Installing piping, conduit or cabling underground using Horizontal Directional Drilling is fast becoming the preferred method of underground pipe installation in South Africa.

This trenchless technology practice offers an alternative to traditional trenching or excavating. This is particularly useful where traditional methods are either not practical or simply not possible.

Horizontal Drilling is a form of Directional Drilling. It is a specialist technique designed to install pipelines under construction sites, rivers, roads and highways, railway lines and across farm land.

Horizontal Directional Drilling is also commonly referred to as a trenchless technology practice.

How Does Horizontal Directional Drilling Work?

Stage 1: Drilling the Pilot Hole

The first stage of the Horizontal Directional Drilling or HDD process begins with boring a small, horizontal hole, otherwise known as a pilot hole, under the crossing obstacle with a continuous string of steel drill rods.

Stage 2: Reaming Out the Pilot Hole

When the bore head and rod emerge on the opposite side of the crossing, a special cutter, called a back reamer, is attached and pulled back through the pilot hole.

It is the job of the reamer to bore out the pilot hole so that the pipe can be pulled through.

Stage 3: Pulling the Pipeline Through

Finally, the pipe is pulled through the side of the crossing opposite the drill rig.

Traditional methods of installing pipework is often extremely disruptive and comes with certain limitation. Horizontal Directional Drilling does not carry these same limitations but rather has extensive benefits for companies that install gas, water and oil pipework systems.

1. Eliminates the Risk of Trench Digging Damage

Horizontal Drilling works from a surface area and therefore eliminates the risk of trench digging damage as there is no need for deep excavation when laying down pipework. This means that surfaces which are worth conserving are neither broken up or damaged.

2. Horizontal Drilling is More Cost Effective

It is also extremely cost effective as it requires only one piece of equipment as opposed to several different pieces of machinery as used when trenching.

3. Far Less Surface Obstructions and Noise

Horizontal Drilling is less obstructive to road, river and rail traffic because the working area is confined to the points of entry and exit. It is also produces far less noise and the result is only minimum disruptions and detours are experienced by the general public.

4. Horizontal Drilling Has Quicker Turnaround Times

Horizontal Drilling is a much quicker process to that of traditional methods of installing pipework and takes a fraction of the time to complete. This means faster turnaround times and project completion.

5. Drastic Reduction in Environmental Pollution

Horizontal Drilling greatly reduces the environmental impact of traditional drilling methods and is quickly becoming the preferred method of underground installation because of the greatly reduced ecological disturbance.

  • Installation of cable sleeves under roads, highways and railways.
  • Gravity lines for sewers and stormwater.
  • Pressure lines and drinking water supply.
  • Gas.
  • Crossing underneath rivers and other waterways is also frequently performed.

Our cutting edge directional drilling equipment lets us leave the ground surface and other infrastructure completely undisturbed throughout a drilling project. As the drill head is remotely controlled and located in real time, it can accurately bore holes for hundreds of metres of varying diameters to install gravity lines, pressure lines and cable sleeves.

Rescue Rod has many years’ experience with Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) in South Africa and we have a specialised fleet of HDD Equipment. From a minor utility crossing to a large river, landscape and outfall pipe installation, we have the experience and equipment to meet any project requirements.

Read more about the technical specifications of our HDD technology or if you would like to find out more the industries that use us and how our services can help save you money today.

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Rock Drilling

Sometimes when laying down a new pipeline system the project may be compromised due to a rock-bed under the ground.

Rescue Rod has various machine equipped for rock drilling

These machines are equipped with a DTH, which is the hammer that is used to break through the rock.

down-the-hole hammer, referred to as DTH is designed like a mini jackhammer screwed on the end of a drill string. The fast hammer action breaks hard rock into small flakes, fragments and dust which is blown clear by the air exhaust from the DTH hammer. The DTH hammer is one of the fastest ways to drill hard rock.

Read an article about Directional Rock Drilling here.

Additional Services:

Rescue Rod offers the following additional services within the Horizontal Directional Drilling Department:

Pipe Cracking

Pipe cracking is a technique used to fracture an existing pipeline from the inside using a pipe cracking head.

Butt Welding

Butt welding is a technique used to join two components together (also known as ‘jointing’). The idea is to connect the two parts but not to overlap the ends.