HDD: Fundamental Change

By Robert Carpenter, Editor | June 2011 Vol. 66 No. 6

There seems to be no end as to the potential applications for HDD. I am constantly amazed at the breadth of uses being developed for HDD. As tooling and equipment continues to be refined, barriers to construction crumble. Jobs previously thought impossible – by virtually any technology – are now being designed with HDD in mind.

This growth of HDD has not been without cost. Traditional usage of small rubber tired trenchers and vibratory plows are falling. Sales of those units are down and probably will not rebound, replaced by HDD. Manufactures are adjusting to the new market dynamic.

It could be another couple of years before the U.S. construction economy is back on its feet and widespread construction is on the rise. But rest assured, as that recovery leads to new construction projects, HDD will be at the forefront, continuing its amazing record of growth.

Old is new
Also in this issue, we take a look at an old technology, primarily used on pipelines many years ago, that has found new life with the resurgence of pipeline construction across the world. Cradle boring machines (CBMs) were used extensively in the 1960s and 70s in the pipeline market. These machines were a fast and efficient alternative to auger boring. However, as the pipeline boom slowed, CBMs found their niche collapsing and have essentially been in mothballs since the early 80s.

Recently, The McLaughlin Group, in discussion with contractors, found a renewed interest and began to experiment with a new version of the cradle borings machines. To their credit, McLaughlin refrained from bringing the latest incarnation of CBMs to the market without solving some of the old safety concerns first. This interesting read begins on page XX.

Bursting of age
In this issue is the second installment of a series of articles presented by the International Pipe Bursting Association (IPBA), a division of NASSCO. These articles have been produced to provide a better understanding of pipe bursting technology. Many myths and misconceptions exist regarding this proven rehabilitation method for replacing existing underground utilities.

This particular article explores the extreme diversity of product pipes that can now be burst/sliced/cut by pipe bursting technology. Pipe bursting, like cured-in-place pipe, has become the benchmark for rehabilitation technologies. Turn to page XX.