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Horizontal Directional Drilling

From a heritage of underground utility installation going back decades, Vermeer has been a market leader and innovator in the horizontal directional drill industry for more than 20 years.

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) allows for the installation of underground utilities with minimal surface disruption. A drill head can enter the soil from ground level, be manipulated to follow a planned bore path, and return to the surface at a distance from the entry point. A reamer and the product to be installed are pulled back through the bore path to the initial entry point.

Watch the video to get a better understanding of Horizontal Directional Drilling.

Advantages & Benefits Horizontal Directional Drilling

Sustainable construction
The HDD operation process is environmentally friendly. Benefit from the HDD’s ability to quickly install all kinds of utilities with minimum cutting, less noise & dust, fewer waste generation, recyclable bentonite and minimum construction material for road repairs.


Reuse existing structures
Qualitative restauration and or reinforcement of existing structure, due to less excavation.


Precise locating system
Drill with confidence! Locate existing utilities prior to the excavation and boring operations with the HDD’s locating system and significantly reduce the risks of your drilling activities.


Maintain integrity of existing infrastructure
The HDD’s enhanced pilot bore steering precision enables to dig under existing infrastructures like buildings, roads, sewers and rivers without having to ruin or damage it. Minimize your site reparations costs and keep the social costs low.


Flexible bore path
Installing utilities in difficult areas, like busy roadways and congested areas pose a real challenge. The HDD’s underground controllability enables a flexible bore path. Dig in different directions from one surface location and efficiently install new utilities nearly everywhere.

Process Steps Horizontal Directional Drilling

1. Pilot hole drilling
Use a non-rotating drill string with an asymmetrical leading edge. The asymmetry of the leading edge creates a steering bias while the non-rotating aspect of the drill string allows the steering bias to be held in a specific position while drilling.

2. Pre-reaming
Pre-ream the tunnel to a diameter suitable for the utility by pulling the back reamer through the bore path one or more times before pulling the product into the hole.

3. Pulling the utility
Slowly pull back the back reamer so that it has time to cut the formation and ensure that a fluent bore path is created and the product can be pulled back without getting stuck.


HDD Process Steps.jpg

Total System Set-up

Horizontal Directional Drilling

To successfully complete a horizontal directional drilling project, at least the following components are required:


1. Drill Rig
Each drill rig in the HDD series offers a high level of efficiency, precision, comfort and safety, while keeping the operating costs as low as possible. However, the type of drill rig needed depends on a variety of factors, like the type of operation and workplace. That is why Vermeer offers a wide range of drill rigs varying from smaller to larger rigs, suitable for any given tasks and environment. Click here to see the HDD range.


2. Mixing system
The mixing system mixes drilling fluids (incl. bentonite and polymers) with makeup water, which are then supplied to the HDD. The high quality and good flow of the drilling fluid coming from the mixing system is crucial for the success of the bores and for the life of the on-board drilling fluid pump.


3. Locator System
The use of a locater system enables to locate the drill head and to even position it at the desired clock position. It is essential for the success of your drilling activities. The use of it can prevent the drill head from coming out in the wrong location, becoming lost or missing the intended target. 


4. Drilling tools (drill bits and reamers)
Vermeer has a large variety of drill heads, cutting bits and reamers available. This enables to adapt the use of drilling tools to the encountered soil condition (e.g. clay, sand, rock and hard rock). Using the right drilling tools ensure the performance and efficiency of the drilling activities.





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