For horizontal directional drilling crews, getting the job done efficiently and on-time is the name of the game. Even if time is of the essence, and spending some of that time each day on maintenance may appear to be downtime, industry veterans know that fundamental care and maintenance procedures are critical in avoiding costly downtime.
Preventative care and maintenance keep the horizontal directional drilling equipment in top shape and are the most effective techniques to keep an operation running. Machines come pre-installed with intuitively positioned service locations, simple-to-understand documentation, and rapid correct tooling instructions, which makes HDD maintenance as simple as it’s ever been.
Here are some fundamental maintenance recommended practices to keep the HDD rigs functioning well in the long run.
Use Your Checklist
The most crucial maintenance procedure is also the most straightforward. Every machine comes with its own service handbook, which gives contractors all the knowledge they need to keep their machines safe, efficient, and functional in the long haul.
Contractors can find the recommended service intervals for hydraulic pumps, oils, fluids, coolant, and other components in the manual. Operators are also guided through daily maintenance checks in the manual. This easy procedure will identify any faults that may have been left over from the last bore and are preventing the machine from operating properly.
Spending 5-10 minutes for service checks will not only save money, time, and costly damages from undetected maintenance issues, but will also keep machines running at their best on the jobsite.
Maintain Rotation and Lubrication for Drill Pipe
Contractors frequently consider the rig’s cost to be the unit’s total cost, but the truth is that by the time a drill reaches the end of its useful life, more money has likely been spent on pipe replacement. Maintaining correct rotation and lubrication of the drill pipe can not only assist extend the life of the equipment, but it will also contribute to its overall efficiency.
Consider the pipe system as a tire when considering drill pipe maintenance. A tire is rotated to ensure that the wear is evenly distributed rather than concentrated in one area.
Contractors frequently use the first several hundred feet of pipe on a bore to make adjustments. The first 100 feet of the pipe are usually overworked and worn down if it isn’t rotated. As a result, it’s not uncommon for a team to only have a quarter of the footage left by the time they reach the last rack of rods.
It’s also crucial to keep a drill pipe properly lubricated. Maintaining adequate hydraulic pressure in your automated greaser machines helps contractors produce proper torque, which reduces the possibilities of the breaking downhole and pipe unthreading.
Adhere to Equipment Requirements
While correct lubrication and rotation are critical to the performance of your drill pipe, monitoring and sticking to proper criteria – which are connected to the pipe’s total wear – can assist contractors in determining when the pipe has reached the end of its useful life. Contractors can limit the risk of damage to their equipment by following equipment requirements and using appropriately specked equipment for the suitable size rig.
A pipe must be replaced if it has been cracked, oversteered, or bent beyond the bend radius. Using a pipe after it has been damaged or misused can jeopardize the budget and schedule. A downhole can be completely broken if a tiny stress fracture expands.
And if a pipe breaks underground, it’s irreversible, forcing the crew to abandon thousands of dollars worth of pipe in the ground and restart their bore from the beginning.
Pay Attention to Saver Sub
The saver sub is one of the most important components of a rotary system because it is in charge of moving pipe downhole.
One of the most common maintenance concerns with a saver sub is that when the thread profile inside gets damaged, it results in not only a broken saver sub but also a ruined rack of pipe. If the saver sub is destroyed, the drill will be useless until you acquire a replacement part.
Every day, crews should inspect their saver sub. And fleet managers must ensure that they are fully stocked with the necessary parts so that, when maintenance is required, it does not result in lengthy periods of downtime.
Set End-of-Day Routine
It is advised that each equipment be cleaned at the end of each job to remove any blocked jets or pumps that could reduce the efficiency of a horizontal directional drilling equipment. Manufacturers commonly design machines with a high-pressure pump that plugs into the machine’s circuit system, allowing for an efficient end-of-day wash down.
Contractors should examine for any leaking connections or hydraulics, as well as any broken lines, while doing so. Detecting these concerns in advance reduces the likelihood of costly contamination issues on a crew’s next jobsite.
Contractors can keep their machines in the greatest shape to work by performing daily checks, following aftercare routines, and adhering to proper tooling and pipe standards, saving time and money and decreasing downtime on the project.
HDD rig inspections on a regular basis can save the organization money by preventing unplanned shutdowns. When a system fails unexpectedly, it is frequently due to a lack of routine maintenance. Once it fails, the unit is frequently unavailable for extended periods of time, and repairs are often more expensive than they would have been if the unit had been properly maintained.
Maintenance also minimizes the incidence of workplace accidents and safety problems. A machine that is well-kept is less likely to have a catastrophic breakdown, which could result in user injury, than equipment that is not regularly maintained.