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.
Large diameter pipe ram leaves highway undisturbed in Alberta
Design engineers, with the help of contractors and equipment manufacturers, are pushing the limits on pipe size and drive lengths for pipe ramming projects. Much care and planning are necessary for a project to be successful like one recently competed by In-Ling Contracting Ltd. The project, in Fort McMurray, Alberta, involved installing a 3,657 mm by 72 m long steel creek drainage line under Highway 63. In-Ling Contracting Ltd., was contracted to perform the work.
Because of the size of the pipe and the length of the drive, there was a need for possible additional jacking force. An internal 2,438 mm adapter was constructed to allow for the pipe ramming hammer to drive the pipe and still allow for a jacking cylinder to push the 3,657 mm pipe if needed. The internal 2,438 mm pipe adapter was built using internal support within the 3,657 mm steel pipe. The pipe ramming hammer could provide 40,000 kN of impact force and the jacking cylinders could exert up to 6,600 kN to the 3,657 mm steel pipe.
The pipe size, drive length, permafrost thaw, soil conditions and proximity to the highway all posed significant challenges. Pneumatic pipe ramming in conjunction with jacking cylinders was chosen as it allowed for the contractor to overcome most of those challenges. The project set up, ramming conditions, and equipment used all provided valuable information regarding pipe ramming under these types of conditions.
The basics of pneumatic pipe ramming
During trenchless pipe ramming, a pneumatic hammer is attached to the rear of the casing or pipe. The ramming tool, which is basically an encased piston, drives the pipe through the ground with repeated percussive blows. A cutting shoe is often welded to the front of the lead casing to help reduce friction and cut through the soil. The use of bentonite or polymer lubrication can also be used to help reduce friction during ramming operations.
Several options are available for ramming various lengths of pipe. An entire length of pipe can be installed at once, or, for longer runs, one section at a time can be installed. In the latter case, the ramming tool is removed after each section of new pipe is in place so that a new section can be welded on to the end of the newly installed section. The ramming tool is connected to the new section and ramming continues. Depending on the size of the installation, spoils from inside the casing can be removed with compressed air, water, an augering system or a mini backhoe.
Some casing installation methods are impaired or even rendered inoperable by rock or boulder filled soils. Pipe ramming is different. During pipe ramming, boulders and rocks as large as the casing itself can be “swallowed up” as the casing moves through the soil and can be removed after the installation is complete.
Ramming tools are capable of installing 102 mm through 2,032 mm diameter pipe and steel casings. Diameters up to 3,759 mm have been successfully installed using large scale ramming equipment. Ramming requires minimal working depths and has proven effective for horizontal, vertical, and angled applications. Ramming is also ideal for installations under roads and rail lines because it displaces the soil without creating voids or slumps.
Pipe ramming under the highway
Highway 63 is a main corridor to the oil sands region of Canada. The casing installed under Highway 63 was part of a significant road-widening project. The 3,657 mm casing was being installed to facilitate creek drainage under the roadway. The project was located in a slide area. The soil conditions consisted of heavy moist clay.
The contractor decided to use pipe ramming for the casing installation because of the slide area, as well as the time of year. During the early summer, the permafrost was melting and causing the soil to press down on the casing, creating additional friction. Pipe ramming provided the best opportunity to install the casing and avoid surface slump, while avoiding potential significant damage to the highway through road sag. A Grundoram Apollo pneumatic pipe rammer, from trenchless equipment manufacturer TT TechnoloTechnologies, was chosen for the project.
In order to install the large casing, an 812 mm diameter ramming tool was spec’d for the project. The 812 mm diameter tool has a 914 mm rear flair and measures 4,394 mm in length. It weighs 11,567 kg, and delivers 40,500 N-m of impact energy at 180 strokes per minute.
In order to make the connection between the tool and the very large diameter casing, a special 2,438 mm ramming drive adapter configuration was used. This technique includes welding a smaller 2,438 mm diameter casing inside of the 3,657 mm casing with eight 50 mm by 914 mm ram plates. The ramming then makes a direct connection to the 2,438 mm diameter drive adapter through standard ramming gear. The 2,438 mm drive adapter makes the final connection to the 3,657 mm casing through the welded-on ram plates.
At the start of the project, crews pushed the pipe under the roadway as far as they could, utilizing the jacking system. Crews were able to jack the pipe under the roadway approximately 22 m before beginning the ramming process. To power the ramming tool, crews had four 44 m3/ min air compressors on site and used up to three compressors at one time during pipe ramming operations.
Throughout the project ramming progress averaged 63 mm per minute utilizing the ramming tool in combination with the jacking system to help mitigate recoil from the percussive action of the pipe rammer.
Weather conditions provided an additional challenge on this project. Crews contended with significant rainfall throughout, slowing progress and resulting in extremely muddy conditions.
The entire ramming portion of the project took approximately three weeks to complete. The 2,438 mm drive adapter became fatigued with 9.1 m remaining on the project. The contractor was able to dig up the 3,657 mm at that point and make the final push to completion.
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.