The Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) process is used to drill a borehole with a radius much larger than the depth. It’s commonly used to install pipelines or energy cables underground, but can be applied for other purposes as well.
Due to its technical uses, the wear and tear on HDD machines is substantial, with each machine being able to go through two or three encasements during its service life. This means that the parts have to be replaced every few years, which can be costly. In most cases, however, you can extend the life of an hdd drilling machine by taking some precautions.
Use Quality Tools
The tools that you use with a horizontal directional drilling machine will affect its efficiency as well as reduce wear on it. Thus, it is important to use quality tools.
Drill bits are engineered to withstand the harsh conditions experienced during drilling, including heat, pressure, abrasion, torsion or twisting. Using a poor-quality bit will result in the bit failing prematurely, requiring costly repairs or replacement of the drill.
Keep the Machine Clean
This includes lubrication points, mud drums, reamers, etc. Anything that is exposed to the drilling slurry will begin wearing quickly if not cared for. Thus, it is recommended that mud drums and reamers be cleaned after every use.
Anything with a seal (such as lubrication points) should also be checked and re-oiled if necessary.
Lubricate the Drill Bits Regularly
Using cutting lubricant on the drill bits will help reduce the amount of heat that’s generated from the drilling process. The lubricant will also help keep the drill bits sharp and working at optimal levels. Also, if you’re using a dry-drill, this lubrication is even more important to prevent damage to the interior components of the machine.
Use Good Quality Mud
When the drill string passes through the ground, it creates friction. This frictional heat builds up and can reach temperatures of more than 300° Fahrenheit (150° Celsius). If the temperature is not controlled, this overheating can cause the drill string to fracture. This usually occurs when cutting steel or when drilling clay or shale formations.
The mud acts as a prime coolant, inhibiting the drill from overheating and fracturing. The mud also lubricates the tool joint connections and carries cuttings away from the bit so they do not cause further wear on the machine. It remains important for the mud to be of good quality, otherwise it loses these properties. It’s especially important that the mud does not contain any chemicals which can damage the tool joints or cause the drill string to fracture.
Carry Out Routine Maintenance
To reduce the wear on horizontal directional drilling machines, it’s important to perform regular cleanings and preventative maintenance. Unscheduled outages and excessive machine down time due to repairs, can be minimized or even eliminated by performing daily cleanings.
This is especially important for companies who have to travel long distances with their equipment. Short trips are usually not a problem, but when you get out on the road a week or two at a time. It’s imperative that you clean all of your fluid reservoirs and blow them free of any debris and/or dirt and keep the machine clean.
Most problems that arise require a process of elimination on what you can check first. Most people would start by checking fluid levels, checking for loose parts and belts, replacing underreamer bits and performing inspections.