New Hole Opener Offers Advantages

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | July 2014, Vol. 69 No. 7

Bit Brokers International has introduced a new PDC (polycrystalline diamond compact) hole opener/reamer for horizontal directional drilling that the company says has features that set it apart from other products in the industry.

The new VersaReam hole opener was introduced at the 2014 Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT) in January in Houston where it drew high interest, said Tim Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Bit Brokers.

“The VersaReam is bi-directional, has interchangeable and expandable blades, and can produce two-to-three times the penetration rate of conventional cone reamers. It also has superior hole cleaning capabilities,” Thomas said.

“Unlike traditional roller cones that work well in unconsolidated formations, the VersaReam’s PDC inserts shave away rock, making it possible to operate in consolidated formations such as shale, limestone and sandstone more efficiently with higher rotation speeds. Self-centering design eliminates the need for centralizers. It has no cutters to lose in the hole, no bearings to wear out or seals to fail.”

Thomas said VersaReam tools will be available in five sizes for working in pilot holes from 5½ to 12¼-inches in diameter to enlarge hole openings from 10 to 48-inches in diameter. VersaReam tools are expected to be available directly from Bit Brokers or its authorized distributors.

Results of testing have been impressive, Thomas said.

For example, on one recent project, a VersaReam hole opener enlarged an 800-foot-long 6¼-inch diameter pilot hole to 12 inches in one pass at a rate of 100-feet per hour pulling in 6½-inch duct. A 36,000-pound pullback HDD rig was used.

“Despite a monsoon-like downpour which resulted in unfavorable drilling conditions. The VersaReam seemed to drill effortlessly and so smoothly that there was hardly any vibration on the rig at all,” said Thomas. “It also proved to have superior hole cleaning ability. It pushed out of the hole as fast as the rods could be removed from the drill string with nearly zero resistance. The driller said that it was one of the cleanest holes he had ever seen.”

Thomas added that with exposure received at the UCT Show, connections were established with several “big players” in the HDD industry.

“They are prepared to buy this product when it becomes available,” he said. “Used in a consolidated formations, we see VersaReam as hole opener that will dominate the market.”