A Better HDD Fluted Reamer By Design

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A Better HDD Fluted Reamer By Design

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From hardpan and soft rock to cobble, fluted reamers are one of the most productive and popular reamer options for horizontal directional drilling contractors. As the teeth of the reamer grinds up material, the fluted channels flow material to the backside of the hole, and the reamer’s tapered body creates a strong wall.

Used on small utility horizontal directional drills all the way up to pipeline maxi rigs, the fluted reamer is a universal tool found in the tooling fleet of most HDD crews.

However, did you know that while most fluted reamers may look the same, there is a significant difference in the quality of body construction among tooling manufacturers? How a fluted reamer is made can impact performance, rebuild-ability and the overall life of the tool. 

Cast body design

A cast fluted reamer body is formed by pouring molten metal into a mold. When the metal cools, and the mold is removed, what is left is a single solid flute body. While the molds come at a significant investment for manufacturers, each reamer produced is identical and balanced for optimal performance. A drill spud is inserted into the reamer and is welded securely.

Fabricated body design

Fabricated fluted reamer bodies are built by welding together several pieces of metal onto a drill spud. It’s a highly manual process that requires skill and attention to detail. If a fabricated reamer isn’t balanced, it may not rotate rotation evenly in the hole and potentially cause premature wear. 

Impact on performance

Welding is involved when creating any piece of HDD tooling; however, the number of welds to produce a tool can impact your productivity and profitability.

Fewer welds on fluted reamers also mean there are fewer failure points. Aggressive ground conditions can lead to a lot of wear on a reamer. As the reamer’s teeth wear down, the fluted body design becomes critical. Fabricated bodies with more welds can tear apart, while a single casted body will wear evenly. 

Impact on rebuild-ability

When it comes time to rebuild your reamer, making new welds on top of old ones is not recommended. The connections won’t be as durable, thus reducing the amount of time between rebuilds. Those shorter rebuild intervals will cost you time and money, and potentially reduce the life expectancy of your reamer.

Since cast reamers only have welds connecting the reamer body to the spud, it’s much easier and faster to perform a rebuild and if implemented correctly, it should last longer than what you would get with a fabricated flute body. 

Available sizes

There are many advantages to selecting a cast body fluted reamer. As you shop around, keep in mind that many companies only offer cast body options up to a 16-inch model. After that, the reamer is fabricated.

Vermeer is one of the only tooling manufacturers who has invested in the equipment required to cast fluted reamer bodies all the way up to 40-inch models. Each fluted body is engineered with an opening that is size-appropriate for the drill spud it will be paired with. This design provides a higher quality tool than a one-size-fits-all approach.

All Vermeer fluted reamers are built using cast 1030 steel, which delivers outstanding durability. Depending on the size of reamer, the teeth and carbide mesh grit hard facing on Vermeer fluted reamers are robotically applied for consistency and longevity.

As you can see, most fluted reamers may look similar, but there can be huge differences. When you invest in quality, you will maximize productivity and the time it takes to rebuild a reamer, as well as yield a longer life from your tooling choice. Visit Borestore.com to learn more or reach out to your local dealer to learn more about Vermeer reamers.

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