HDD Advisor Takes the Guesswork out of Downhole Tooling Choices
September 29, 2015Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) jobs are tough enough with so many details to take care of during pre-planning and jobsite setup — the last thing you want is a preventable error to slow you down and get you off track.
Not having the proper downhole tooling to successfully complete your project is one of those headaches you don’t want or need. Not to mention the huge financial headache you’ll have because of the added total to your bottom line due to costly delays and tooling replacement, resulting from identifying replacement parts on the jobsite and purchase missteps.
In an effort to assist contractors from making a tooling mistake and simplify the selection of HDD equipment, the Ditch Witch factory has developed a Web-based, interactive tool to help take the guesswork out what tooling is needed for your drill — it’s called HDD Advisor. The HDD Advisor website is described as an intuitive website that, based on your answers to a few questions, gets you on your way to filling out the correct tooling setup for your job.
“The HDD Advisor website is a free tool developed to help contractors identify the correct tooling,” explains Ditch Witch director of parts sales and marketing Jaime Wines. “When you are on a jobsite, it’s critical that the first tooling we get you is the right tooling.
“It gives contractors the confidence to quickly and correctly select downhole tools for the drill unit they are using and the soil conditions of the job.”
The Ditch Witch factory developed the digital advisor to help take the guesswork out of what bit or reamer you will need. Using its HDD Advisor interactive website, contractors can make sure they are using the right tool for the soil conditions they are drilling in, as well as create an easy-to-follow road map they can use for future purchases.
How It Works
The first thing the HDD Advisor asks you for is the type of drill and drill pipe you are using. From there, it takes you through everything from the electronic housing to the bits to the reamers. The program lets you know what is compatible for your rig and tooling selection and what is not.
“It’s an intuitive website that, based on your previous selection, will recommend what tooling is available to match,” Wines says. “It has the ability to auto-fill some of the selections based on your previous solution. It’s designed to help you as much as it can to narrow your selections to get the best part. It will not allow you to select a tool that is not compatible with previous selections. There are also prompts that offer more information and photo views of each piece of tooling. The tooling recommendations aren’t just for Ditch Witch’s rigs; this tool is also available for competitors’ products that we offer.
“Right now we have the HDD Advisor available for both Ditch Witch and Vermeer drills. We know our customers may have mixed fleets, and we want to make sure we are providing them the options to help take care of all the tooling they need,” Wines says. “It’s critical that they select upfront what drill they are running and what pipe they are running in order to get them the right tooling and roadmap options.”
The website also allows you to save your project’s drill string, giving you and the Ditch Witch factory an easy-to-locate record of what your preferences are for whatever soil conditions you or any of your crews are working in. These saved strings will become your tooling road map for future projects.
“There are lots of websites in the industry that allow you to pull up information about drills and drill pipe and tooling,” Wines says. “The HDD Advisor website is the only one that helps you build the correct drillstring and configuration based off of compatibility and allows you to save it for future reference.”
The hddadvisor.com website — approximately 18 months in development — can be accessed using your tablet, smartphone, computer or iPad. And it’s free to use. The Ditch Witch factory unveiled the site to its customers at an equipment seminar in Perry, Okla. — Ditch Witch headquarters — this summer; it will be featured at the 2015 ICUEE show Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Louisville, Ky.
“We gave our customers a sneak peek this summer,” Wines says. “We have had nothing but positive feedback about it. They felt like it would really help them in the field when they are trying to get replacement parts.”
• Takes guesswork out of product selection
• Offers more information about each product in the drillstring
• Allows you to save your drillstring for each job
• Shows compatibility based off of threads
• Replaces the need for a catalog with a helpful tool
Sharon M. Bueno is managing editor of Trenchless Technology.