above ground power lines

HDD Locating Technology Critical to Project Success

Three years ago, if you would have told me there was a locator on the market capable of being 117 ft deep while maintaining accurate locates, I would have laughed. When I got a call from one of our customers saying they had a deep bore in rock and their crew had put aside a product produced by a competitor I knew I would get to see these capabilities firsthand.

Just outside of Leeds, Alabama, we teamed with the ComTran Group, pairing the Mag 9 with an Echo 70 transmitter for a doozy of a project. The terrain would make the grizzliest of mountain men lace his boots a little tighter — elevation changes so steep you could see bore depths ranging from roughly 20 ft to just more than 100 ft in the matter of a couple joints.

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above ground power lines

With a total bore length of roughly 1,200 ft, we would see an elevation gain of about 20 and a total elevation loss of about 120 ft. Our deepest point along the bore was 117 ft. A few joints from entry we would immediately fall off a steep grade losing about 60 ft just to gain it right back — all within the first few hundred feet of the bore. With the extreme downward pitch required to maintain cover from entry, the first hill required our deepest depth of 117 ft. From that point the hard part was the rock ComTran’s drill would encounter.

As the hills gradually got smaller culminating in punching out in a creek bottom. Although challenging, we were confident in Underground Magnetics product to handle the job. Add in ComTran’s wide array of resources in their arsenal, this was a match made in heaven.

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As the motto says, “we go deeper.” Knowing the extreme elevation changes on this bore, we chose to run the Echo 70, which gives us 12 frequency options ranging from 4 kHz to 41 kHz, giving us depth capabilities of 150 ft plus. Using Underground Magnetics products, makes down hole changes easier. Battery life generally runs around 60 hours, but with the equipped air hammer and needs for the high-power band, we knew we would require a few battery changes. I would say battery life was the biggest “hurdle” for the bore.

above ground power lines

Onsite to begin drilling, we began by conducting a frequency scan. It showed 41 kHz as giving the best range for this job. Next came calibration and setting up the bore profile for bore logging. Once the bore began the Mag 9 performed flawlessly, executing multiple down hole changes to high power when the depths required. The crew had never used the bore log feature with the Mag 9 before.

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After showing them how to create the bore profile and log each rod, they did not have any trouble. The bore log feature on the Mag 9 is user friendly. Upon bore completion you can generate a report and email it straight from the display while on the job. No need for a thumb drive.

The feedback from the ComTran crew was nothing but positive on the locate system. Working with the ComTran Group is always an adventure.

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Corbin Stephens is the regional sales representative for Underground Magnetics.

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