Witch Parts Lookup gives customers easy access to detailed parts information and a direct line of communication to dealerships for part verification and pick-list creation.
The longest horizontal directional drilled (HDD) installation of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe in the United States and Canada was recognized as Project of the Year by the Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI). The award was presented to PPI member company ISCO Industries at the association's annual membership meeting in May 2017. PPI is the major North American trade association representing all segments of the plastic pipe industry,
StraightLine HDD announced the addition of multiple pipe sizes to its growing offering of in-stock drill pipe. The product expansion more than doubles the number of available Vermeer-compatible pipe and adds three common Ditch Witch-compatible pipe sizes.
TT Technologies' redesigned Grundopit pit-launched mini directional drill is well suited for difficult fiber-to-the-home and utility service line installations in tight working conditions. The unit is compact, 54 inches long, 43 inches wide and 57 inches tall. The Grundopit delivers 13,489 lbs. of thrust and pull back and 553 ft. lbs. of torque with bore length up to 150 feet. The Grundopit is an ideal entry-level system for utilities, cable industries or as a supplement to larger units.
Utility and underground contractors have a new solution to save time and streamline operations with the introduction of the innovative Toro DD2226 directional drill.
Pipeline and utility contractors attending the 2017 International Utility and Construction Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) in Louisville, Kentucky, were first to see the newly released American Augers M-300D HDD fluid cleaning system. Based on American Augers' successful, highly portable M-200 platform, the M-300 system's small trailer size lowers registration and excise tax requirements while supporting any make of 60- to 100-ton drill unit with a true 300 gpm fluid-cleaning capability.
HammerHead Trenchless, a Charles Machine Works company, introduced its new 22-ton, radio remote-controlled HydroGuide® HG2200 cable winch at the 2017 International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) in Louisville, Kentucky. The HG2200 completes the HammerHead line of next-generation winches designed for maximum efficiency and ease-of-use in pipe-bursting, slip-lining and pipe-slitting applications.
Ditch Witch offers next generation AT40 all terrain directional drill optimizes downhole performance in hard rock
To enhance utility contractors' efficiency while drilling and steering in hard rock, Ditch Witch, a Charles Machine Works Company, has released the new AT40 All Terrain horizontal directional drill (HDD). The machine features an advanced, two-pipe All Terrain drilling system that provides 33 percent more torque than competitive units. The newly optimized All Terrain drilling system includes multiple patent-pending designs that improve downhole operation. An inner-rod design provides a flush system that improves tool-joint durability and steering in hard rock conditions. To further improve steering and optimize fluid flow, a reliable All Terrain connection reduces the risk of collar damage.
DITCH WITCH unveils enhanced, next generation underground construction equipment, parts and technology at ICUEE
The Ditch Witch organization, a Charles Machine Works company, is planning to unveil a wide variety of new and enhanced underground construction equipment, parts, tools, and technology—all designed to boost productivity at the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) Oct. 3-5 in Louisville, Kentucky.
The spring 2017 acquisition of Armadrillco solidified StraightLine HDD's position as a leader in hard condition tooling. The announcement today of the adaption of the patented Armadrillco transmitter housing to the RockEye Hammer System is a significant step in diffusing Armadrillco technology throughout StraightLine HDD tooling platforms.
StraightLine HDD recently expanded its hole opener offering with the introduction of the XL-I Series. Designed from the ground up for horizontal directional drilling, the XL-I Series is positioned as a cost-effective alternative to "split-bit" hole openers.
Success in the HDD business is about more than boring a stable hole and completing a successful pullback. It's about running your entire HDD operation like a well-oiled machine. Here are five ways we've seen successful HDD companies make businesses function more smoothly and create lasting success, followed by an example of what to look for in on specific type of tool, the backreamer.
Ditch Witch has introduced the new Rock MonsterHD backreamers to help today's horizontal directional drilling (HDD) operators improve drilling performance in hard rock conditions.
Utilities and underground industry contractors have a new tool to increase productivity with the launch of Toro’s new directional drill operating system, TDOS-1 with SmartTouch. The new system allows pipe handling functions to be performed using a single input on the joystick in SmartTouch operating mode.
StraightLine HDD, Inc. announced the implementation of an upgrade to its popular Performix Mud Mix System. At the heart of the Performix System is the centrifugal pump, which generates the best laminar flow in the industry. The performance pump now features an upgraded silicon-carbide shaft seal. Compared to traditional ceramic seals, the new seal represents a considerable advancement in resiliency when subjected to the highly abrasive elements present in mud mixing. In field testing, silicon carbide seals improve service life by a factor of three,over ceramic seals.
Vermeer has bolstered its line of HDD tooling and accessories with the addition of the Silver Series drill rod. Building on the tradition of it's acclaimed Firestick drill rod, Silver Series drill rod gives contractors a quality aftermarket drill rod at an economic price.
To equip utility contractors with the latest technology for optimal drilling productivity, Ditch Witch, a Charles Machine Works Company, has added the innovative new JT40 horizontal directional drill (HDD) to its fleet of drills.
In the fall of 2016, drilling contractor PPI Chrobok S.A. installed two new gas pipelines in Poland. The alignment runs along existing gas lines and through geologically challenging terrain. With the laying of the 700 and 464-meter-long pipelines, Herrenknecht's Direct Pipe technology was used in Poland for the first time.
Ditch Witch has introduced the JT10 horizontal directional drill (HDD) providing operators with exceptional power in a compact, reliable platform. For superior productivity, the machine incorporates advanced features found on larger units while remaining the most compact drill in its class.
Today’s horizontal directional drilling (HDD) operators face plenty of challenges on large installation projects, including difficult terrain and tough soil conditions. To provide operators with the power and performance to conquer any job, Ditch Witch has introduced Tier 4 emission standard upgrades to the JT60 and JT60 All Terrain directional drills.
For operators who need the power to drill through the toughest conditions, including solid rock, Ditch Witch has upgraded the JT100 and JT100 All Terrain horizontal directional drills (HDD) to Tier 4 emission standards.
Ditch Witch, a Charles Machine Works Company, has introduced the Air Saber lance, a new excavation accessory for the company’s FXT air-excavator equipment line.
Ditch Witch, has introduced the new Prospector Nozzle for better productivity on hydroexcavation jobs. Operating at 3,000 psi, the nozzle helps operators conquer the toughest challenges while boosting performance by 30 percent compared to similar nozzles on the market today.
Equipment maintenance is a topic that no contractor particularly wants to address, but in light of the ever growing need to maximize production and cut down time it is extremely important. Your equipment will only continue to work properly if you take the time to perform simple routine maintenance.
They are two words no contractor or municipal engineer wants to hear: cross bore. A cross bore is what happens when one underground utility intersects another. Most worrying is when a gas line punches through a sewer main or lateral. Cross bore risk has risen with the use of trenchless technologies like horizontal directional drilling, because the operator can’t physically see what’s in the immediate vicinity of the drill bit.