What Is a Horizontal Direction Drill? Your Complete Guide

Projections show that the global directional drilling services market will reach a value of $13.87 billion by 2027.

A horizontal direction drill is a complicated piece of machinery but offers a range of benefits. Construction projects often have very specific requirements, and some jobs become a lot easier with the use of horizontal directional drilling.

For a rundown on what a horizontal directional drill is and why they are so useful, keep reading.

What Is Directional Drilling?

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is a drilling method used in large-scale construction to install pipelines. The drill is launched from the surface and an operator steers it along the desired path.

This is ideal in situations where drilling horizontally is preferable to digging a trench. The drilling has three stages:

  1. Pilot drilling – A drill bit is used along with a pipe assembly to create a pilot hole
  2. Expanding the drilling hole – This is done with a reaming tool to make the hole the correct diameter for drilling
  3. Pulling the production pipe – The drill rig then pulls the pipeline into the hole and places it

After this, the workers will test the pipe and weld it at each end.

The way that horizontal directional drills work can be a bit difficult to understand, but this directional drilling for dummies guide explains everything simply.

Directional Drilling Advantages

Horizontal directional drills use tough materials with impressive lifespans. They’re very accurate making it easier to lay pipelines with precision. This helps extend the lifespan of pipelines.

When not using HDD pipes may sometimes need to run above ground. This leaves them exposed to the elements which will wear pipelines down, resulting in the need for more maintenance and a shorter lifespan.

Installing pipelines with HDD is quick and cost-effective. There is no need to dig up any ground, and this is especially beneficial whenever there are obstacles that would take a lot of time and money to move/replace.

Horizontal directional drilling companies can place pipelines in locations that other methods can’t. They’ll also cause minimal disruption when doing so.

Environmental impact is often a concern with construction work, and HDD is better than other methods here. Rather than pulling soil to the surface it just pushes it to the side resulting in less contamination. On top of this, the pipes and pipe connections are long-lasting which prevents any permeation.

Directional Drilling Disadvantages

There aren’t many major disadvantages to HDD, but it’s important to be aware of the drawbacks before committing to it.

For one, getting the project done can be complicated. The process of directional drilling itself is quite complex which can make operations somewhat difficult.

While an effort can be made to cause as little disturbance to the landscape as possible, there will always be some amount of damage to the ground where the drilling takes place.

Do You Need a Horizontal Direction Drill

This will depend on the nature of your project. You should think about directional drilling pros and cons to help with your decision.

Do you need to place a pipeline under a river, road, or existing structures? If so then using a horizontal direction drill may well be your best option.

For more construction-related articles check out some of our other blog posts.