HDD Advancements Help Bore Through Solid Rock

By Jeff Davis, Ditch Witch product manager, HDD tooling

Rock is one of the most abundant geological matters covering the Earth’s surface and the most challenging ground condition facing underground construction operators.

In the past, the presence of rock formations prevented the use of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for most underground utility construction. Drilling in rock required large drill rigs with mud motors, and the support equipment necessary to run them was too costly and impractical for use in urban areas. One of the most significant milestones in the evolution of HDD, however, was the development of the technology. As technology has advanced, midsize drilling equipment now has the capability of effectively drilling and steering in rock.

The introduction of the Ditch Witch dual-pipe All Terrain (AT) drilling system helped advance HDD. Jobs that were once considered impossible due to the presence of rock were now possible with the AT system. This greatly expanded opportunities to utilize HDD and opened multiple new markets for directional drilling, as contractors could now drill in rock with smaller and less costly equipment.

Today, there are four Ditch Witch AT models ranging in pullback from 30,000 to 100,000 pounds, including the new, next-generation JT40 All Terrain directional drill.

In addition to the full system, AT drills utilize other tooling—drill pipe, bits, housings, and backreamers—designed specifically for rock applications. HDD tooling has also evolved over the years to provide better performance and functionality. For example, our rock bits are made with high-performance components to help extend bit life in hard rock conditions. The new Ditch Witch Rock Monster™ HD backreamer is designed for solid rock drilling. It is equipped with patent-pending EdgeGuard™ protection on the shirttail and premium bearing technology that improves cutting structure and wear resistance.

Contractors must remember, however, drilling in rock is not just switching to rock tooling and proceeding routinely. Drilling in rock requires experience, planning, the right equipment and tooling, patience, and persistence.

For more information on the Ditch Witch All Terrain system, visit HDD Tooling | Ditch Witch – Directional Drills, Trenchers, Vacs, & Skid Steers

HYDRAULIC BREAKER
Used for construction and demolition, our breakers can be used to break up asphalt, concrete or even clay. The hydraulic hammer is perfect for any small or medium job you might have. More up-time in the field is always the goal, and with only two moving parts and a few seals, there’s no reason for down-time.
Compatible Models

SK600, SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

ROCK SAW

Best suited for irrigation and fiber installation, the Rock Saw attachment can effortlessly cut through rock, concrete, and other tough materials with unmatched precision. 

Compatible Models

SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

BACKHOE
Easily move materials for rebuilds, new construction, footings, utility repairs and more with this compact and versatile attachment.
Compatible Models

SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

STUMP GRINDERS
Featuring a heavy-duty boom design, powerful stump grinding attachments quickly shred stumps down to nothing. Easy maneuvering from stump to stump and increased visibility turns more ground stumps into more profit.
Compatible Models

SK600, SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750, SK3000

MULTITASK TOOL
Your multipurpose tool for the ultimate multi-tasker is here. Engineered to grab tight to heavy materials and move them with ease and precision, the multi-task tool is your go-to for heavy applications. Easy to operate with convenient, functional levers.
Compatible Models

SK600, SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

CORE DRILL
With the MC-450 coring attachment, utility maintenance is simple and less disruptive. Featuring intuitive controls and an integrated water tank, the MC-450 is the perfect choice for quick cuts and a more productive coring process. A fully adjustable 0 to 280 rpm speed allows for enhanced control and greater productivity.
Compatible Models

SK1050, SK1550, SK1750