Follow these practices to increase drill-pipe longevity and avoid unexpected downtime


The ROI of a horizontal directional drilling project hinges on remaining efficient while getting the most out of equipment. One of the more expensive pieces on the job is HDD tooling, specifically the drill pipe. To increase drill-pipe longevity and efficiency job after job, operators should know the recommended bend radius and the proper use of drilling fluid.

Based on the metal’s ability to recover after being bent, the recommended bend radius should limit the angle an operator uses when drilling. Some operators, however, exceed their drill pipe’s recommended bend radius in hopes of limiting the space between the entrance point and deployment depth. When the bend radius is exceeded, the pipe is fatigued — thus reducing the useful life.

To avoid costly repairs and replacements and extend the life of drill pipe, operators should become familiar with the recommended bend radius of their pipe. That begins with determining the proper entrance angle before digging begins.

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Another way to increase the longevity of drill pipe is through the proper use of drilling fluid. Drilling into the ground creates a lot of heat, which can cause unwelcome wear and tear on the outer surface of the drill pipe. To avoid excessive wear, water and other fluids are a necessity on the job.

Drilling fluids lubricate the components in the drill string as they slide along the bore walls, and carry the cuttings out of the path of the string. Without drilling fluid, any material removed by the drilling tool is packed into another location in the bore. This results in significant wasted downhole horsepower, and greatly increases the risk of experiencing a stuck or stalled tool.

The proper and correct amount of drilling fluid an operator should use directly correlates to the equipment being used and the job site ground conditions. For guidance, operators should consult with their dealers, who are trained on proper drilling fluids for the job site. They can also quickly check the Ditch Witch fluid formulator for advice.

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The normal wear and tear that occurs on an HDD job site does not have to cut down the useful life of drill pipe. Operators are encouraged to keep track of how they use their equipment and follow specified equipment recommendations for use to increase drill pipe longevity. By following these practices, they’ll be able to reduce the risk of unplanned downtime, and ultimately improve job site ROI.

For more information on Ditch Witch drill pipe solutions, visit www.ditchwitch.com/parts-service/digging-systems/drill-pipe.


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