Engineers are quite often confronted by rock when they are attempting to install any underground utilities, and this quite often slows down progress. When they are confronted with such obstacles in places away from civilization like road or railroad projects, they can resort to blasting and other methods to remove the rock.
However, when they are in the middle of a city or town, these alternatives are not feasible, and they have to resort to horizontal rock drilling to
`+ enable them to clear obstructions.
There are a number of companies that have sophisticated equipment and the experience to resort to horizontal rock drilling, which allows them to go through the rock with very little difficulty.
One such company is Victoria Trenchless Solution or VTS, which enables such solutions that do not have any necessity to expose the rock or to cut trenches. When city utilities need to be installed, the traditional methods include cutting open trenches which allows the pipes to be placed easily. When such trenches are on roads, as most of them are, it can lead to complete disruption of traffic and a lot of inconvenience to citizens.
The trenchless method only requires excavations at entry and exit points, which can be at fairly long distances. The required boring is then completed by horizontal rock drilling that can drill through earth, clay and rock to reach the point of exit. The equipment used by companies, like VTS, allows drills to be manipulated both horizontally and vertically. This makes it an ideal solution for drilling through rock formations, when it is not a practical solution to make an open cut to expose the rock. Any pipes can be installed in a straight line or even curved to some extent, while ensuring that all obstacles are cleared. As all the boring is done underground, the only working area that may disrupt life above ground is where the equipment needs to be lowered at the point of entry and exit.
This method of horizontal rock drilling causes no disruption to traffic, and never scars the landscape or disturbs roads that need to be then resurfaced again. Most of the equipment used in this form of drilling operates from the surface and does away with any need for blasting. Horizontal rock drilling is never affected by surface obstacles, which quite often prevent open trenches from being installed. This technique is very useful for sea outfalls as drilling can be carried out with the minimum requirement of marine works which are difficult to execute. Engineers relate this trenchless method of drilling to the keyhole surgery that doctor’s practice.
Horizontal drilling can drill through clay, earth and rock and present day equipment allows for diameters that can be as small as 100 mm to as large as three meters. At present it is possible to go through lengths of as much as 600 meters from the installed point. As most city utilizes do require inspection chambers or manholes at regular intervals, this trenchless method of horizontal rock drilling makes it very convenient to create entry points at regular intervals, while the ground above the length being drilled remains undisturbed.
This horizontal drilling method allows for large diameter continuous openings to be created below the ground. Pipes can then be installed in them through the process of pipe jacking, which allows large lengths of pipes to be passed through these openings. The technique is very useful for road crossings for pipes that need to carry oil, gas, water or as communication ducts. The work can be carried out without disrupting the road traffic which allows the creation of the required facilities seamlessly and efficiently.
Most horizontal rock drilling uses the conventional drill heads with diamond and high carbon steel to drill through rock. But for larger projects cluster hammers using pneumatic power can achieve the same required clearing of rock. These techniques are largely in use in tunnels and much larger diameter drilling through rock formations, and are ideal alternatives to the conventional mechanical tunneling methods of rock removal. Being able to drill through rock horizontally gives engineers the freedom to tackle trenchless work in difficult locations, with ease.