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Horizontal Rock Drilling: Why Is It the Installation of Choice? 05Feb Posted By: admin

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Whether updating existing subterranean infrastructure or laying new ones, the traditional method is not always possible. A different technique may be required to lay sewage piping, communication cables and a host of other services in built-up areas. Increasingly, that preferred alternative technique is horizontal rock drilling.

Specially designed equipment ensures that disruption on the surface remains minimal. A fast and cost-effective procedure means that the project can be successfully completed in a wholly practical, environmentally or economically viable way.

Victoria Trenchless Solutions is a specialist in horizontal rock drilling. From small domestic projects to large commercial infrastructure, we have worked with many of Victoria’s biggest corporations, construction firms and government authorities over the years.

But what exactly is this rock boring technique? How and when is it used? And what are the advantages that it offers over more traditional drilling techniques?

What Is Horizontal Rock Drilling?

Do not mistake it for the other term, like the horizontal directional drilling and directional boring. However, the technique is not the same. Instead of digging a trench in order to lay pipes in the ground, a horizontal tunnel can be drilled from the surface by entering the ground at an angle and moving in a shallow arc. This is done to break through the surface again in a designated point from a distance away.

Of course, there is a considerable amount of science and hardware required to provide reliable horizontal rock drilling services. For the most part, HDD is ideal for areas where trenching and major excavation work cannot be carried out – like urban and suburban areas.

Increasingly, urban councils and state government bodies are opting for horizontal rock drilling. This is because of its less disruptive traits. The only disruption is the area that the discrete surface-launched where drilling rig occupies – otherwise it is unnoticeable on the surface.

When It Is Used

There are several project types that are ideally suited to using horizontal rock drilling, like when upgrading existing:

  • Power infrastructures
  • Communications infrastructure
  • Gas mains systems
  • Water mains systems
  • Historically and environmentally sensitive area

The drilling hardware used means that the technique is applicable in a wide variety of geological conditions. These range from sand and clay to shale and hard rock. It is not so effective when there are voids in the rock layers, like ground comprising a mixture of rock and soil.

Guidance in Horizontal Rock Drilling

One of the biggest challenges is in plotting an accurate course for a tunnel when using the horizontal rock drilling technique. Obviously, the path of the tunnel cannot be seen. So, how can it be done accurately? Once again, technology provides the answer.

There are 3 main ways to plot the tunnel path from the surface.

  1. Walk-Over – This is where a transmitter, located behind the bore head, sends information to the surface where a receiver collects it. The information includes details on the direction, the depth and the angle of the path so far, as well as important temperature data on the drill bit.
  2. Wire-Line – The most effective at verifying location. The wire line is a magnetic guidance system that uses wire grids laid on the surface to measure inclination and azimuth.
  3. Gyro-Based – The best system for long-distance horizontal rock drilling. The gyro works completely independently and provides a positioning error range of less than 1 metre on distances as long as 2 kilometres.

Horizontal Rock Drilling from VTS

Victoria Trenchless Solutions has long been a provider of expert horizontal rock drilling services in Melbourne and throughout the state of Victoria. Our completed projects range from small domestic jobs to large commercial projects involving the laying of virgin infrastructural aspects, from electricity and communication cables to gas and water mains piping.

For more details on our horizontal rock drilling services elsewhere, visit our website or contact us directly at (03) 9795 0608.