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Trenchless Pipe Jacking vs. Microtunneling

In today’s blog, we’re exploring two popular trenchless methods: trenchless pipe jacking and microtunneling. 

Trenchless technology has revolutionized the world of underground infrastructure. Traditional open-cut methods can be disruptive, time-consuming and costly. In contrast, trenchless methods aim to minimize surface disruption while effectively installing pipes and conduits. 

Trenchless pipe jacking and microtunneling are both part of this innovative approach. They each offer unique advantages depending on your specific project requirements. Let’s discuss what each method entails and the pros and cons of using them.

What is The Trenchless Pipe Jacking MethodWhat is The Trenchless Pipe Jacking Method?

Trenchless pipe jacking is used for the installation of pipelines beneath the ground without the need for a continuous trench. It involves a hydraulic jack to push the pipe into soil while simultaneously excavating the soil in front of it. 

This technique is most commonly used for the installation of pipes for sewer and drainage systems. Here’s how it works:

  • A small excavation is made at the starting point, where a jacking pit is created.
  • A specially designed, prefabricated pipe is inserted into the pit.
  • Hydraulic jacks are used to push the pipe forward while the old one is pushed aside, creating a tunnel.
  • This process is repeated until the new pipe is successfully installed.

To learn more about the ins and outs of trenchless pipe installation, check out this blog. 

What is Trenchless MicrotunnelingWhat is Trenchless Microtunneling?

Trenchless Microtunneling is another innovative method for the installation of underground pipelines. It’s particularly suitable for projects that require high precision and minimal surface disruption, such as utility pipelines. Here’s how it works:

  • Two shafts, the launching and reception shafts, are created at the beginning and end of the tunnel route.
  • A specialized Microtunnel Boring Machine (MTBM) is inserted into the launching shaft. This machine bores through the ground, creating a tunnel for the pipe.
  • The MTBM is guided using a laser system to ensure precise alignment.
  • As the MTBM progresses, pipes are installed directly behind it.

Trenchless Pipe Jacking vs. Microtunneling

Trenchless Pipe Jacking vs. Microtunneling

Now let’s examine the differences between each to help you decide which is best for your project.

Pros of Trenchless Pipe Jacking

  • Suitable for short to medium distances
  • Cost-effective for smaller projects
  • Simpler setup with fewer components
  • Less reliance on advanced guidance systems

Cons of Trenchless Pipe Jacking

  • Limited to straight-line installations
  • More surface disruption compared to Microtunneling
  • May not be ideal for projects with stringent alignment requirements

Pros of Microtunneling

  • Ideal for long distances and complex alignments
  • Minimal surface disruption, making it suitable for urban environments
  • High precision and accuracy
  • Can be used for various pipe materials

Cons of Microtunneling

  • Typically, higher upfront cost
  • Requires specialized machinery and advanced guidance systems
  • Longer setup and project duration compared to pipe jacking

In summary, your choice between trenchless pipe jacking and trenchless microtunneling depends on the specific needs of your project. 

At Drain Magic, we have the expertise to assist you in making the right choice! Book an appointment here to discuss your trenchless needs, and we’ll provide the solutions that best suit your requirements. Your plumbing project is in safe hands with Drain Magic!