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December 2008
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Trenchless World (ISSN 1756-4093) USPS No: 023-
551 is published monthly (except January and July)
by Mining Communications Ltd, Albert House,
1 Singer Street London EC2A 4BQ England.
The 2008 US annual subscription price is US$170.
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Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431.
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Bournehall Road, Bushey WD23 3ZQ
© Aspermont UK 2008
A member of BPA Worldwide
A member of the Periodical
Publishers Association
1 Comment
2-4 Global news
A round-up of the latest news and technology
2m-diameter Hobas CC-GRP pipes were
inserted into steel host pipes as part of the
extension and reconstruction of the wastewater
system in Bratislava, Slovakia
6-8 Project: India
Prime Horizontal’s record 2,008m HDD crossing of the Mahi River, Gujarat
9 Project: The Netherlands
Upgrading the gravity sewers in Groningen to handle higher flow during rain
10-11 Project: Poland
Crossing the River Sleza
12-14 Project: Indian HDD
Professor Niranjan Swarup describes the current state of play
15-18 Project: Texas, US
How Miller Pipeline and Earth Tool Co met a pipebursting challenge in Plano
19 Technology: locating equipment
20 Technology: HDD reaming
A recent HDD project in Egypt through unstable soil required a special reamer
22-23 Preview: UCT 2009
American Augers Cov III
Baker Hughes 16
Barbco Cov II
Channeline International 17
Colli Drill 5
Connectra 22
HDD Broker 14
Hermes Technologie 4
IDS 11
Malå Geoscience, USA 8
Mud Technology International 10
Prime Horizontal 7
Radius 18
Straightline 21
Tracto-Technik 13
Vermeer 3
The helpful, peak performer
ODAY’S municipalities and utility owners
face enormous pressure to do more with less.
The recent battering of world economies will
do little to aid embattled operating and capital
infrastructure budgets. Added to this is the increasing
public pressure to be more environmentally
responsible. While certainly not the solution to
every problem, there is one peak performer that
can help: trenchless technology.
The technology is not exactly new, but increased
recognition and usage of these low-impact techniques
has fuelled both the science and the
growth of the trenchless industry.
The bonus is that, generally, the
installation or rehabilitation costs
are less than for traditional methods.
For owners, this has translated
into more trenchless options, along
with healthy bidder competition,
while satisfying social considerations.
For contractors and suppliers,
the expanding market has meant
quality equipment investments,
improved field practices and the
knowledge that they can successfully
bring the right solutions to urban problems while
reducing their risks.
Trenchless technology presents an ever increasing
menu of cost-effective and environmentally-friendly
approaches. The engineering world can now happily
spout a whole host of new acronyms, such as
CCTV, CIPP, HDD, HDPE, TBM and so on. The advance
of robotics for trenchless installations has given
the industry that 21st Century sense of
‘cutting-edge’ – a far cry from the days of pick
and shovel indeed.
The adaptation of new approaches to
infrastructure problems should not only
be out of necessity to reduce costs and social
impact, but also as an opportunity to address
environmental and economic concerns
without sacrificing one for the other.
Michael J Willmets
Executive Director
North American Society for
Trenchless Technology
01trench0812.indd 1 15/12/08 16:47:04
December 2008
IPR acquires
IPR acquires IPR acquires
Underground Underground
US-BASED pipe-rehab company
Inland Pipe Rehabilitation (IPR)
has announced its acquisition of
Underground Technologies,
based in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The latter is an established,
privately-owned contractor
that specialises in pipebursting
and sliplining.
Described by IPR president
Joseph Cutillo as a result of his
company’s continued, national
expansion efforts, the
acquisition is in line with the
company’s growth plan,
particularly given the rapidly
evolving US infrastructure scene.
UCT San Antonio looking
to surpass Atlanta
WITH less than a month left to go
to UCT 2009 in San Antonio, Texas,
on January 20-22, the annual
underground construction event is
looking every bit more successful
than the Atlanta 2008 show.
Showing every sign of bettering
Atlanta, the organisers have
announced that there will be more
than 400 stands in the exhibition
hall and they expect around 3,000
visitors, who, if they turn up, will
ensure it becomes one of the best
trenchless events ever.
UCT (Underground Construction
Technology) is the US-staged, annual
event that highlights developments
in the underground construction
sector, particularly the no-dig
side. Visitors will have access
to the latest developments in
equipment, products and
services aimed at sewer, water,
gas distribution, telecom,
power/energy pipelines and
other engineering challenges.
A major component of
UCT is the conference –
sponsored this year by 33
trade associations and universities
– which is put together to provide
ample learning opportunities for
delegates. Also a part of the event
will be the third annual WaterWorks
conference (January 20-21) that
will highlight the key issues,
problems and
challenges in the
water infrastruc-
ture sector.
registration is
possible, but
should be done
by January 2 to
allow time for
badges to be posted.
Exhibitor, programme or registration
information can be found at or by emailing
convention manager Karen Francis
ËSee preview on pp22-23
ACCORDING to its annual
outlook survey, the US-based
Association of Equipment
Manufacturers (AEM) has forecast
that sales of trenchless equipment
for 2009 could rise, despite
not being that optimistic about
construction-machinery sales
in general.
The figures relate to predicted,
average sales of machinery used in
construction and infrastructure
works in the US, Canada and
The survey is based on AEM’s
construction-equipment manu-
facturer members’ expected sales
and there are seven different
However, it is difficult to apply
the figures directly to trenchless
equipment as it is grouped with
other construction equipment in
the ‘miscellaneous’ category,
which also includes machines such
as: heavy-duty and light-to-medium
trucks; earth drills (augers);
landfill/refuse compactors; side
dump, live bottom and flatbed
trailers; sewer vacs; environmental
grinders; equipment washers
and sweepers.
Nevertheless, the survey
forecast that sales of miscellaneous
equipment in 2009 are expected
to rise by 9.5% in the US, by
11.1% in Canada and 9.3%
But, this is far better than the
general scene, for which AEM has
predicted flat growth of 0.04% for
the US in 2009. Canada will fare
slightly better in 2009 with 2.2%
growth, while sales to worldwide
markets will rise by 5.4% in 2009.
AEM president Dennis Slater
said: “We need to get dollars in
the construction pipeline. An
immediate increase in public
works funding will help jumpstart
the US economy.
“Construction projects are being
deferred and our customers are
looking for work. It is estimated
that there are currently 3,000
projects that could begin work
within 30-90 days of a government
funding commitment.”
He continued: “Our ageing
roads, bridges and highways need
repair and upgrades. Committing
funds to infrastructure renewal
not only provides manufacturing
and construction jobs, but
also helps to ensure we have safe
and efficient movement of goods
and people.
“An adequate transportation
network is essential to commerce
and maintaining US competitive-
ness in global markets.”
AEM cautiously optimistic on construction machinery sales
Overall average % changes predicted for unit sales
US (%) Canada (% ) Other (%)
Equipment Type 2007/08 2008/09 2007/08 2008/09 2007/08 2008/09
Earthmoving -15.8 -3.3 -6.8 -0.6 6.0 4.8
Lifting -7.4 2.4 0.9 5.6 4.2 8.2
Bituminous -8.8 -3.3 -2.8 -0.6 16.4 7.8
Concrete/Aggregate -8.6 4.6 -5.3 2.0 20.4 3.9
Light -10.7 -1.9 1.1 3.0 5.0 3.1
Attach/Components 3.3 3.4 2.6 2.6 6.9 5.4
Miscellaneous -11.2 9.5 -1.6 11.1 16.5 9.3
Industry Wide Totals -8.6 0.04 -1.7 2.2 8.5 5.4
© 2008 copyright Association of Equipment Manufacturers
AEM outlook survey results
02,04trench0812.indd 2 15/12/08 16:41:10
We know you need reliable and productive equipment to stay on schedule and on budget.
Vermeer has the planning tools and trenchless equipment to help complete your
utility installation projects without shutting down a major street.
When it comes to underground installations, look to the industry
leader – Vermeer. Call +1-641-628-3141 or visit
VERMEER and the VERMEER LOGO are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the United States and / or other countries.
© 2008 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Vermeer.indd 1 11/12/08 10:53:22
December 2008
UK provider Yorkshire Water is
the first water company to trial
a new pipe-sealing technology
that seals leaks from inside the
pipe in a similar way to how
blood platelets seal cuts in the
human body. Currently being
trialled by the firm, the new
technology could revolutionise
pipe repair and minimise
disruption to customers.
When a leak is detected,
platelets are released into the
water-supply pipe and travel
under pressure to the trouble
spot where they seal the leak.
Launched earlier this year,
the technology was originally
developed for use in the oil and
gas industry by Aberdeen-based
Brinker, with whom Yorkshire
Water has worked.
The technology has already
been used by Yorkshire Water
on a burst cast-iron main in
Bradford, Yorkshire. Specially-
developed silicon cubes were
inserted into the pipe via a
hydrant and, within minutes,
they located the problem and
sealed the leak from the inside.
There was no need to dig up the
road and no need to fell a
nearby tree, which would have
had to come down to allow
engineers to work safety.
Yorkshire Water implement-
ation manager Stephen
Herndlhofer said: “The repair
on Yew Tree Avenue is a great
example of how the new tech-
nology has the potential for us
to fix leaks in difficult locations.
Normally, we would have had
to dig a hole, remove the tree,
fix the pipe and fill the hole.
“The technology developed
by Brinker of Aberdeen in
partnership with Yorkshire
Water allowed us to avoid the
need for roadworks and saved
the tree… it’s a quicker, cheaper
and far more environmentally-
friendly way to repair bursts.”
INSITUFORM Technologies has
won a US$4.4 million contract for
a water-pipe renewal project in
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
The project will involve the
rehabilitation of 4,496m of
high-pressure steel pipes, ranging
from 200-600mm in diameter,
located mostly in residential areas.
The firm will use its PuraGuard
technology – a close-fit polyethylene
solution for water-pipe renewal.
Ken Foster, vice-president of
Insituform Canada, said: “Insituform
has rehabilitated sewer lines for the
city of Victoria in the past and we
look forward to continuing our
productive partnership in the future.
We are confident our customer
service and superior watermain
rehabilitation methods will meet the
high standards the city has set for us.”
PuraGuard is part of Insituform’s
Blue line of tools for the trenchless
rehabilitation of potable water lines.
Insituform will complete the
work in Victoria in 26 installations,
rehabilitating 4,237m of 500mm,
152m of 600mm and 91m of
200mm water lines. Work began in
late November and is expected to
be completed in August 2009.
In another development, in
November, Insituform was awarded
a US$10.3m CIPP project in
Connecticut, which involves the
rehabilitation of about 83,000 linear
metres of sewer line using its
jointless, pipe-within-pipe system
that is designed to extend the life of
existing infrastructure by 100 years.
Work on the project, involving
line diameters of 150-750mm,
began in December and is expected
to last for about a year. Insituform
was awarded the contract by the
Metropolitan Development
Commission (MDC), which
provides sewer and drinking water
services to the Connecticut
municipalities of Bloomfield, East
Hartford, Hartford, Newington,
Rocky Hill, West Hartford, Windsor
and Wethersfield, as well as parts
of other towns in the region.
David Goldwater, business dev-
elopment manager for Insituform’s
Atlantic Region, said: “We are
excited to again have the opportu-
nity to work with MDC. We had a
very positive experience working
with MDC in 2007 and hope to
continue this relationship well into
the future. We also look forward to
developing additional projects and
relationships in this region.”
HAMMERHEAD Trenchless Equip-
ment, North America’s largest
manufacturer of piercing tools,
pipebursting and pipe-ramming
systems, has launched a revamped,
state-of-the-art website.
Designed as a communication
channel for customers worldwide, offers
media to
municipalities and the public.
HammerHead president and
CEO Brian Metcalf said: “Hammer-
Head has led the industry in bring-
ing innovative, trenchless solutions
to customers in North America
and around the world. The new
website is a step to direct dialogue
with customers wherever they
may be, as well as a means of
communicating with them on the
latest news and technology in the
trenchless construction sector.”
Insituform wins contracts in British
Columbia and Connecticut
Hammerhead rolls
out new website
Yorkshire Water
is first to trial
in-pipe sealant
Products and Techniques
wet spraying
reguIating manhoIe frames
coating by hand
- over 20 years service to the
ProfessionaI ProfessionaI
renovating IateraI connections
Hastings, East Sussex Stafford, Staffordshire, UK
+44 (0)77 53 98 69 66 or +44 (0)77 21 76 40 63
+49 (0)23 04 97 123 0 (D) Head Office
02,04trench0812.indd 4 15/12/08 16:42:02
Colli Drill.indd 1 11/11/08 12:04:18
December 2008
N AUGUST 18, 2006, the Gujarat
Global News Network, Ahmedabad,
India, filed the following report: “State
government has started massive evacuation
operation to shift about 100,000 people from 26
villages of the Anand district as the Mahisagar
River is flowing through central Gujarat in its
worst fury. By 10am, 30,000 people have been
shifted to safer places while efforts are ongoing
to shift the rest of people.”
The impact of this massive flood continues as
the damage to the infrastructure in the vicinity
of the flood is undergoing repair and reconstruc-
tion. In particular, a 300mm natural gas pipeline
across the Mahisagar River between Pavda and
Ganja near Vadodara was damaged and
unearthed by the flood. The pipeline is used to
supply gas to the Gujarat Electricity Board
power plant for electricity generation by the
Vadodara division of GAIL, one of India’s
state-owned gas distribution and marketing
At this location the river is 1,130m wide, and
the exit side bank of the river is very unstable,
leaving very little tolerance on each bank to
account for future erosion. In retrospect, the
original pipeline was simply installed with
insufficient cover above the product pipe.
The Mahisagar River is a tidal river, with a
daily tide that continually erodes the banks,
especially the exit side bank (Dabka side).
During the August 2006 flood, 300m of the
Dabka side bank were eroded away, exposing
and damaging the existing pipeline.
GAIL appointed Mecon of New Delhi as its
project management consultant to plan and
manage the installation of a replacement pipeline
with a design lifetime of 30 to 40 years. Mecon
proposed a 2,000m HDD pipeline crossing under
the river, and NR Patel & Co of Chennai was
awarded the HDD crossing contract.
NR Patel & Co appointed Prime Horizontal of
Amsterdam, Holland, a well-known HDD
guidance and consulting company, to provide
magnetic guidance services with Tensor and
later ParaTrack-II systems. The rig and drilling
equipment were mobilised to the site on
February 23, 2008 and pilot hole drilling started
on March 5, 2008. The project was completed
in July 2008 at 2,008m, the longest HDD
project in India to date.
The pilot bore used an 8½in (215mm) bit on a
2° non-magnetic bent sub with a 5½in (140mm)
IF drill string. Practically speaking, the project
had two phases: one was the drilling of a pilot
hole of 1,758m, guided with a Tensor system,
and the other was the drilling of a second pilot
hole, guided with the ParaTrack-II magnetic
guidance system and with ream and pull of
2,008.4m length.
The first pilot hole failed due to the presence
of a gravel layer that caused excessive drag force
near the exit side end. The decision was made to
deploy a second rig on the exit side to drill an
underground intersect with the longer existing
Crossing the Mahi River
Thomas L Teer and
Abhishek Khare of Prime
Horizontal discuss the
record 2,008m HDD
crossing of the Mahi
River in Gujarat, India
Herrenknecht 250T – Model H016 Drilling Rig
06,08trench0812.indd 6 15/12/08 16:48:07
Prime Horizontal Companies
In Holland: +31 (0)251 271 790
In USA: 1-570-675-0901
visit our website:
HDD Guidance services for
Intersects and Drilled Crossings
using ParaTrack
Call us today for a consultation
Always Hiring Well Qualified Field Engineers
Prime Horizontal
Unexcelled Accuracy
Prime Horiz.indd 1 31/3/08 16:07:32
hole, but down-hole circulation was lost while
struggling with the gravels and this intersect was
abandoned on June 12. However, significant
information about the ground conditions from
the exit side was collected.
Armed with knowledge about the depth of
the gravel layer on the exit side, and with the
information available from a vertical borehole at
1,750m range and 8m to the right of the
abandoned hole, a new drilling profile was
developed. In this profile, the hole would start
building early, keeping the angle less than 2° to
ensure that the borehole was at least 12m below
ground at a range of 1,600-1,700m, where the
borehole would start to build to the exit point.
The new pilot hole was started 2m to the right of
the abandoned hole and about 3m higher on
June 20, and punched out on July 8.
Product pipes were provided by GAIL India.
Steel pipe was used with specification of 12in
(300mm) OD x 7.9mm wall API 5L Grade X 60.
Normal manual arc welding (in coils) was used
for preparing the pipe string.
There were no problems in reaming and pipe
pull after the pilot hole was completed.
Wiper sub run to reduce drill string torque
was started on July 8 and finished on July 12.
A fly cutter of 455mm started on July 13 and
finished on July 18, including the removal of
casing that measured 10in (250mm) OD x
A 455mm barrel reamer was used first as an
initial reaming and then as clean pass. This
started on July 19 and finished on July 2.
Product pipe 12in (300mm) OD pull back
finished on July 23.
Given the size and the complexity of the
project, the longest HDD project ever
completed in India was very successful.
Prime acknowledges the vision and
unwavering support of GAIL and Mecon for this
project. Special acknowledgment is extended to
NR Patel & Co for its provision of untiring
operational support of the project. And thanks
are extended to Prime Horizontal’s field
engineer, Abhishek Khare, for his unflagging
efforts to make sure that this project was
successfully completed.
Once again, the boundaries of horizontal
directional drilling projects have been pushed a
little bit farther.
Rig Herrenknecht 250T – Model H016
High pressure mud pump Herrenknecht 550 GPM – Model H 019
Gardner Denver 700 GPM – PZ 8
Downhole tools Tensor Kits (Tensor Inc, USA)
ParaTrack2 Kit (Vector Magnetics)
Mixing tank 40ft (12.2m) two each (company owned)
Buffer tank 20ft (6.1m) one each (company owned)
Recycle unit Kemptron Double Deck Type – Model Tango 1000S
Pumps Sykes Pump (Primax) for slurry
Backhoe L&T Komatsu PC 200, four each
Tata Hitachi EX 70, one each
Tata Hitachi EX 210, one each
Samsung SE 210LC, one each
(all company owned)
Crane Cap 25 T and 12 T, two each (hired)
Pipe layer BEML BP 41, one each (company owned)
December 2008
Successful punch-out on the exit side
06,08trench0812.indd 8 15/12/08 16:48:22
December 2008
RAVITY sewers in Groningen, the largest
city in northern Netherlands, could not
cope with high flow rates that occurred
during periods of heavy rain.
This was why the local authority decided to
extend the DN 1000- and DN 1200-sized sewer
main, but also to convert it into a closed-
pressure system to avoid sewage overflows and
the associated environ mental pollution.
Achieving 3,000m
/h flows and system
extension required 2.4km of Hobas CC-GRP
pipe not only to cater for future needs, but also
to allow another village to be linked to the
system in future.
Early on at the design stage, the engineers
decided to install the proposed pressure pipes
using pipejacking, as the line crosses a busy
part of the town and the client wanted minimal
dis ruption to the city’s daily life.
The cost for the pipe alone on the entire
project was US$1.5 million. This included five
jacking sections using Hobas CC-GRP jacking
pipes (DN 1000-1500), as well as PN 6 Pressure
Pipes (DN 1000) and 1,600m of DN 1200.
Also included in the contract were flanges,
elbows, reducers and tees with stainless-steel
locked joints.
However, not all the project was pipejacked.
Various roads and channels presented obstacles
that necessitated the use of microtunnelling
in parts. The road authority stipulated that
two sections running below the highway would
have to be realised with cover pipes from
HOBAS Benelux, and HOBAS CC-GRP Pressure
Pipes were inserted. The largest with an
outer diameter of 1,500mm was used below
highway A7.
Three other microtunnelled sections were
carried out using PN6 CC-GRP pressure-jacking
pipes and flush FWC couplings. These ran
beneath a gas pipeline, a main road, several
streets and a navigable channel where the
installation took place 12m deep. A 275m-long
section with CC-GRP pressure-jacking pipes of
1,280mm outer diameter was jacked in a curve
of 1,300m radius.
In accordance with safety standards, the
contractor installed an intermediate station
which was required if jacking forces were to
exceed 4,000kN.
However, on this project, the smooth and
non-absorbing outer surface of the pipes, and
their light weight and constant outer diameter,
meant that the maximum jacking force did not
exceed 1,800kN.
The intermediate station was, therefore, never
really used.
Five different contractors were involved on
the project and a sixth will rehabilitate the
pumping station in two years.
Year of construction 2006-07
Length of pipe 2,400m
Pressure class PN 1, 6
Diameter DN 1000, DN 1200, DN 1500
OD 1099, OD 1280
Stiffness class SN 5000, SN 320000
Application SewerLine®
Client Community of Groningen
Contractor 5 different contractors
Advantages Corrosion-resistant, low
weight, fast installation, whole
system by one supplier, long
lifetime, low maintenance costs
Gronigen project facts
Pressure was on to upgrade
gravity sewer in Groningen
PROJECT: The Netherlands
The HOBAS flush couplings used for jacking
are designed to be absolutely leak-tight
and facilitate assembly
Below: Several obstacles along the pipe
route, such as roads and a channel, were
overcome by microtunnelling
09-11trench0812.indd 9 15/12/08 16:35:24
We manufacture our own line of shakers,
desilters, desanders and mud pumps.
Our tank & Mixing Systems are designed
for maximum flexibility.
Technology Today
Shaping The Future
P.O.Box 509, Athens,Texas 75751
ABEL is a specialist trenchless pipe con-
tractor and cable laying contractor that
employs 70 workers. It is one of the main
contractors working for Polish Railways and is
involved in rebuilding the railroad connecting
Wroclaw and Dresden. When completed, this
will cut the journey time between the two cities
by around a half.
Associated with the works was the construc-
tion of new electric cable networks, which
involved the installation of two 125mm HDPE
sleeves running 84m under the 79km-long river
Sleza, which is located in southern Poland and
is close to the city of Wroclaw.
To undertake the work, Sabel chose the TJ (Terra-
Jet) 2608 E machine. An interesting characteris-
tic of the machine is that the thrust and rotation
are driven by two separate hydraulic circuits,
which allows both circuits to be operated
simultaneously and at maximum power. For the
TJ 2608 machine, this allows a torque of
2,600Nm and a thrust and backreaming force of
80kN (8t) simultaneously, which is unique for
this size of HDD machine.
Having a rock-drilling capability for hard,
stony and rocky ground, the TJ 2608 E is
equipped with a Terra-Rock air percussion head.
Other features include quick gear for fast drill-
rod changing and an Automatic Drilling and
Backreaming System that adjusts the operating
speed of the machine according to the ground
conditions encountered on the bore.
The machine can be pit or surfaced launched.
For pit launch, hydraulic cylinders allow the
HDD machine to be easily set up and adjusted
to the required inclination in the starting pit. The
company claims specialised drilling tools used
in combination with a precise electronic
locating system guarantee the highest accuracy
for drilling lengths up to 150m.
Designed on a modular basis with separate
power packs and mixing systems, the machine is
compact and can be easily transported on a
small truck. The unit has a drilling fluid volume
of 100 litre/min and its mixing and pumping
station enables 2,000 litres of high-quality
drilling fluid to be mixed in only five minutes.
Maximum drilling fluid pressure is 70 bars.
The river is 2m deep and the installation was
required to be 3m beneath the river bed. The TJ
2608 E was installed in a 3m-long by 1.5m-wide
launch pit. To undertake the pilot bore in the
HDD crossing of
the River Sleza
HDD crossing of HDD crossing of
The 215mm backreamer reaches the HDD
drilling machine
09-11trench0812.indd 10 15/12/08 16:35:26
We manufacture our own line of shakers,
desilters, desanders and mud pumps.
Our tank & Mixing Systems are designed
for maximum flexibility.
Technology Today
Shaping The Future
P.O.Box 509, Athens,Texas 75751
clay and gravel ground, a universal type C head
was used. Location by means of the i-Track
system from both sides of the river allowed
precise tracking of the pilot bore without the
need to have men in a boat above the drill line
in order to locate the drill head. After only six
working hours, the 100mm pilot bore was
completed, with the drill head reaching the
starting pit right on target.
Once the drill head was disassembled, the
borehole was enlarged using a 215mm-diameter
backreamer. Thereafter, a 300mm-diameter
backreamer and the pipe bundle of two lots of
HDPE pipe 125mm OD were pulled through
effortlessly in a single operation.
Facilitating the operation was the use of a
specialised Bentonite drilling fluid that fulfilled a
number of important functions. It suspends the
borehole spoil in the drilling fluid mix and
transports it back to the starting and launch pits;
it stabilises the borehole preventing collapse
during the drilling works, owing to its
thixotropic qualities; and it lubricates the
HDPE pipe during pipe pull-in, thereby
reducing friction.
Thanks to the good ground that was
encountered beneath the Sleza River, the works
were completed using only 30m
of drilling fluid;
the entire HDD component and HDPE sleeve
installation was completed in only two days.
The engineer responsible for the works
commented: “This small HDD machine has
more power than I had ever seen before in such
a compact drilling system.” Terra-jet 2608 E pit-launched HDD machine
215mm backreamer ready for intermediate backreaming
09-11trench0812.indd 11 15/12/08 16:35:31
RENCHLESS Technology applications in
India are increasing as a result of several
government initiatives and infrastructure
development activities. Also, increasingly dif-
ficult projects are being tackled. The successful
execution of such projects – whether for cross-
country or city grids, for gas distribution or
telecom networks or other sub-surface sectors –
will require substantial drilling capacities, both
in terms of HDD rigs and technical expertise.
This article discusses the HDD business in
India while talking about some of the recent
major projects, and invites international HDD
stakeholders to join the Indian trenchless
industry as a service provider.
Similar to global markets, the Indian require-
ments for HDD crossings are for pipelines of:
Power and telecom networks;
Oil and gas transmission and distribution
Pressurised water supply networks and sewer
lines allowing partial line and grade
tolerances, especially in the Jawaharlal Nehru
Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) cities;
Pollution control (drainage) lines.
Recently, the Indian Society for Trenchless
Technology (IndSTT) conducted a study to
identify the HDD manufacturing business in
India for one stakeholder who intends to start an
HDD rig manufacturing unit in India. One of the
objectives of the study was market valuation,
which is applicable to both manufacturing and
contracting. Detailed hereafter are the market
values of the sectors indicated above.
To date, in the telecom sector, 670,000km of
optic fibre cable has already been laid and the
sector has grown by 21%. And with the
tremendous demand for broadband, DTH and
urban connectivity lines, there is tremendous
scope for laying telecom lines using HDD. This
sector is the major market for smaller rigs and
associated products which are currently being
imported from different manufacturing nations
such as China, the US and Germany.
For power transmission, the plan is to install
26,553 circuit kilometres in the current national
plan period. The urban portion of this network
will also call for installing the substantial
quantity of cables by HDD. In addition, one
of the urban reforms pertains to urban
power supply in JnNURM cities where T&D
losses are to be minimised. With 63 such
cities, the demand is high.
Oil and gas sectors generally need
higher-end HDD rigs where the input costs
are higher. With the Petrochemical Vision
2020 in place, projected demand is estimated at
between US$590 million and US$1.02 billion.
The current machine population is low but
numbers are growing quickly.
Water and sewer networks, supported by the
ongoing government initiative of implementing
JnNURM, is a virgin territory as HDD operations
in this sector have not started in a major way
other than for a few projects. But as the
projects are based mostly in urban areas,
directional drilling requirements are going to
be very high. The expected investment in water
supply and sewerage systems under JnNURM is
estimated to be around US$18 billion for
various cities.
In addition, pollution control lines and
ground water drainage lines are going to be new
vistas in HDD growth and will be a source of
specialised rigs. One example is ground water
drainage from mountainous regions where
landslides are commonplace.
The phenomenal growth of the HDD sector has
led to a situation where the strength of HDD
machines/rigs in India has surpassed that of
many other nations. India has an estimated rig
population exceeding 1,000, which is more than
is found in several competing economies. Based
on the current and future market demand, an
average annual demand of 200 to 250 rigs can
be expected for the coming three to four years,
taking the population to approximately 2,000.
Subsequently, machine attrition would lead to
an equal and stable market population of 2,000.
A machine population of the size detailed above
naturally paves the way for four types of primary
HDD contracting;
HDD consultancy;
Equipment manufacturing and trading;
Spare parts manufacturing and trading.
The current situation warrants the entry of
several consulting, contracting, manufacturing
and trading organisations. Consultants and
contractors are needed as several new
opportunities such as water and sewer are
opening, and there are demands for more
difficult crossings, such as the ones discussed
Manufacturers are needed to produce lower-,
middle- and higher-end HDD rigs as the current
practice of shipping or airlifting rigs, plus the
associated customs duty, increases the costs
substantially; a local manufacturing operation
can produce products at a much lower cost. In
addition, there are many requirements for spare
parts, down-hole tools and other equipment/
consumables for the existing machines.
Project: Mahisagar River Crossing
Project value: US$2.5 million
Trenchless contractor: NR Patel & Co., Chennai
Client: GAIL (India) Limited
Consulting engineer: Mecon Limited, India
Project requirement: The pipeline, part of
GAIL’s network for the state of Gujarat, is to
supply gas to the Gujarat Electricity Board
power plant for electricity generation. Ground
conditions comprise medium- to high-plasticity
clay, sand and gravel.
HDD was considered to be the best method
because of the 1,130m width of the river. Being
close to the sea, the river has tidal flows. The
bank on the exit side (Dabka) is unstable and
suffers periodic erosion. HDD would provide a
good depth of cover under the river and banks
to provide a better pipeline life.
The HDD rig used was a Herrenknecht 250T
Model: H- 016.
The trenchless work comprised:
Pilot bore – 215mm with 2º bend sub;
Wiper sub running – to reduce the drill string
December 2008
Indian HDD on the rise
Professor Niranjan Swarup, executive director,
Indian Society for Trenchless Technology,
describes the current state of play of Indian HDD
The 1.13km Mahi River has tidal flows
12-14trench0812.indd 12 15/12/08 16:40:26
Reaming – 455mm fly cutter;
Clean Pass – 455mm barrel reamer;
Pull product pipe of 300mm OD;
Length of crossing – 2,008m.
Ground investigation works: Geotechnical
sub-soil investigation and topographical
survey was undertaken prior to the rig
mobilisation on site and was carried out by the
client’s approved vendor, MK Soil Testing
Laboratory. Based on its reports, the project,
including the drilling profile, was designed by
NR Patel & Co. Steel product pipes of 300mm
OD API 5L Grade X 60 were provided by the
client (GAIL). Normal manual arc welding (in
coils) was used to prepare the pipe string.
Project timings: The project was awarded on
December 10, 2007. Rig spread mobilisation
was complete by February 23, 2008. The first
pilot was started using tensor kits on March 5.
Contractors were able to reach up to 1,758m
from one side. Upon facing the difficulty in
progressing ahead, they tried to intersect the
pilot from the pipe side using a second rig of the
same capacity with a tensor steering tool but
could not succeed and therefore abandoned the
hole on June 12.
A second pilot parallel to the first hole was
begun on June 21 and completed in July.
Wiper sub began on July 8 and finished on July
12. The 455mm fly cutter was started on July 13
and finished on July 18 (Including removal of
casing – 250mm OD x 300m). The 455mm
barrel as clean pass was started on July 19 and
finished on July 22. Pipe pull back was
completed by July 23.
Project challenges: The project was executed
in two phases, the first being 1,758m of pilot
drill and the second the new pilot, ream and
pull of 2,008.4m length.
The other river bank has silty sand with fine
gravels at a span of 200m. In the first pilot, the
contractors rotated and pierced the gravel zone
at a 24m depth but were not able to maintain
the profile, ie, were unable to build up
(gradually coming up) at that point. They then
decided to sidetrack, move and build further
but found pushing the build impossible.
To overcome the problem, they started a
fresh pilot 2m off the old hole and maintained
more or less the same depth, especially below
scour level at river bank to bank. On the other
side, they came up and maintained a shallow
profile, punching out at the desired length.
Project: Gomti River Crossing
Project description: City gas distribution steel
pipeline installation under Gomti River at
Client: Green Gas Limited
Consultants: Mecon Limited
Contractor: Trenchless Engineering Services
HDD contractors: Skipper Steels Limited
Product pipe: 300mm diameter, API Grade B
Pipe, 7.1mm WT and 100mm CS pipe
Crossing length: 700m
Core equipment: Vermeer D300x500,
Project duration: 17 days
Site geology: Primarily very fine sand and silt.
Location: The pipeline crossing was located
inside the city, with the biggest constraint being
The GAIL gas pipeline that supplies gas to the
Gujarat electricity power plant
Most Accurate piercing tools • Most Powerful Rams • Hardest Burst • Best Equipment
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12-14trench0812.indd 13 15/12/08 16:40:31
the space available at both exit and entry sides.
Precise planning was required for the set-up at
both rig and pipe sides.
Methodology: An SST guidance system was
used for surveying. Further, since the
water was not conducive to drilling, a
150mm-diameter borewell was dug for
the supply of sweet water for drilling.
As the drilling was under the city, a
straight drill-line was not possible.
Hence, a smooth curve was adopted
and the exit point was about 5m away
from the straight survey line or drill
line. Precise engineering calculations
for compound curve were made so that
the pipeline was free of excess stresses
during installation.
After the pilot, the reaming was
carried out up to 600mm and
subsequently the hole was swabbed
with the same reamer. Finally, the pipe strings
were pulled using a 450mm reamer.
Challenges: Space constraints at the rig and
pipe side forced the contractor to make
arrangements at the rig side to dispose of the
cuttings (returns) about 300m away from the
mud pit. Large-capacity slurry pumps had to be
deployed for this purpose.
As the drilling job was inside the city, a
straight alignment was not possible and the exit
point had to be shifted by 5m. Immaculate
tracking, therefore, had to be carried out to
retain the line within 300mm of the target.
Herrenknecht 250t/H016 punching out at
the exit side at Mahi River
View of the jobsite at the Gomti River crossing
December 2008
Owing to space constraints, both at the pipe
side and at the rig side, hole-reaming was done
without the trailing pipes behind the 600mm
reamer. Furthermore, at the clean pass stage, the
reamer had to be pushed with the string. Since
the soil strata was of fine sand and silt, hole
stabilisation was difficult, requiring the correct
viscosity of drilling fluid.
Again, owing to the constraints at the rig side,
the contractor could not use equipment to break
the assembly; therefore, they had to push the
same 600mm reamer for clean pass.
The IndSTT is inviting global stakeholders to
consider venturing into the Indian trenchless
sector for HDD consultancy, contracting and
equipment manufacturing/trading and also for
spare parts manufacturing/trading.
As the apex organisation to promote and
nurture the Indian trenchless industry, IndSTT
shall provide whatever assistance is needed to
global players wanting to work in India.
One example of this support is the Mega Drill
Show organised on December 4-5, 2008, which
provided a platform for global stakeholders to
network with Indian counterparts. Aspects of the
show included:
A series of technical training lectures under
the continuing professional development
system of Assam University;
Release of the model contract document,
general conditions of contract employing
horizontal directional drilling suiting Indian
conditions, and model consultancy
agreement for HDD crossings;
A display of HDD equipment/products.
Similar activities shall be held in future and
interested readers can contact IndSTT for details.
For further information on HDD projects in
India, contact Professor Niranjan Swarup at
12-14trench0812.indd 14 15/12/08 16:40:33
N February 2008, when officials from Miller
Pipeline Corporation (MPC) and Earth Tool
Company (ETC) considered bidding on a
major mainline sewer-replacement project in
Plano, Texas, they realised that portions of it
were bigger than anything either had tackled
before. But, Mark Hallett, vice-president of
MPC’s utility division and Mark Randa, ETC’s
director of pneumatics, believed a quadruple
upsize – 610mm reinforced-concrete pipe (RCP)
to 810mm outside-diameter (o.d.) HDPE – could
be achieved. It was just going to be a matter of
getting suitable planning, teamwork, and the
right primary tools and support equipment.
The overall job called for updating 1,890m of
a 30-year-old, reinforced-concrete pipe system,
which was starting to deteriorate due to
hydrogen sulphide gas and significant amounts
of rain. The existing pipe capacities of 610mm,
686mm and 762mm would be replaced with
813mm o.d. pipe. The city of Plano put the job
on the fast track after experiencing line collapses
almost weekly last winter and Miller Pipeline,
which had been carrying out work in Plano for
about four years, immediately indicated interest.
The length of the job was not remarkable for
the Miller team as it had previously completed
projects in excess of 15,000m. But, as Mr
Hallett pointed out, “those jobs were with
203mm, 254mm, 304mm or 457mm pipe”.
Miller Pipeline owns a 228t static bursting
machine, which Mr Hallett was confident could
at least handle the size-on-size portions of the
job. “We weren’t even too worried about the
762-813mm bursts,” he says. “We were a little
conservative on the 686-813mm runs, but we
were concerned about the 610mm RCP upsize.”
As he became serious about bidding for the
project, Mr Hallett invited Mr Randa and Earth
Tool Company of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin,
which makes the HammerHead Mole products,
to bring in some engineering expertise and
custom equipment to help get the job done.
“Ninety-five per cent of the equipment we
own is HammerHead Mole,” Mr Hallett says.
“I knew we didn’t have a piece of machinery that
could handle a job like this, so I asked them to
develop a system that could perform under these
conditions.” Having worked with the group
several times during his 14-year history with
Jeff White, of US-based Earth Tool Company, looks at
a challenging static and pneumatic pipeburst in Texas
December 2008
15 15 15 15
FEW pipebursting jobs would have a
quadruple reinforced-concrete pipe
upsize and so many other challenges and and
along with it.
Miller Pipeline and Earth Tool Company
had much to compete with to be
successful in Plano, outlined below.
Crews were working very near Plano
Parkway, a major east-west artery
through the city. They had to close down
one lane of traffic during work, but
quarters were still extremely tight and
traffic control was very extensive.
Miller Pipeline’s Mark Hallett says that if
they hadn’t had the one lane to work in,
it would have been very tough, if not
Miller Pipeline, with help from Godwin
Pumps, configured a completely
redundant system, which was capable
of handling 73 million litres per day,
taking out 2,438m of bypass. Mr Hallett
points out that, at one point though,
their system ended up pumping through
more than 163 million litres of water
per day because of all the infiltration
from rainfall. “At times, we were
pumping and using the same line just
to keep things from surcharging,”
he explains.
Mr Hallett says that there were no less
than five separate utility companies
with major trunkline systems in the
area in which they were working. It
became critical to relocate those lines
during the operation.
Another challenge was to be able to get
the necessary HDPE pipe, especially
within the relatively short timeframe,
as they were gathering permits and
materials approvals. “It’s typically very
difficult to get a manufacturer to commit
to a quoted price and then deliver
that quantity of pipe on short notice,”
Mr Hallett explains. “But, Isco Pipe
came through for us, and once the pipe
was delivered there was nothing
stopping us.”
Contending with
multiple challenges
Pure pleasure for
Plano pipe burst
15,17-18trench0812.indd 15 15/12/08 16:49:52
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industrial fluids.qxp 3/29/2007 3:38 PM Page 1
Untitled-1 1 31/8/07 09:20:57
• • New Slip line range New Slip line range
• • Joint & jack gaskets Joint & jack gaskets
• • Centralizing skids Centralizing skids
• • Low jacking loads Low jacking loads
• • Non man entry installation Non man entry installation
• • Any size, any shape Any size, any shape
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Earth Tool Company, Mr Randa was familiar with
Mr Hallett and his team. But, neither he nor
Mike Walk, the ram-and-burst specialist from
Earth Tool Company who later became involved
with the project, had performed an upsize of this
magnitude. They echo Mr Hallett, who says:
“This is not the biggest job we’ve ever done in
terms of length, but certainly the biggest that
we’ve undertaken in terms of complexity.”
On the “complexity” front, the upsize was
just one of many challenges the team faced.
Added to this list are difficult proximity to
above-ground obstacles, incredible bypass
requirements, a right-of-way crowded with
existing utilities, tough ground conditions and
brutal weather. Rain set the project back by a
month when the time allowed for the job was
130 days. Originally, the target finish date was
August 31, but it was moved back to September
31, because in June alone, Texas was hammered
with more rainfall than it had received during
the whole of 2006.
ETC was primarily involved in just under 305m
of the job, carried out in four bursts – 70m,
39m, 83m and 57m – all of which involved
upsizing from 610mm to 813mm o.d. HDPE.
Previously, Mr Randa and Mr Walk’s largest
upsize went to 762mm, so equipment brought
to the site was truly custom:
ËCrews used a 914mm bursting head
ËThe head featured a long pilot on the front to
keep the tool on line, and to keep material
from collapsing in front of the pipe and
impeding progress
ËIt also featured a cutting blade, designed to go
through the old pipe’s concrete and wire mesh.
Traditional equipment included:
ËA 508mm pneumatic tool, mounted on the
tail of the pipe designed for a ‘burst-assist’
ËThree compressors: two 900 cfm units to run
the bursting head and a 1,300 cfm unit for
the burst-assist
ËA 20t winch to pull the bursting head through.
Most of the custom concepts
had been used before, but on
a much smaller scale. For
example, Mr Randa has
added pilots to bursting heads
before, but not for an upsize
like this. “We basically
stepped up what had already
been proven technology,”
he says.
The 508mm tool used for
burst-assist was an interesting
component. It’s an application that has been
used many times before, but usually to save a
bore on an HDD project. “We just turned the
hammer on running very slowly to relieve the
pipe drag and keep forward progress,” says
Mr Randa. “We wanted to have as much energy
downhole as possible to complete the job.”
The 508mm tool was also on hand to back
up Miller’s static-bursting unit in case the
progress of the burst slowed or stalled. To save
the burst, the rod could be shuttled out of the
burst head through the back end of the pipe.
The hammer could be attached, pulled into
place and locked into the burst head. The burst
could then be resumed using a combination of
static and pneumatic forces. “Although we
didn’t use it, it’s good to have a contingency
15,17-18trench0812.indd 17 15/12/08 16:50:42
December 2008
DOES it seem odd that a contractor would
enlist the help of a manufacturer to tackle
an underground construction job?
Not any more, according to Mark Hallett
of Miller Pipeline and Mark Randa of Earth
Tool Company. Both say the latter
company’s ability to develop custom
equipment was only one aspect that made
it a good partner for Miller.
“Our expertise is obviously in pneumatic
equipment,” says Mr Randa. “But, customers
also depend on us to provide consultation
and engineering, and to help them
anticipate problems and develop solutions
in advance.”
One example he points to is the burst-
assist component of the job. Earth Tool
Company used it on the quadruple-upsize
runs, but Mr Randa also engineered a
back-up for Miller Pipeline’s static-bursting
unit, just in case it ran into problems on
some of the other bursts.
“The worst thing you can do is to
rush through the preliminary planning,”
says Mr Randa. “If you step back and take a
few, deep breaths the problems can be
anticipated. You have to think about
everything that’s going to be good and
everything that’s potentially going to be bad.
Anticipate and create the right scenarios,
and you’ll end up being fully prepared.”
Mr Randa believes the industry may see
more collaboration, especially from Earth
Tool Company, as large upsizes become
even more common. “It used to be that
anything over 508mm or 610mm was
unheard of,” he says. “But cities are finally
changing many of the larger, dig-and-place
jobs to bursting. And, with each job, we
become more experienced and our tools
become more proven. Miller is a great
contractor and we’ve learned how to build
the right tools – that’s why we were able to
win this job together,” he adds.
teamwork pays off
plan on jobs of this magnitude,” said Mr Hallett.
Mr Randa, Mr Walk and the team also
employed a continuous ‘lube line’ just behind
the bursting head, pumping 68-91 litres of
polymer per minute, just to keep things moving.
“Frictional drag is a problem with length,”
says Mr Walk. “If you have instances where you
have a large amount of hose on the ground,
you can get a larger compressor to make
up for it. But, you cannot make up for the
ground conditions, so we compensated
a little just to be safe.”
In the end, the upsize bursts went faster than
expected. On the first pull, they intended to
gather much of their data and crews planned on
about 300mm/min, according to Mr Randa. But,
with the rear hammer (burst-assist) and lube,
they ended up getting faster than this.
Even though rain pushed the job’s completion
back a month, Mr Hallett still calls it “absolutely
successful”, especially given the challenges.
He also says this could be the largest job of the
year. “I am not aware of anything this size or
this complex going on,” he says.
“In fact, I cannot recall something this large
in the past. The complexity of this job, with the
upsize, traffic control, existing utilities, sense of
urgency, bypassing and rain events that we’ve
had, I’m not sure there’s been anything like it.”
Mr Hallett is particularly proud of his
personnel – the superintendent managing the
job day-to-day, Ray Gonzales, and the project
manager, Brian Smith, working out of
Indianapolis. “And, it was a great joint effort
with Earth Tool Company,” he adds. “The
partnership made this job successful.”
15,17-18trench0812.indd 18 15/12/08 16:50:46
VERY time a shovel pierces the surface
of the earth there is an inherent risk of
accident. Locating and marking under-
ground utilities is essential to reducing that risk,
and is required by law in most places. However,
features incorporated in the latest locating
equipment can help to further lessen that risk.
New locating instruments are easy to use,
provide for a shortened learning curve, and are
efficient and flexible. While older equipment
may still function properly, the added features
and benefits found in new equipment can
significantly improve the accuracy of locates,
saving both time and money.
When comparing new and old locating
instruments, the first thing that most people
notice is the difference in equipment displays.
Modern receivers include directional arrows,
depth measurements and even mapping
displays. Directional arrows inform the operator
if he/she has drifted left or right of the target
utility line. Mapping displays can indicate when
target lines turn and change direction. These
improved visual displays are intuitive to the
operator, making the equipment easy to adopt,
requiring less time for training. This helps
novices locate with confidence and can increase
the efficiency of experienced operators.
Another advantage of the new equipment is
its flexibility to locate different types of pipe and
cable under varying circumstances. It is no
longer necessary to buy separate pieces of
equipment for different utilities. Today’s locating
instruments come equipped with a wider range
of available frequencies. While much of the
equipment made in the past only had one or
two frequencies, almost all of the current market
offerings give the user more choice. This is
extremely important because each locate job is
different; even the weather can have an effect.
On a dry day, 33kHz may work just fine to
locate a particular gas line. If it rains the next
day, locating the very same gas line may require
a different frequency because the wet soil is
much more conductive. Furthermore, users are
no longer limited to preprogrammed frequencies.
Advanced equipment gives the user the ability to
customise a locating unit to an optimal
frequency for the conditions or to a propriety
frequency, if necessary.
Operators can improve the accuracy of
locates when using new instruments because
significantly more information is provided to the
user. One example is the ability of the equipment
to warn the operator when signal distortion is
present. Modern locating instruments work
using electromagnetic principles. When a
transmitter is properly connected to a line an
invisible magnetic field is emitted.
Without distortion, the magnetic field can be
visualised as concentric circles around the utility
line. Often, some of the current will bleed on to
a second utility line nearly. This second line will
have its own magnetic field that will constantly
pull or push on the field from the first line,
causing the magnetic fields to become
egg-shaped or distorted. This phenomenon is
referred to as signal interference or distortion.
Distortion can be created by rebar, fence
posts, power lines, pipes and other metal
objects in the proximity. When using older
equipment, it is easy for an operator to make
erroneous locates when distortion is present.
Newer equipment will warn the operator,
allowing him to set up
adjustments to decrease the
distortion, improve the locate
and lessen the potential for
an accident.
New locating equipment
will increase efficiency on
the job site due to improved
antenna designs. When using
traditional equipment,
proper orientation of the
instrument over the
target line was
essential. If the
operator stood
perpendicular to the line,
the locating instrument may
not have any signal at all, even when
standing directly over the buried line.
New antenna configurations allow the
operator to approach a line from any direction.
The instrument will detect the magnetic-field
signal and indicate the direction of the target
line to the operator. This is especially helpful
when performing passive sweeps.
A passive sweep is a technique used to check
an area for unknown utilities. Safety-conscious
contractors perform a passive sweep prior to
excavating an area to verify that there are no
surprises when digging. It’s termed a passive
sweep because it is performed using the
receiver only. Instead of using a transmitter,
signals are generated as the result of power-
transmission lines, usually in multiples of
60Hz in North America or 50Hz in Europe.
Higher-end locating equipment has a wider
band of passive frequencies, which improves the
users search capabilities.
In addition to locating power lines, passive
sweeps are very effective on pipelines that have
been equipped with cathodic protection. Often,
other cables such as phone ands CATV are
energised by transient radio frequencies in the
region and can be found using passive searches.
It is highly recommended to perform a passive
sweep to verify one-call marks prior to digging.
This simple step can significantly reduce the risk
of accidents.
Some companies are hesitant to update or
upgrade their equipment because of the cost.
However, it will easily pay for itself if the added
benefits provided by a new piece of equipment
help to avoid even one accident. The ease of use
and short learning curve make adoption
painless. Modern locating instruments will help
avoid significant project delays and unnecessary
headaches caused by preventable accidents.
Rob Trefz of Ridgid
outlines some of the
benefits of modern
locating equipment
December 2008
19 19 19 19
TECHNOLOGY: Locating equipment
Very revealing stuff
19trench0812.indd 19 15/12/08 16:51:39
ROPER tooling selection is the critical
link in the success of an operation. It can
mean the difference between a successful
bore and a failed one. Tool selection will play a
large part in the profits you make, save wear and
tear on your drill rig, and could even reduce the
amount of diesel fuel you consume.
When a contractor needs a reamer for a
specialised directional-drilling job, finding one
that precisely matches the project requirements
is often impossible with off-the-shelf solutions.
In order to achieve optimum performance, HDD
superintendents regularly rely on custom-designed
and manufactured reamers.
Such a project was recently faced by American
Augers’ customer, Petrojet, an oil-and-gas
pipeline contractor based in Cairo, Egypt. The
ground conditions common to the area are of
unstable sand, clay and alluvium, which called
for an open body-style reamer for the pre-ream
passes and a barrel-style reamer for the product-
installation pass.
After reviewing the project parameters, it was
determined that a StraightLine Maxi Fly Cutter
would best serve as the open-body reamer. The
basis of that decision was found in the analysis
of the following characteristics: aggressive
cutters that would quickly reduce the soil to
fines; numerous fluid jets positioned along the
low-pressure side of the wings, extending from
the shaft to the tool perimeter, thereby
facilitating even mud placement; and a large,
stabilising ring to keep the tool running true in
the borehole.
These features, when combined with a
viscous bentonite-based drilling fluid, will allow
the driller to efficiently reduce the material to
fines and suspend them in the drilling fluid and,
ultimately, maintain control over the tunnel.
The barrel reamer that was chosen was the
StraightLine Maxi, primarily for two reasons:
first, due to its reliable carbide jet system, which
resists erosion and maintains precise mud flow,
and, secondly, because it provides a long, smooth
wall that will help to keep the drill string and
product pipe centered in the bore during the
product installation phase of the bore.
This order was the single-largest, custom
reamer order that the company has received to
date, consisting of 26 total reamers – 13 each of
the Maxi-Fly and Maxi-Barrel. The reamers
ranged in size from 457mm (18in) to 1,625mm
(64in) and were built on 241mm (9½in)-
diameter shafts with 6
/8 FH connections. The
entire order took approximately 20 business
days to complete.
StraightLine began its custom reamer
manufacturing service in 2002, which quickly
grew to account for 30% of the company’s entire
reamer production by 2005. In 2008 alone, the
firm fabricated more than 450 custom reamers
for clients in need of project-specific tools.
Since 2005, the HDD industry has enjoyed
outstanding growth in every sector and around
the globe, from which many manufacturing firms
have benefitted. That year, StraightLine moved its
manufacturing operation to a 6,500m
facility in
Hutchinson, Kansas, which offers virtually
unlimited capability for the manufacture of
HDD tools and accessories. The facility is fitted
with the latest equipment, including CNC milling
and turning centres, gun drills and conventional
machine tools, along with complete fabrication,
welding and paint facilities.
Due to customer demand, the firm’s reamer
offering has grown to 13 unique designs in order
to provide tools that make easy work out of any
ground condition, from alluvium to solid rock.
These styles are categorised into four unique
groups. These are:
Ëopen-body designs for non-compactable
Ëclosed-body designs for compactable
Ëfluted-body designs for aggregate conditions
in compactable base materials
Ëhole openers for solid formations. In addition
to our standard reamer line we offer an
infinite array of custom reamers.
These reamers are available in diameters of
100mm (4in) to 2,400mm (96in), in shaft sizes
from 50mm (2in) to 262mm (10½in). Tools are
regularly built for drills made by American
Augers, Astec, Case, Ditch Witch, Robbins,
StraightLine and Vermeer. In addition to threads
for popular brands, the company also has the
capability to cut over 50 thread types common
to the HDD industry – from Ditch Witch JT520
to 7
/8in FH, with new connections being added
as the industry expands.
All reamers feature: replaceable fluid ports in
either hardened steel or carbide; precise fluid
port placement; leading edges with carbide-
impregnated hard surfacing, and the placement
of carbide teeth positioned to maximise cutting
performance, to name a few.
Currently, StraightLine employs 31 machine
operators, welders and fabricators in its
manufacturing facility, and offers 13 different,
standard reamer styles that are also available for
client customisation. In order to create the right
reamer for a specific project, the company
works with its clients to design the tool required
to get the job done.
Record-setting reamer order
December 2008
A recent HDD project in Egypt through unstable
soil required a special reamer to complete the job.
Don Carey of US-based StraightLine reports



A reamer being custom-
made at StraightLine’s
Kansas plant
20trench0812.indd 20 15/12/08 16:43:24
Straightline.indd 1 11/12/08 10:37:25
What’s on at UCT in San Antonio
December 2008
PREVIEW: UCT conference
HE underground Construction Technology
(UCT) conference will be held in San
Antonio, Texas, on January 20-22, 2009,
at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
More than 400 stands are lined up for the
exhibition hall and organisers expect nearly
3,000 people to attend.
One of the top priorities for the incoming
Obama administration will be to rebuild
the nation’s infrastructure. This will be a key
topic for speakers at UCT 2009, where 33
trade associations and universities will
co-sponsor the sessions, thereby providing an
unrivalled educational opportunity for those
delegates seeking to expand their trenchless
UCT encompasses the entire spectrum of
trenchless technologies and also the complete
underground infrastructure sector. This means
that attendees will be privy to the latest
developments in equipment and services aimed
at sewer, water, gas distribution, telecoms,
power/energy pipelines and other engineering
In addition to pre- and post-show workshops,
there will be numerous presentations, association/
organisational meetings and specialised
conferences, plus, of course, the networking
opportunities that UCT always presents.
Held in January, UCT has the advantage
of being the first major meeting of the
year, and it allows industry leaders to
hold special conferences, such as this
year’s third annual WaterWorks conference
(January 20-21). WaterWorks will
examine the issues, problems and
challenges in the water infrastructure
To register online for UCT, for exhibitor
or registration information, programme
updates and details regarding travel and
accommodation, visit www.uctonline.
com or contact convention manager
Karen Francis on Here’s
a selection of companies at UCT 2009.
Established in 1973,
Akkerman recently
celebrated 35 years
servicing the trenchless
industry. The firm sells
and leases both new and
used microtunnelling,
pipe-jacking, guided boring
and earth-pressure balance
equipment. Watch out for
CEO Maynard Akkerman’s
‘Comment’ in the January
issue of Trenchless World.
Stand 344 & 345
ACP will display its recently launched Hole-Hog
HH-57 50mm (2in)-class, underground piercing
tool for the gas, water, sewer, electrical and
telecoms sectors. Designed for the cost-effective,
fast installation of relatively short hole lengths
beneath roads, pavements and driveways without
disturbing existing surfaces and landscaping, the
HH-57 is designed to be cheaper and easier to use
than an HDD rig. And, of course, much smaller.
Stand 646
Astec’s EarthPro Series DD-2024 horizontal
directional drill offers power capacity in a
compact size in tight working conditions. It has
20,000 lbs of thrust/pullback force with up to
2,400ft-lbs of rotary torque.
Stand 121
The firm designs, makes and markets rock-drilling
tools worldwide. Over 95% of the produced vol-
ume is consumed by the mining and construction
industry outside of Sweden. The firm uses the
latest R&D and manufacturing technology.
Stand 323
Baker Hughes’ Industrial Products has been
involved in drilling fluids for over 60 years and
caters for the needs of the HDD industry. In
The global trenchless sector will soon converge on the
annual Underground Construction Technology (UCT)
conference in the US. George Demetri gives a preview
22-23trench0812.indd 22 15/12/08 16:46:00
What’s on at UCT in San Antonio
December 2008
PREVIEW: UCT conference
addition to ongoing R&D and field-support labs,
the company’s specialist fluids personnel have a
wealth of experience to suit most projects.
Stand 619
Barbco will introduce its BD-500 TK: a track-
mounted 500,000lb push/pull directional drill
with integrated drill cab. It is also available in a
more powerful 750,000lb push/pull version.
Stand 435
BIDP supplies a comprehensive range of drilling,
grouting, plugging, abandonment, and well
rehabilitation and development products,
engineered to optimise performance and user
costs. Its Dino-Mul is an aqueous torque reducer,
designed to reduce rotational torque and drag,
and is claimed to reduce pull-back forces.
Stand 716
CertainTeed manufactures: waterwell casing and
drop pipe; industrial, mining and irrigation piping
systems; restrainted joint PVC pipe; and PVC/ABS
pressure, irrigation, sewer and DWV Pipe. A
typical product is Certa-Lok – a restrained-joint
PVC piping system for trenchless construction,
non-metallic and easily-assembled.
Stand 253
Cetco offers a wide range of bentonite drilling
fluids, grouts, sealants, polymers, and additives
designed to maximise drilling and cost-efficiency.
Clay Cutter is an additive formulated for use with
any size HDD bore in reactive, clay soils.
Stand 229
At UCT, Channeline International, manufacturer
of rigid structural GRP sewer liners, will release
details of Channeline SL – its new circular and
non-circular gasketed slip line product.
Stand 325

Derrick specialises in slurry separation and
de-sanding equipment for use in civil-engineering
and underground applications. The firm has an
in-house manufacturing and QA facility and offers
equipment, system packages, urethane screen
panels and patented, corrugated Pyramid screens.
Dragon pumps are custom-assembled in Liberty,
Texas. Internal components, such as bearings,
shafts and mechanical seals, are manufactured
from high-quality US parts and materials.
Stand 621
Godwin Heidra pumps are designed for use on
directional-drilling projects, mainly to aid in the
pumping and recycling of drilling muds to and
from the de-sander unit. They can also be used
on pipebursting jobs for sewer by-pass pumping.
Stand 527
Seattle-based HDD Broker is a leading supplier
of used and repossessed equipment. It advertises
and sells rigs for private owners, banks and
equipment dealers worldwide.
Stand 715
Germany-based Herrenknecht is a market leader
in mechanised tunnelling, supplying advanced
tunnel-boring and drilling machines for a wide
variety of applications in diameters of 0.1-19m. .
Stand 225
Hobas will be displaying its centrifugally cast,
fiberglass-reinforced, polymer mortar pipe,
claimed to be corrosion-resistant and last over
100 years.The product is designed not to leak and
to be cheaper to install thanks to its push-together,
time-saving joints. Typical applications include
sewers, potable water and corrosive environments
for pressure and gravity applications.
Stand 415
Insituform Technologies supplies a wide range of
proprietary trenchless technologies and services
for rehabilitating sewer, water and underground
piping systems without digging or disruption.
The company has a presence in more than 40
Stand 426
MALÅ designs and makes ground-penetrating
radar (GPR) systems for a broad range of
applications, from non-destructive testing (NDT),
concrete imaging, utility detection and mapping,
to geophysical investigations, including borehole.
Stand 101
McLaughlin has been involved in the drilling tool
industry for many years and this will be reflected
by the products on its stand. Typical of these will
be the McLaughlin Verifier G2, which uses smart
technology to achieve accurate line location and
depth. The Verifier G2 offers four frequencies for
utility location, passive power and passive utility
modes. With depths of up to 9.1m (30ft), the unit
has been designed to handle most locating jobs.
Stand 427
Founded in 1990, NASTT is a not-for-profit,
educational and technical society that promotes
the benefits of trenchless through education,
training and research. NASTT is the definitive
resource for professionals concerned with
underground systems and trenchless applications.
Stand 549
Robbins has over 50 years’ experience as a major
developer and manufacturer of underground
construction machinery. The firm offers an
extensive range of underground excavation
equipment, typical of which are the small boring
units (SBU-A) for use in hard rock. Available in
diameters of 610-1,828mm, the SBU-A is used in
conjunction with auger-boring machines.
Stand 843
Vermeer entered the no-dig sector in 1991 with its
first horizontal directional drill. Its recent buy of
Texas-based HRE has given Vermeer a full range of
HDD drills, particularly at the maxi-rig end with
1,000,000 pound thrust/pull-back capability.
Stand 201
Wyo-Ben makes bentonite clay-based products
that are used in applications including oil, gas
and waterwell drilling. Based in Billings,
Montana, the firm mines its raw material from
Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin bentonite deposits.
Stand 441
22-23trench0812.indd 23 15/12/08 16:46:00
December 2008
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24trench0812.indd 24 12/12/08 16:37:18
Anybody can engineer intense power into a piece of
construction equipment; the real challenge is to design a
product that puts you in total command of that power.
Trenchless Const 200x275.indd 1 2/25/08 8:53:55 AM