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Got an upcoming drilling project this winter?

Good. It’s time to talk about maintenance. 

At Vermeer WA & NT, we take the health of our customers’ drill rigs seriously. You should too. We don’t need to remind you about the high number of equipment breakdowns due to improper or irregular maintenance. No doubt observing regular horizontal drilling maintenance saves you cold hard cash – not to mention the embarrassment of a mechanical issue.

The following tips can help you prepare your drills for your upcoming work schedule, ensuring the best possible performance on the job. Remember to refer to your owner’s manual concerning these features on your own directional drills and HDD equipment.

Here is your Vermeer horizontal drilling maintenance guide. 

1. Inspect the basics 

While targeted horizontal drilling maintenance is often necessary following a heavy job, it pays to regularly inspect your rig’s basic features. Here’s a blow by blow of what we mean:

  • Ensure full operability of your present system
  • Make sure your lubrication points are well greased
  • Test the emergency shut-off system 
  • Give your Rollover Protection System (ROPS) a once over
  • Test alarm and other warning systems 
  • Ensure your electrical harness is undamaged 
  • Check your greaser is working normally
  • Ensure proper drilling fluid levels
  • Trial your equipment’s Strike Alert System and Remote Lockout System

If you notice any inconsistencies with the above list, it’s important you contact us here at Vermeer WA & NT – or ensure your dealer is aware as the safety of your equipment and process should be your top priority. 

2. Give your drivetrain and engine the TLC it deserves 

When it comes to horizontal directional drilling, no parts work harder than your engine and drivetrain. As you prepare to deploy your equipment, proper and regular care of these vital components is critical. 

  • Inspect and top up engine oil as required
  • Look at your air filter. Chances are it will need replacement
  • Consider draining your water and fuel separator
  • Make sure your coolant is topped up and in good condition

Inspect the radiator. Give it a thorough clean of any debris or dust

3. Don’t forget your hydraulics

Without proper attention to your rig’s hydraulics system, the moving parts, well, won’t move. Here’s how to tick off this important horizontal drilling maintenance criterion:

  • Check your HDD Drill’s hydraulic fluid levels
  • Give your controls a whirl. Ensure everything’s working smoothly
  • Check all hoses and components for damage or potential leaks
  • Test to ensure your thrust/pullback and rotation pressures are running at appropriate levels

4. Practice drill pipe rotation

Sure, a drill pipe may not be the dearest component of your HDD kit. But knowing how to properly rotate from job to job can greatly prolong its use over time. 

A drill pipe is easily one of the most vulnerable components when it comes to general wear and tear – so switching out lengths on different jobs will ensure each length gets even usage. This ensures you get the most out of your piping and will guard against any sudden breakages during a bore. 

5. Clean your tooling equipment (regularly)

You can inspect your horizontal directional drills as much as you like, but routine maintenance relies on hard work to clean your tooling equipment – especially after jobs. Once your tools are pulled out, be sure to give them a proper clean and ensure they’re stored carefully to avoid the threads being damaged during transport or storage. It’s good practice to invest in the right caps for tool threads, or simply use appropriate taping to protect drill bits against dents or any general wear and tear.

6. Prioritise drill operator training 

When it comes to the general operation and horizontal drilling maintenance, the operator’s know-how and skills are paramount in ensuring adherence of good practices both pre-drill, on the job and post-drill. 

In order to uphold high standards of maintenance and upkeep, Vermeer WA & NT offer regular training events through our annual and much loved HDD Drill School as well as targeted training packages through our partnership with Australian Training Management.

7. When in doubt: follow your equipment guidelines 

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s essential to follow your equipment guidelines. Every piece of equipment, whether it’s Vermeer or otherwise, will demand strict adherence to the guidelines issued by the manufacturer.

While a mix and match approach might work when looking at broader maintenance tasks like oil and coolant checks – paying attention to equipment specific guidelines is important for more detailed aspects of your utility HDD gear. 

Vermeer WA & NT: directional boring done right. 

At  Vermeer WA & NT, we take our maintenance seriously and you should too. With expertise from our staff and sales team, you can move forward with confidence knowing that your operations are backed by one of the leading lights in HDD.

If you want to find out more about how we can support your HDD operations, just give us a call today on (08) 9479 4994.

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