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Technology in Action


Hammering for Hard Rock Drilling


Out Production


Typically, directional drilling is associated with extracting oil and natural gas from underground shale formations. Most people, however, are unaware that directional drilling also plays a key role in actually getting energy resources, such as natural gas and electrical power, into the hands of residential, business and industrial end users, as well as a whole host of others. Tere is, though, a notable difference between directional drilling to extract nat-


ural gas and drilling for the underground piping that will distribute it for consumer use. Tose companies drilling wells don’t have to navigate their holes under high- ways or rivers, around structures or through miles of solid rock. Utility companies, on the other hand, face these obstacles on a daily basis. And when they do, many of them rely on the horizontal percussive-hammer directional drilling technology developed and produced by Hardrock Directional Drilling Products (Winder, GA). Hardrock’s percussive-hammer system uses a 6–8" (152–203-mm) diameter bit


inserted into the ground at an angle. Similar to the action of a pneumatic jackham- mer, the bit delivers over 2000 blows per second that crush rock while the system simultaneously rotates to drill in the desired direction. Tis capability allows construction and utility companies—such as those laying the piping for natural gas, electrical power or fiber optic cable—to drill directly through miles of hard solid


Not all horizontal drilling in the energy industry has a well as its end result.


Hardrock uses a multitasking machining center to create all the complex part features and drill the angled holes in the percussive- hammer drill bits.


Energy Manufacturing 2014 37


Photos courtesy Mazak


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