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This content was written for GEI Utility Construction
GEI Utility Construction, the Utility contractor Tulsa has depended on for well over 35 years to deliver reliable repeatable utility construction services of the highest quality available specializes in horizontal directional drilling. Horizontal directional drilling is the process of putting an underground utility or conduit in the ground between two points without actually having to excavate in between the beginning and end point. The process is done with a highly specialized piece of heavy equipment known as a horizontal directional drill or bore rig or directional drill. The horizontal directional drill has an engine which is usually diesel powered that then turns a hydraulic pump. The hydraulic pump sends extremely high pressures of hydraulic fluid to the various moving parts of the machine by a set of hydraulic hoses and valves controlled by the operator. The main function of the horizontal directional drill is the thrust and pull back and the torque or rotational force on the drill string.
As the horizontal directional drill pushes the drill string into the ground it rotates the drill string to help cut the soil and advance the drill string through the ground. The drill head typically has a paddle shape bit when drilling in dirt and other softer soil conditions and when steering needs to be achieved it can be turned to specific locations on the clock and pushed without spending which causes the paddle to steer the drill head in any given direction. This process would not be possible without the locating equipment used to locate the exact location of the drill head, the pitch up or down, and the location on the clock i.e. 12 o’clock 3 o’clock 6 o’clock 9 o’clock and so on and so forth. The locating system also sends back other critical data to the Locator who is usually following at the surface level the bore path that the drill string is taking. The Locator relays instructions back to the drill operator who then makes adjustments accordingly. Some of the other data sent back to the machine includes the temperature of the bore head which can be critical because the sending unit, a $5000 beacon or sonde cannot withstand excessively high temperatures. The beacon also sends back information related to fluid pressure inside the borehole as well as depth from ground level to the drill head. Today we will discuss the various parts of the locating system, their functions and their usages and how they can be one of the most vital tools for a utility contractor Tulsa.
The first and most important part of the locating system as mentioned above is known as the beacon or sonde. The beacon will vary in size depending on the size of the machine but are typically approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 12 to 24 inches in length. The beacons except batteries which can be rechargeable or lithium ion or other types of cell battery to power themselves.
The beacon, before being placed into the drill head must be configured. Configuring the beacon may vary depending on the manufacture but typically involves using a take measure and a series of instructions and tasks which must be carried out using the receiver at a specified distance to calibrate distance from the locating your receiver. Once the beacon is calibrated or configured the utility contractor Tulsa installs it into the drill head. This beacon sends back all of the vital information necessary to successfully complete a horizontal directional bore. It is very important to ensure your utility contractor Tulsa is using the latest and most accurate Locating equipment to ensure the highest chances of success for your HDD project. Once the beacon is installed in the head and the bore has begun typically the operator will spin the drill had to cut a hole in a straight line into the ground. Once the desired depth is reached, the locator, or the person operating the locating receiver, will instruct the operator to turn the drill string to 12 o’clock. The beacon sends the signal to the locator receiver and then on to the operator at the machine so that the operator can see where the drills training is currently setting and rotate the drill string accordingly until 12 o’clock is reached. Once the desired position on the clock has been found the operator will begin pushing the drill strength without rotating which effectively pushes the drill string in the desired direction. The person on the locating receiver then watches the pitch on the locator and has the operator push until the desired pitch has been reached. Sometimes it may be often to achieve half of the desired pitch and drill the remainder of the stem and repeat the process if the desired change in pitch is more than 10 to 12°.
Another crucial factor for utility contractor Tulsa in horizontal directional drilling as mentioned in previous articles is the fluids or mud mixture used when drilling. As the drive engine on the horizontal directional drill powers the hydraulic motor the hydraulic motor sends hydraulic fluid to a hydraulically powered water pump, among many other things, which sends extremely high pressure fluid mixture down the drill string to the head to help cut away soil to make room and displace existing material. Bore mud is mixed using a specialized system of pumps and tanks. Water is first placed into the tanks to be mixed with different non-toxic, eco-friendly solutions to aid in the bore process. For example, bore mud for sand must be much different than bore mud for clay. Sand, as you could imagine, must have a very specific mixture to support the bore hole. If the bore hole collapses on the drill string, the machine will not have enough power to move the drill string in and out of the hole any longer. With clay, which is reactive to water, a special mixture must be made to counteract clay’s reactivity to prevent the bore hole from eventually swelling in and seizing the drill string in place. The same can be said for different types of rock formations, as well as different soil types.
Continued, See HDD Locating Equipment Pt. 2