How HDD Equipment Works

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Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) machines are trenchless, steerable, drilling rigs used to install cables, pipes, conduits, and underground in a shallow arc. They’re typically utilized to avoid disturbing the ground above streams and motorways.

Heavy-duty vehicles with track drives, operator controls, and drilling apparatus are commonly used for horizontal directional drilling equipment.

Drilling Rig


An HDD rig is made up of various parts. A drill rig is an important component. Drill rods are readied at a storage area on the rig. Drill rods will be linked together to form a drill string, which will be used to advance the drill bit. A sonde housing is located behind the drill bit and transmits a signal.

A technician with a transmitter receiver will take up the signal and use it to track down the spot. The data is analyzed to provide information to the rig’s operator, who navigates and conducts the drilling.

Drilling fluid is also supplied to the rig via a tank and pump. This ensures that drilling fluid is pumped constantly during the drilling process.

Downhole Tools

During drilling operations, downhole tools are employed. Drill bits, air hammer systems, mud mixers, adapters, transmitter housings, and reamers are among the items included. Downhole tooling is critical in a drilling operation since it affects the machine’s overall productivity.

Tooling costs should be considered when calculating the overall cost of operation because it is prone to wear and tear.

Navigation / Steering Systems

HDD steering tools have three types. The magnetic tool which uses magnetic fields, then the gyro tool uses fiber-optic gyroscopes and accelerometers to calculate the drill’s position. Wires connect the steering tools to equipment on the ground, which does calculations and makes changes.

Gyroscope Steering Tools

One of the three wireline steering mechanisms utilized in HDD is the gyro.

It’s a device that calculates orientation using Earth’s gravity. In the case of directional drilling, tool-face magnitude and orientation (TMFO) are determined by gyros. A gyro is a wheel with a freely revolving disc set on a spinning axis in the middle.

The freely revolving disc remains motionless as the spinning axis rotates, indicating gravitational attraction from the center.

Magnetic Wireline Steering Tools

The most accurate and dependable wireline steering method utilized in HDD is magnetic wireline steering. It’s accurate and dependable, and the use of a coil makes steering easier.

It uses a magnetic navigation system to determine the borehole’s azimuth and inclination. The drill bit is kept drilling in the appropriate direction by a wireline operator who tracks the tool face magnitude and orientation (TFMO).

Walk-over Locating System

Angle, rotation, direction, and temperature data are recorded by a sonde or transmitter positioned behind the drill head. This data is encoded and delivered to the surface as an electromagnetic signal. The signal is decoded, and steering directions are delivered to the machine operator using a portable receiver that is manually placed over the transmitter.


One of the keys for a successful horizontal directional drilling (HDD) contractor is completing projects on time or ahead of schedule.

Drilling equipment must work well throughout the job without breaking down in order to achieve this. Downtime is expensive, and a contractor who is often forced to cease work owing to equipment faults risks not only missing deadlines but also losing future business due to a reputation for unreliability.

Maintaining equipment in good condition decreases downtime, but this is easier said than done. A machine can go from one project to another quickly. Being “too busy” to pause long enough to undertake planned maintenance on projects where equipment is operating for lengthy hours every day might cause major problems.

Proper records are required for maintaining horizontal directional drilling equipment. It informs staff not just about the most recent inspection but also about any prospective issue areas that have been flagged as something to watch or replace shortly. A checklist makes it simple to conduct assessments and verify that all areas are examined, and nothing is overlooked.

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