Trenchless Drilling Drill, Baby, Drill
What''s trenchless drilling? Trenchless drilling refers to any construction projects below ground that only slightly disrupt the surface, or don''t disrupt it much at all. The International Society for Trenchless Technology defines the term as "any techniques, processes or procedures, including equipment, machines and materials involved, which minimizes or eliminates the need for surface excavation or reduces environmental damage or reduces the associated costs for underground work."What''s trenchless drilling?
Trenchless drilling refers to any construction projects below ground that only slightly disrupt the surface, or don''t disrupt it much at all.
The International Society for Trenchless Technology defines the term as "any techniques, processes or procedures, including equipment, machines and materials involved, which minimizes or eliminates the need for surface excavation or reduces environmental damage or reduces the associated costs for underground work."
In other words, any industrial procedures that do little or no damage to the surface of the ground in efforts to carry out projects underground.
Some of the goals that trenchless drilling is used to achieve are installing or rehabilitating underground infrastructure (with very little change to surface conditions like traffic and business); tunneling, microtubing, horizontal drilling (aka directional drilling), boring, pipe-ramming, pipe-Jacking, and installing underground pipelines and cables. Here''s a slightly more specific example of trenchless drilling: When high-pressure hydraulic pumps connected to steel cables are used to replace old sewer pipes without ever having to actually dig up those old pipes.
Generally, you can refer to the process as "trenchless" if the size ? the diameter ? of the boring will not allow for people to pass through.
Trenchless drilling happens to be a rapidly growing part of the construction and civil engineering industries.
The uses of trenchless drilling methods can be divided into two general categories: Construction and rehabilitation.
Construction: This is when pipelines and cables are installed underground where previously no other infrastructure had existed. This refers to a whole new underground boring project. The goal of it is to put in pipes or cables ? the infrastructure that will carry sewage, water, or electricity.
One kind of constructive trenchless drilling method is called Horizontal Detection Drilling. A drilling rig sitting on the surface will force a pipe into the ground. First it drills a big hole filled with fluid. This tunnel forms a shallow arc. A swiveling machine pushes the tunnel open wider as it passes through ? this space will have fit a sewer pipe, for example. The rig then installs the pipe in the tunnel.
Rehabilitation: This term refers to trenchless drilling where it is used to repair or replace existing underground infrastructure. A good example of a trenchless drilling process used in rehabilitation is the aggressive job of "pipe-bursting."
In pipe-bursting, a hydraulic tool forces a "pipe-bursting head" through the old pipeline. The pipe-bursting head has a greater diameter than the old pipe. As a consequence, the decrepit pipe is smashed into many pieces, and dispersed outward. These broken pieces are forced out of the existing tunnel as the new pipe is pulled through.
What situations call for trenchless drilling?
The kinds of scenarios that trenchless drilling can address are those where it''s preferable to have little or no disruption or damage to the surface:
Trenchless drilling addresses the need to locate a well with minimal or no surface destruction.
It especially addresses the need to install infrastructure under airports, highways, runways, and business complexes where any open trenches and construction sites would delay commerce, traffic, and business.
Trenchless drilling is also an optimal way to place leak-detection systems under solid or hazardous waste areas, or to install gas-collection systems under landfills and other waste dumps.
The pros and cons:
Trenchless drilling is a rapidly growing industry, so there is room for innovation and creativity whereas other construction and civil engineering procedures can be formulaic and uncompromising in their decades-old methods.
Trenchless drilling rehabilitation is, in general, more cost-effective than traditional ways of digging up the soil and replacing infrastructure.
Horizontal detection can locate wells under buildings and roads without digging up the earth all over the place.
Overall, trenchless drilling greatly reduces work-site surface disruption.
Though directional and horizontal drilling cut back on the damage to the ground surface, they require large areas in which to stage their work. In these expansive areas, the pipes are held and organized until they are ready to be installed underground.
And remember that trenchless drilling is a field that has been expanding relatively recently. Though this means there''s room for innovation and up-to-date procedures, there could also be greater room for error as a consequence of less standardization of the field.
The bottom line:
The installation of underground infrastructure is often necessary in areas where disruption of or damage to the surface is really unwanted, like when the work has to happen under buildings, airports, runways, highways, or under the surface of public parks. Trenchless drilling addresses this issue well because it handles the installation and repair of underground infrastructure with minimal disruption to the surface.