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Ergonomics Play Major Role With Equipment Productivity
Much attention has been given to designs of operators’ stations and making control functions more intuitive. As the HDD market has matured the operator interfaces have followed suit. Operators spend many hours seated. To reduce fatigue, control levers, switches and gauges have all been positioned strategically to allow the operator to be very productive and comfortable. Many functions have been merged into single controls to allow the operator to reduce the movement needed to function with the systems. Hydraulically operated pipe loaders, vise wrench functions and pipe thread lubrication are processor-controlled to reduce the number of steps an operator must go through to cycle pipe. Cruise control functions have been developed to reduce operator fatigue during long time consuming backreaming operations. System status gauges are now positioned in the line of sight to keep the operator from having to reposition their body to monitor how the unit is performing.
The final product of HDD drilling systems is a long ways from being complete. The industry will continue to see ergonomic improvements that will reduce the human effort to ensure safe and productive installations of underground infrastructure.