5 Important Pieces of Directional Drilling Equipment

Is your company interested in investing in the lucrative market of directional drilling? If so, you’ll want to give yourself every advantage to get ahead in the drilling industry.

The best way to do that is by learning everything there is to know about drilling equipment.

The equipment you choose will make or break your company, so it’s important to do thorough research on every piece of gear you buy. First, though, you need to understand the basics.

Directional drilling is a complex process that uses powerful yet delicate tools. Learning about each part of a drill will help you make better purchasing decisions when it’s time to buy your equipment.

Read on to learn about five important pieces of directional drilling equipment that you’ll need if you want your business to succeed.

1. Drill Bits

If you’ve ever used a power drill, you’re familiar with the process of choosing the right drill bit for a job. You need to make a similar choice when preparing for a directional drilling job.

Although the drill you’re working with is much larger than any power tool, the idea behind the drill bit is the same: it’s the piece of the drill that’s designed to remove material from whatever you’re drilling into.

In other words, the bit is the part of the drill that does the actual drilling.

Choosing the right bit is one of the most important choices you’ll make. There are several different bit configurations you can use for directional drilling, as well as different bit materials.

The kind of drill bit you need largely depends on the material you’re drilling through. For instance, abrasive sand can wear a bit down quickly, so you’d want to use a particularly strong bit material when drilling through it.

2. Locating Systems

Horizontal directional drilling (or HDD) locating systems are vital tools that allow you to plan your drilling route. This piece of equipment is just as important as any piece of the drill itself.

HDD locating systems tell you where your drill is at and where it’s facing. With that information, you can make any necessary adjustments to your drill’s position.

There are three common types of HDD locating systems: walk-over systems, wire-line systems, and gyro-based systems.

Walk-over systems are the most popular of the three. In a walk-over system, a transmitter sits behind the head of a drill. It sends information to a receiver on the ground via electromagnetic signals.

Wire-line systems use a wire grid to gather information. That information is then sent along a wire from the drill pipe to a receiver. They’re highly accurate but time-consuming to implement.

Gyro-based HDD locating systems use gyroscopes to steer a drill accurately. However, they don’t have a way to relay position information to workers on the surface, creating a potential safety hazard.

3. Reaming Tools

Drilling isn’t the only type of work you’ll need to do on a directional drilling project; you’ll likely need to do a bit of reaming, too. Yes, drilling, reaming, and boring are all different types of work!

The initial path that a drill creates is called the pilot hole. The pilot hole is roughly the size of the pipe or other structure that you’re excavating for.

Once the pilot hole is ready, a reamer is used to widen it further. A wider hole is much easier to fit your structure into. Reaming tools also help compact the earth of the hole, making the ‘walls’ of the tunnel sturdier.

Like drill bits, reaming tools come in a variety of shapes and materials. The reaming tool you need depends on the job you’re doing.

4. Drill Rigs

The drill rig is the largest, most visible part of the drill–it’s the large piece of equipment that houses the drill head, drill bit, and everything else. Your drill rig needs to be able to handle whatever drill parts you plan to install.

As with most directional drilling equipment, you have an abundance of choices when it comes to your drill rig. You’ll have options related to diameter, bore length, and more.

Drill rigs feature a drill rod–a long rod that transfers pressure into the drill head and drill bit. The end of the drill rod has a curved portion called a bent sub that allows the user to steer the drill.

A carriage supplies pull and push forces, which move through the main beam at the base of the rig before being transferred into the drill rod.

Drill rigs also feature a wheeled chassis for easy transport. Once the rig is in place, you can mount an erector behind the chassis to set the drill at the proper angle.

5. Drilling Fluid

One aspect of directional drilling that you may not have considered is the drilling fluid. Large drills rely heavily on drilling fluid to ensure that the drilling process goes smoothly and the drill remains undamaged.

Drilling fluid is made from a combination of bentonite and water. Bentonite is a type of clay that expands when exposed to water; its properties make it an excellent lubricator for drilling.

Drilling fluid serves several purposes. The first is that it coats and lubricates your drill during the drilling process, protecting it from excess wear and tear. Bentonite helps your drill last longer.

More importantly, bentonite lubricates the tunnel itself. The interior of the borehole gets coated in a layer of drilling fluid, which helps the walls and ceiling of the tunnel stay stable.

The lubrication also makes it easier to move pipes into the hole.

Bentonite is also perfect for keeping ground cuttings suspended in liquid, making them easier to pump out of the borehole.

Understand Your Drilling Equipment

The more you know about drilling equipment, the better choices you can make when it’s time to buy your own. Whether you’re trying to find the right drill bit or the perfect reaming tool, this knowledge will serve you well!

What other tools can help your company thrive? Visit our business blog for articles and tips on other tech you can use to give your company an edge!