Unglamorous as down-hole equipment may be, these tools perform their vital functions underground and out of sight, and no drill rig can function without them. Bits and reamers, transmitter housings, swivels and pulling heads—all are down-hole tools necessary to make HDD possible. Bits cut through soil to make pilot holes. The slant-face bits still used by most drillers making utility installations provide the steering ability that makes the HDD rigs directional. Reamers enlarge pilot holes to sizes sufficient to accept the product to be installed. Down-hole housings protect the radio transmitters that provide bit location and information needed to steer the drill head. Pulling assemblies and heads connect pipe or other product to the drill string so that they can be pulled through the bore hole. Even though drill pipe isn't actually a tool, it is the link between the drill rig and down-hole tools. Power developed by the drill unit is transferred down the drill string to bit and reamer, and drilling fluid flows through pipe in the drill string to bit, transmitter housing, and reamer.
Dramatic improvements have been made in HDD technology in a relatively short period of time, and the continuing development and improvement of down-hole tool products has played an important part in the growth of the directional-drilling industry. Down-hole tools are made and sold by HDD drill-rig manufacturers and several specialist companies, and drillers have many tool options to meet a wide range of drilling requirements. As directional drilling has become more
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