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What Is Horizontal Directional Drilling in Practice?

What Is Horizontal Directional Drilling in Practice?

Drilling is often a necessary part of massive installation projects as companies look to lay down essential infrastructure. However, the conventional type of drilling is not always a viable option in all project locations. Because of that, companies have become increasingly reliant on alternative drilling practices, with horizontal directional drilling becoming a particularly popular option. As evidence of that, the horizontal drilling market is projected to reach $14.86 billion in 2028, according to Grand View Research. Understand that type of drilling better by continuing below.

What Is Horizontal Drilling?

The best place to start when discussing horizontal drilling is to detail the process itself. The process begins with the creation of a pilot hole. Different transmitters are positioned near the drill head so the engineer can determine where the hole should be created. Several readings are recorded during the process of creating the pilot hole to ensure that it aligns with recommended specifications.

With the pilot hole created, the drilling will continue until the target exit point is reached. Now that there is an opening large enough to serve as a guide, the next phase of the drilling process focuses on widening that space. A reamer attached to the drill pipe is designed to create the necessary space for the additional installations.

The engineer will then pull the reamer back into the pilot hole and start rotating it. The rotations will remove any solid materials near the drill to open up the hole further. Drilling fluid will also be added to the pilot to aid in the process.

Additives will be introduced into the hole while it’s being expanded. These additives include water and bentonite clay. The bentonite is added to the hole to improve its stability. Other additives may be introduced during the drilling process if there are materials in the hole that are proving difficult to dislodge.

Once the hole is deemed large and stable enough, the horizontal drilling process can move to its final stage. This final stage involves pulling the pipe into the hole and setting it in place. More lubricant is added to ensure the pipe isn’t damaged. The new pipe can be connected to others within the system to establish a new supply line.


What Are the Advantages of Horizontal Drilling?

The primary purpose of horizontal drilling is to install new pipes that can be used as supply lines. Various companies rely on horizontal drilling to make their services accessible to more customers. It’s especially useful in rural areas as customers lacking basic services can now receive them.

Beyond making essential services more accessible, there are other benefits of horizontal drilling worth discussing. For instance, horizontal drilling is less disturbing than the more conventional alternatives. The aforementioned process doesn’t cause significant disturbance because it’s mainly conducted underground. The surrounding soil acts as a buffer that minimizes noise pollution and other forms of disturbance.

Horizontal directional drilling also minimizes disruption by relying on precise actions. Every step of the drilling process is carefully calculated and tracked. The care put into the process reduces mistakes and the need for additional drilling.


Companies have also become increasingly dependent on horizontal drilling because it can be conducted quickly. Projects don’t have to be delayed because certain issues related to resident comfort or accessibility have emerged. The residents living near the drill site also don’t have to worry about their routines being disrupted. The drilling can continue underground as businesses operate like normal.


Where Is Horizontal Drilling Utilized?

Horizontal directional drilling can be conducted in all kinds of worksites. Still, there are certain situations where horizontal drilling has proven to be more helpful. Companies may have no option beyond using horizontal drilling if they’re trying to establish supply lines in environmentally sensitive areas. Directional drilling may be the only viable option in those areas because it minimizes disruption.

Supply companies may also rely on directional drilling because of other entities in the area. If numerous supply lines are buried underground in a particular spot, horizontal drilling may be utilized to squeeze past them. This type of drilling is also suitable for traversing waterways and similar locations.

The usefulness of horizontal drilling should not be overlooked. Consider it a potential solution if your company is trying to reach new customers. Are you looking to learn more about horizontal drilling? Visit our website today to pick up more valuable information pertaining to that drilling practice. The team at Tru Plumbing & Excavating is here to help!

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