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Ditch Witch Tackles Tough Soils With All Terrain Unit.

JT2720 Mach I Offers Major Improvements To Proven Machine

Two new versions of the popular 27,000-pound-pullback JT2720 horizontal directional drilling system have been added to the Ditch Witch equipment lineup.

The JT2720 Mach 1 is a general-purpose machine introducing several significant improvements that make it more productive and easier to use, says product manager Richard Levings. The JT2720 All Terrain model is a Mach 1 with a rock drilling package.

Because of its rock drilling capabilities, the All Terrain version is expected to attract immediate interest among users of directional equipment, believes Levings. A dual-pipe mechanical drilling system, he explains, makes it possible for the All Terrain unit to drill in rock and other difficult conditions that are beyond the capabilities of other machines in this size and power class.

"The JT2720 All Terrain permits effective drilling and steering in extreme conditions such as solid and broken rock, cobble and gravel," says Levings.

"In addition, it drills efficiently in dirt and other `easy' conditions. It truly is a directional drill for all types of soils."

Two-pipe system

The inner pipe of the two-pipe system drives a rock bit; the outer pipe steers the downhole tool while drilling the pilot hole and provides torque during backreaming. Rotation of the pipes is controlled separately. Mechanical drive, says Levings delivers maximum downhole horsepower and eliminates the need for the high volumes of fluid necessary to turn a mud motor.

Ditch Witch marketing personnel are careful not to position the All Terrain unit as the answer to all rock drilling conditions.

Rather, it is described as a compact HDD model providing a relatively low-cost alternative for drilling in difficult conditions at job sites where it is not possible or is economically unfeasible to use a larger machine equipped with a mud motor, along with separate separate fluid recirculation equipment often needed to operate a mud motor.

Levings says the JT2720 All Terrain is recommended for installations of material to diameters of 8 inches at distances to 650 feet.

Contractor reactions

Washington-based Utilx Corporation, which uses its own FlowMole equipment for most of its nationwide directional drilling operations, purchased the first two JT2720 All Terrain machines to come off the production line.

"We were one of the companies chosen to test prototype models, and it performed exceptionally well," says George Taylor, Utilx vice president of corporate operations.

Utilx crews used the machine to drill in caliche in the Las Vegas area and made installations through shale and granite in Virginia.

"The All Terrain machine made installations in what in the past has been undrillable soils for a model this size," says Taylor. "What the JT2720 All Terrain model brings to the market is a compact HDD unit that can economically make 200-foot shots in difficult rocky conditions without bringing in a larger rig and support equipment. One of the crew members who used the test machine told our company's management that it will change the industry's capability for drilling in rock."

B. Fair Contracting, Blaine, WA, also purchased two All Terrain units. Byron Fair, one of the company's owners, compares the JT2720 All Terrain's rock drilling capabilities to those of a 3 1/2-inch mud motor.

"These new machines can successfully drill certain conditions, including rock, at a lower per-foot cost than bigger machines with mud motor and fluid reclaimers," says Fair. "As a contractor, we are very cost conscious because costs relate directly to profitability."

Based on his experience, Fair says the All Terrain unit can be operated at about half the cost of the company's 40,000-pound equipment with mud motor and fluid reclaimer, which requires a greater investment, more fuel and more personnel.

"And we can't afford to set up a big machine with mud motor and reclaimer to make a 200- or 300-foot shot to put small-diameter material in the ground. That's where these smaller units fit into our operations."

Fair adds that the All Terrain model's effectiveness is not limited to hard rock, but is productive in caliche, other softer formations, and in dirt.

For drillers who do not need rock-drilling capabilities, the JT2720 Mach 1 without the All Terrain package has impressive new features that make it both more productive and easier to use than earlier models, says Levings. The rock package can be added later, if needed.

Key features

New Mach 1 features (which are incorporated on the All Terrain models) include:

* Mach 1 electronics with on-board processor improves overall machine performance and controls operation of new cruise control and automated pipe loader functions.

* Cruise control permits the operator to set thrust-pullback and rotation speeds so the machine automatically controls these functions.

* Heavy-duty four-point anchoring holds the drill unit firmly in place, even in hardrock conditions.

* Improved pipe loader provides fast, reliable automated pipe loading and unloading.

* Heavy-duty vise wrenches grip pipe joints firmly during pipe makeup and breakout.

* Improved automated pipe lubricating system holds a larger supply of lubricant and is designed to keep it free of dirt and other contaminants.

The self-contained JT2720 Mach 1 has a 113-horsepower diesel engine and develops 27,000 pounds pullback, 3,200 foot pounds of spindle torque, and spindle speeds to 225 rpm. The operator's station is designed for maximum efficiency and comfort. Specifications for the All Terrain unit are the same, except maximum spindle torque of the outer pipe is 2,700 pounds.

The first Mach 1 and All Terrain units reached the field in October. Mach 1 models in the 40,000- and 70,000-pound classes were introduced at the same time as the new JT2720 model. Info #126


JT2720 Mach I

Specifications for the All Terrain unit are the same, except maximum spindle torque of the outer pipe is 2,700 pounds
Pullback force 27,000 pounds
Spindle torque 3,200 pounds
Max spindle speed 225 rpm
Horsepower 113 hp
Anchor 4-point system
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Author:Griffin, Jeff
Publication:Underground Construction
Date:Nov 1, 2000
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