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You’ve heard it said many times – use the right tool for the job. This phrase could not be more apropos when it comes to horizontal directional drilling. In this article we will take a quick look at how to determine what equipment and tooling is best suited for various HDD projects.

The first thing you should consider when deciding what drill and tooling to use on a bore are the ground conditions you will encounter. Identifying the ground conditions will immediately point you in the right direction for deciding on the drill and tooling. There are many ways to acquire this information, including: researching soil surveys published by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service which are available from several sources, such as their website, libraries and state NRCS offices; geotechnical investigations (soil cores and pothole sampling), experience in the jobsite location and information from local utilities and other contractors.

The next step is to combine the job specifications, such as length and depth of bore, bore path, and size and type of product being installed with the ground conditions. With this information you will be able to identify the most appropriate drill or drills in your fleet to perform the bore. You want to match the capability of your drill to the degree of difficulty of the bore.

Finally, you want to choose the tooling package designed for the selected drill that will optimize production, while also assuring you have the highest probability of completing the bore successfully. If it is a rock job, you need to decide if it will require a rock drill, mud motor or air hammer. If it’s a dirt job you need to equip the drill with the appropriate dirt tooling package.

Choosing the right equipment for the job provides productivity, efficiency, safety and ensures the successful completion of the job. Remember Abraham Maslow’s famous words “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

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