Boring Through A Crowd

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | April 2012, Vol. 67 No. 4

Colorado Springs Utilities,, (719) 448-4800
Digital Control Inc., (800) 288-3610,
McLaughlin Group, (800) 435-9340,
Vermeer Corp., (888) 837-6337,
McElroy Manufacturing, (918) 836-8611,

Bore Planning, Mapping

Detailed planning and as-built mapping of horizontal directional drilling installations is becoming increasingly essential to many utility owners and operators, and drillers are recognizing the need to have these capabilities, says Brian Mattson, Digital Control Inc. (DCI).

“To meet these requirements calls for specialized equipment,” he adds.

The Colorado Springs Utilities project for Agilent is an excellent example of how this can be accomplished, says Mattson. The bore plan had to avoid multiple existing utilities, the crew needed to accurately monitor tension on the product during pullback, and then provide documentation of the finished installation.

“TensiTrak,” he says, “is a real time drilling fluid pressure and tension monitoring device used on the pullback portion of an HDD pipe installation. The unit is installed in between the reamer and the product pipe being installed and measures only the load on the pipe. Without the TensiTrak, the load is represented by hydraulic pressure during pullback, but this pressure includes the weight of the drill string, the load on the reamer as well as the load on the pipe. So in an instance where the pulling load increases, the operator does not have any means to distinguish between increased load on the reamer or a pipe that is getting stuck.

“During the pullback operation, the TensiTrak device continuously sends tension data measured in pounds and annular drilling fluid pressure measured in psi which is read by the F5 receiver and is simultaneously transmitted back to the display on the drill rig. This allows the machine operator to take appropriate action when pressure or tension loads are increasing.”

While the F5 receiver displays the pressure and load information received from the TensiTrak in real time, it is also recording and storing all the data in the project file set up for that particular project.

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