A Brief History Of Horizontal Directional Drilling

texas horizontal directional drilling

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is considered the industry standard because it’s one of the safest methods for highways bores. For both construction companies and the general public, HDD offers many benefits including minimized traffic disruption and more efficient installation.


But HDD wasn’t always the industry standard. To see just how far the HDD market has come in the last 60 years, here’s a brief history on horizontal directional drilling.


Cherrington and the start of HDD


Back in the 1960s, job sites for horizontal directional drilling were nowhere to be found. It wasn’t until Martin Cherrington observed a gas line being installed using a hand-held air drill that the idea for HDD became more than just a suggestion but a possibility.


Cherrington recognized that he could use similar principles as the air-drill installation on a large scale project. In 1964, he went out to combine air-drilling principles with guided drilling and launched his own drill rig, Titan Contractors, Inc.


Surprisingly, the first HDD rig looks very similar to the ones that are currently in use today. Cherrington and his crew relied on “potholing” to determine the angle and direction of the bore head in a basic, but impressive, early method of HDD.


The first underwater bore


The first river crossing was completed using HDD in 1971. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company asked Cherrington and his team if they could drill under the Pajaro River to install a 4-inch gas line.


To anyone else, the project may have seemed impossible. But to Cherrington and the capabilities of HDD, the job was no problem. With only a few difficulties, Cherrington completed the underwater bore in a single month.


Horizontal directional drilling takes off


After Cherrington’s success with the underwater bore at the Pajaro River, Cherrington was contracted to do another major river crossing. After the success of that crossing, he was later contracted to do another as HDD took off.


By the 1980s, the HDD market had exploded with popularity. The number of HDD units increased by over 100 between 1984 and 1994.


During the 1990s, HDD technology improved with breakthroughs in machine controls and electronic tracking, and innovations like the bottom-feed pipe loader. By the 2000s, HDD was no longer a novelty drilling technique but a major part of the drilling market.


Looking for Texas horizontal directional drilling services?


Trenchless drilling is the most efficient and effective method for highway bores. In fact, the telecommunications installation market increased its HDD market to 24.4% in 2017, according to the 2017 Horizontal Directional Drilling Survey.


If you’re looking for Texas horizontal directional drilling services in your area, look no further than American Directional Boring. We offer professional trenchless boring services so you don’t have to worry about buying all the equipment yourself. To learn more about our Texas horizontal directional drilling services, contact American Directional Boring today.

How To Set Up A Safe HDD Job Site, Part 2

austin directional drilling contractorIn Part 1 of our series on how to set up a safe job site for horizontal directional drilling, we talked about the importance of the operator’s manual for your equipment and marking known utility lines.

Here in Part 2, we’ll dive deeper into potholing and setting up your job site for your HDD project.

Use potholing to find underground utilities

You need to locate underground utilities before you start horizontal directional drilling. That’s not just a safety concern, but an OSHA requirement. Each utility needs to be exposed near the bore to verify its exact location.

This is where potholing comes in. By potholing with a vacuum excavation system, you can safely and fully expose existing utility lines. You can do this for hard surfaces like concrete by using a core saw to cut a small access hole.

Set up your job site for success

Now that you’ve marked and identified all the known utility lines on the job site, it’s time to set up the site itself. Begin by making sure your trailer surface is dry and isn’t slick from mud, snow, or ice. Level your trailer with the ground and slowly drive the HDD equipment off the ramp.

Place traffic warning cones around the truck and trailer and use any traffic warning devices that may be required by your city officials. Have your crew members insert the voltage stake of your directional drill into the ground 6ft away from the machine once the drill is positioned on the site. The voltage stake shouldn’t be over the drill string.

Once the drill and voltage stake are in position, place safety cones on all four sides of the drill. Use safety signs as needed to ensure only trained personnel wearing appropriate protective equipment are allowed inside the perimeter of the safety cones.

At this point, the drill’s operator can sit on the drill to stake it in the ground to keep it from moving during the drilling process. It’s crucial that only the operator comes into the cone area at this point and that they’re wearing protective equipment.

After marking any exposure pits and testing your remote lockout system, your job site is safe and secure for construction.

Find the right Austin directional drilling contractors for the job

Horizontal directional drilling is accomplished in three main phases. You need professional and experienced Austin directional drilling contractors at every phase of your HDD project.

American Directional Boring has the Austin directional drilling contractors you’re looking for to get your project done safely and efficiently. To learn more about our underground directional boring services and contractors, contact American Directional Boring today.

How To Set Up A Safe HDD Job Site, Part 1

underground drilling serviceHorizontal directional drilling is a trenchless drilling method used in areas where you can’t make any major civil disturbances. A wide open space away from people is a great spot for trenchless drilling, but the side of a roadway is the place for HDD.

That said, a trenchless drilling job site isn’t your average construction site because you’re working near roadways and pedestrians. So how can you keep crew members and everyone near the job site safe and secure? Here’s how you can establish a safe HDD job site.

Make sure everyone is familiar with the operator’s manual

Everyone who will be working on the job site needs to be familiar with the operator’s manual of the equipment your team will be using. Whether your team is operating a horizontal directional drill, an excavator, or a vacuum excavation system, they need to be familiar with the manual.

This is true whether you’re outsourcing your underground drilling services or using in-house contractors. The operator’s manual for the HDD equipment contains valuable information on personal protection requirements, safety precautions, and proper machine operations. Everyone involved in the job needs to know the correct operating procedures.

Conduct pre-bore planning

When you’re preparing for the job, you need to make sure that all utility lines in the area have been marked. If you’re not sure whether the utility lines have been marked, you can call the specific company to make sure.

You also want to ensure that you have emergency phone numbers for your utility companies. This goes for emergency services, foremen, and co-workers.

Get these numbers before you start working on the job. When you have these numbers, you’ll be able to reduce the time it takes to notify the people you need to notify if something goes wrong on the job site.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on how to create a safe and secure HDD job site where we’ll go into detail on potholing and setting up the job site itself.

Looking for Texas underground drilling services?

Horizontal directional drilling is considered the safest, most efficient, and most cost-effective method for highway bores. It’s a good idea to hire a professional underground drilling service so you can properly establish a safe HDD job site.

If you’re looking for Texas underground boring services for your project, American Directional Boring has the Texas HDD contractors you need. To learn more about our underground drilling services in Texas, contact American Directional Boring today.

3 Signs It’s Time To Outsource Your HDD Services

underground boring servicesMany businesses choose to hire their employees in-house so they can take advantage of having skilled workers on their team. The stronger the team, the stronger the construction company.

But hiring in-house isn’t always the best choice. Outsourcing, especially for smaller businesses, can not only save a lot of time and effort but sometimes it can also be better for your construction company.

The question is how do you know when outsourcing is the better option? Here are five signs outsourcing your underground boring services is right for you:

  1. You’re spending too much time on the hiring process. The hiring process takes a while. You need to screen for candidates that are right for the job, schedule job interviews, and reach out to the candidates that you like. Then, after all that, you also need to train them on how your team operates. If it’s been months and you’ve only hired one or two people for your team, it might be time to outsource.
  2. You can afford new people, but not new equipment. When you outsource underground boring services, you’re not just getting industry professionals. You’re also getting their equipment for the duration of your project. If you’ve been sweating over the idea of whether to buy new equipment or hire new people, it might be time to outsource.
  3. You rarely use HDD on the job. Horizontal directional drilling is considered the industry standard, but traditional trenching is still a popular practice when installing pipelines. If your company rarely uses HDD, you might benefit more from outsourcing underground boring services when you need them. Workers that are used to traditional trenching regularly might not be as experienced working with trenchless pipe drilling compared to an outsourced team of HDD professionals.

Where can I find underground boring services near me?

It’s no secret horizontal directional drilling is the preferred method of drilling. In fact, the global HDD market is expected to reach $14.95 billion by 2022. But where can you find the underground boring services you need to take advantage of the industry standard?

American Directional Boring has the professional and experienced HDD contractors you’re looking for to get the job done. To learn more about our underground boring services or Texas directional drilling contractors, contact American Directional Boring today.

3 Reasons Why Using The Wrong Drilling Tools Can Cost You

Texas directional drilling contractorYour top priority for your construction project is to complete the job as efficiently and profitably as possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to cut corners and say your work is good enough just so you can wrap up your project and get onto the next one.

In fact, when you make the wrong decisions about your drilling tools, those decisions can come back to haunt you later. Don’t believe us? Here are three ways using the wrong tools can negatively impact your entire project.

  1. You’ll cause damage to your tools and rig. Some contractors try to save money by using an undersized tool. Unfortunately, you can end up damaging the tool and the rig when you use undersized tooling on a rig with a higher pullback rating and torque. Be sure you’re using the right tool for the job and don’t try to save money by sharing tools across drill rigs.
  2. You’ll accelerate your tool’s wear and tear. Your drilling tools will wear down over time. But when you use the wrong tools for the job, you can end up accelerating that wear and tear. For instance, poorly applying cutters to your drill to increase the diameter can not only slow down your project but it can also break your tools in the middle of your job.
  3. You’ll slow yourself down and lower your profits. The reason why you’re trying to cut corners in the first place is to save time and money. But you can end up costing yourself more time and money when you use the wrong tools. When you try to make do with the tools you have instead of taking the time to figure out what tools you really need, you can end up slowing down your project. The wrong tools will make it take longer to drill and, in some cases, you may even need to abandon your rig if things go badly.

Where can I find a Texas directional drilling contractor near me?

It’s estimated that there are 2.5 million miles of pipelines in the U.S. that transport fuel products from source to market. That’s why it’s so important that these pipelines be installed efficiently and correctly.

If you’re looking for a Texas directional drilling contractor to help install pipelines, telecommunications, or other utilities, American Directional Boring has got your back. For more information about our Texas directional drilling services, contact American Directional Boring today.