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What is the Concept of Trenchless Pipe Installation?

Trenchless pipe installation is a modern method of installing, repairing, or replacing underground pipelines. There’s no need for extensive excavation or disruption to the surrounding environment. 

Using remote robotics, cameras and modern machinery, experts can complete the job in mere hours. And they won’t need to come back– unlike most traditional methods.

Every year, more homeowners turn to trenchless methods, and it’s easy to see why. This innovative approach has gained popularity due to its efficiency, reduced environmental impact and convenience. Plus, trenchless pipe installation costs are much more economically friendly than traditional open-cut trenching methods. 

But exactly how does it work?  What are the different types of trenchless pipe installation, and the pros and cons of each?

What are the Different Installation Methods, and how do They Work?

Trenchless technology offers various methods for installing different pipe sizes and types, depending on soil type, penetration depth, and other factors.

There are many common trenchless pipeline installation methods. These include horizontal directional drilling (HDD), horizontal auger boring (HAB), pipe ramming and impact moling. 

Let’s briefly define what each of these terms means: 

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD)Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD)

HDD installs pipelines under obstacles like roads and rivers. A drilling rig makes a pilot hole along the path and guides the drill head underground to create a tunnel. Finally, it pulls the new pipeline through.

Horizontal Auger Boring (HAB)

HAB uses a casing with a cutting head and a rotating auger pushed into the ground from a launch shaft. The auger transfers torque to the head. It moves soil cuttings back through rotating augers to the pit. Additional casing and auger blades are added underground for ongoing drilling to the reception shaft.

Pipe Ramming

Pipe ramming involves a hammer at the pipe’s end, driving it into the soil. The pipe’s front edge makes the borehole and installs itself. Spoil goes into the pipe, removed after installation.

Impact Moling

Impact moling is an installation that involves pushing/pulling the pipe through a borehole made by a bullet-shaped mole. The mole is powered by compressed air or hydraulics, propelling it underground. After boring, the mole is taken out, and the pipe is pushed/pulled through.

You know the basic concepts of different trenchless pipe installation methods, so let’s explore the pros and cons of each.

Pros and Cons of Trenchless Pipeline Installation Methods

These approaches are proven to save time and costs compared to traditional trenching. However, they still come with some advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these aspects will help you select the most effective method for a specific project. 

Pros of Trenchless Pipeline Installation MethodsPros of Trenchless Pipeline Installation Methods

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) Pros

  • Impact on sensitive areas is minimal (wetlands, estuaries, rivers, lakes)
  • A fast and efficient method
  • High accuracy even in complex crossings
  • Through continuous monitoring and control, constrained spaces between existing utility lines can be navigated
  • Ability to drill at greater depths to bypass existing utilities

Horizontal Auger Boring (HAB) Pros

  • Simultaneous casing installation and excavation
  • Only two pits are needed: one for launching and one for excavation
  • Suitable for various soil types (except mixed soils with boulders)

Pipe Ramming Pros

  • Low equipment costs
  • Suitable for both one-piece and segmented pipe installations
  • Applicable in various soil types
  • Particularly effective for medium-sized pipes

Impact Moling Pros

  • Ideal for small-diameter pipelines and short installation lengths
  • Minimal need for expensive equipment
  • Versatile – suitable for various utility line installations
  • Economical method

Cons of Trenchless Pipeline Installation Methods

Cons of Trenchless Pipeline Installation Methods

Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) Cons

  • Requires highly skilled operators for successful operation
  • Costs of specialized equipment and machinery can be significant
  • Bore length is often an important factor in determining profitability

Horizontal Auger Boring (HAB) Cons

  • Significant investment in equipment is required
  • A variety of cutting heads and augers are needed to accommodate different casing sizes

Pipe Ramming Cons

  • Lack of control over the installation line and grade
  • Large boulders or hard obstructions may cause the pipe to deflect.
  • It can only be used on steel pipes
  • Restricted range of pipe sizes

Impact Moling Cons

  • Lack of accuracy in line and grade due to an unguided system
  • Potential for damaging existing undetected utility lines
  • Limited pipe size for installation
  • Restricted installation length

Navigating the options for specific trenchless methods depends on many factors and can get complicated quickly. That’s why Drain Magic is your trusted partner in offering the best, budget-friendly solutions for all your needs. We’ll provide timely installation services that will restore or install your pipes clean, efficiently and non-invasively.

Experience the amazing advantages of trenchless pipe installation with Drain Magic. Book an appointment with us today.