Bore Planning Software Provides Valuable Aid To Contractors

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | September 2011, Vol. 66 No. 9
Terrain Mapper

In the early 1990s when compact horizontal directional drill (HDD) models began to appear on utility job sites, project owners often expressed amazement when a drill operator brought the drill head to the surface at or near the projected target.

The technology was new and equipment operators were using makeshift tracking methods to monitor location of the drill head and estimate the “clock” position of its face in order to make directional adjustments. Some in the industry concluded that effectively operating a HDD machine was an “art” that not everyone could master.

The industry changed quickly.

The year 2000 was the height of the HDD boom, and equipment and tracking systems had evolved to the point that HDD installations were routinely successful. No longer a risky alternative, HDD was recognized as the best construction option in a variety of conditions.

However, while short, relatively straight shots in good soil conditions were easy to complete, it was obvious that long, difficult pilot bores with multiple elevation and left/right direction should be carefully planned and that the drilling crew must be able to precisely follow the bore plan.

The first bore planning tools utilized computer technology and software that accepted project data and then produced a bore plan. Since that time, bore planning technology has advanced to include the capabilities of monitoring bore progress in real time and documenting the installation with as-built maps.

Representatives of Ditch Witch and Vermeer recently discussed their company’s current bore planning products and the benefits they offer to the HDD specialists and their clients.

TMS Plus
The Ditch Witch bore planning product TMS Plus can be used with any brand of HDD equipment, said John Bieberdorf, electronics division senior product manager. When used with Ditch Witch equipment, it offers the additional capabilities of monitoring progress of a bore in real time and providing an as-built map of the completed installation.

boreplanart4.jpg
TMS Plus recording of the bore.

Windows-based software works with Ditch Witch 750, 742 and 8500 tracking systems with interface cables to tracker displays and personal computers.