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When choosing a Horizontal directional drill for your operations, you may want to choose based on a variety of factors – the drilling conditions being one of them.

In this article, we take an overview of drilling techniques and the different models of Horizontal Directional Drills to help you in your decision-making process.

First, the working conditions – soft rock, hard rock, and loam.


Horizontal directional drilling techniques drilling in soft rock

Step one – Pilot Boring using a gauntlet bit, and the carve steering technique to complete the bore.

Step two – Pull back using a fluted reamer and a swivel to pull the pipe or cable through.

Horizontal directional drilling technique for loam.

Step one  – pilot boring using a dirt bit.

Step two  – pull back using a reamer and a helical reamer and swivel.

Horizontal directional drilling techniques for hard rock.

Step one – pilot boring using a dual rod drill head and a technique called position bent for sub steering.

Step two – pull back using a hole opener and swivel.

The use of this tool makes the hole larger and allows a larger pipe or cable to be pulled through the cavity.



D130X150S PIPELINE DIRECTIONAL DRILLSThis is specifically designed for larger horizontal directional drilling projects.

The features of this particular pipeline directional drill include a climate-controlled cab and compact footprint which makes it well suited for hard to access and narrow job sites.

The operator-controlled rod loader helps minimize the labour involved and also an optional front-mounted stake down system helps reduce the amount of time and materials needed to secure the drill. The optional telescoping crane can help reduce the amount of support equipment needed on site.

This model features a three-speed gearbox which helps improve the overall efficiency of the drill as operators can adjust the machine’s torque to match different ground conditions. There are two engine options available one having a manufacturer’s rated power of 240 hp and the second option having 260 hp. The hydraulic tank holds up to 416 L while the fuel tank holds 284 L. The optional crane has a maximum lifting capacity of 3200 kg and a maximum reach of 700 kg at 6.3 m. The maximum entry angle for the drill pipe is 20° with a length of 6.1 m and a diameter of 8.9 cm.


D220X300S (HDD) DIRECTIONAL DRILLSSuitable for tough terrain or urban settings this HDD drill provides power to maximize productivity.

Featuring a climate control cabin helps reduce operator fatigue, making it ideal for hotter environments.

The open-top vise design allows for removing and adding tooling when doing horizontal directional drilling.

This directional drill also has a dual pivot rack. This provides entry angles from 10° to 24°.  Having this range means that versatility is maximised for different pipes and job sites.

Boring efficiency with this model can be increased thanks to the optional single row sliding arm rod loader.  This rod loader allows for up to the staging of five rods.

This also has an optional onboard drilling fluid pump making it suitable for larger projects.  It can also be used with a standalone pump if the additional fluid flow is required.

The engine on this model has a power rating of 400 hp. The optional crane has a lifting capacity at  a 6.2m maximum reach of 500 kg.


D330X500 (HDD) DIRECTIONAL DRILLSHighway transport is a feature of this drill even though it will be an overweight load meaning it can be transported at any time of day as it is within legal dimensions in transport mode.

It also features a self-contained drill which minimises equipment requirements from a support perspective.

This drill features an auto drill which allows the operator to set the rotation and thrust pull backpressure while drilling in changing soil conditions.

It also features onboard diagnostics which means that serviceability and troubleshooting are made easier for operators.

The crane has a maximum lifting capacity of 4762.7 kg, and with the boom extended to a maximum reach of 7.7m a max lift of 1054.6 kg.



Ideal for horizontal directional drilling in congested urban or residential areas the D60X90 has a guaranteed sound power rating of 107 DBA.

This compact drill is suitable for a variety of applications including light pipeline work and long fibre-optic cable shots.

It takes advantage of technology by allowing operators to load a bore plan via flash drive and view it digitally with a touchscreen display.

It comes with two drill pipe options including the first option with a rod diameter of 7.3 cm and that second option a rod diameter of 8.9 cm.

Its compact size means its transport length is 9 m and it’s width is 254 cm making it the perfect choice to manoeuvre on congested job sites.


D10X15S3 HORIZONAL DIRECTIONAL DRILLDesigned for small service installations, it actually can help your crew increase their productivity to move from one job to the next meaning you can get cables and pipes in the ground in a shorter time frame.

Operator training time is short as it features common controls and intuitive dual joysticks to help manage precision for the drill operator.

This HDD model has a narrow footprint of only 111.8 cm in width making it perfect for urban spaces. While it is small, it is still powerful thanks to having a thrust pullback of 10,000 lb.

This model is also suitable for neighborhoods thanks to it’s reduced noise output,  making communication for your team easier.

The fuel tank is 68.1 L and the hydraulic system is 94.6 L and the rod diameter is 4.3 cm with a bend radius of 29.1 m.


D20X22S3 HORIZONTAL DIRECTIONAL DRILLThis horizontal directional drill is suitable for installing cable fibre and product pipe efficiently in urban areas it features come and controls which assist with training operators.

Featuring a narrow lightweight design compared to other models means it can sit comfortably on a trailer alongside a mixed system.

This drill is designed to maximize job site productivity thanks to its rotational efficiency meaning that linear feet can be laid faster on job sites. It comes with two drill pipe options.  The first one being at 3 m in length and a 4.8 cm rod diameter with a bend radius of 30.1 m.  The second option is a length of 3 m with a rod diameter of 5.2 cm and a bend radius of 31.1 m



 D23X30S3 HORIZONTAL DIRECTIONAL DRILLSA horizontal directional drill suitable for compact urban or commercial job sites.

Featuring a 100 HP engine this HDD is compact yet powerful and also ultraquiet making it perfect for working in neighborhoods thanks to its 99 DBA guaranteed sound power level.

It features thrust pullback of 24,000lbs a maximum carriage speed of 62.8 m/m.






Designed for drilling in rock this drill uses a jewel rod technology in a small machine which means that operators can manoeuvre efficiently and confidently through congested rock sites in cities or neighborhoods or tight job sites.



VERMEER D24X40 SERIES 3(S3)Designed to offer drilling power and tracking on job sites,  this is the choice to maximise productivity. This drill out paces competitor models thanks to its 270 rpm rotational speed meaning that operators can complete jobs faster.

Also featuring a touchscreen display this makes it easier for operators to view locate information and ball plans to help productivity.

The drill pipe for this model has a length of 3 m a rod diameter of 6 cm and a bend radius of 33 m. Its fuel tank is 166.6 L and also has an antifreeze tank capacity of 14.7 L.


VERMEER D40X55 S3 10 FT (3 M)Suitable for long fibre shots and light pipeline work this drill has 40,000lb of thrust and pull back to help maximise productivity on site.

It can be configured to a contractor’s needs with a range of 3.0  meter or 4.6 meter rod options.  The carriage speed of 57.3 m/min means that anyone choosing this machine to complete works on site will be able to install more linear feet per day.

The operator cab is an excavator style that allows more legroom for people using this drill. It also comes with a full colour touchscreen so it is easier for operators to locate information with digital bore plans.



This horizontal directional drill can handle a range of conditions from hard medium and soft rock and also loan dirt and clay. It is designed so that the appropriate tooling can be selected to match the ground conditions which means an entire job can be completed with one machine.

This drill is also a hammer ready and has been tested for Australian conditions.




When you are looking for the right horizontal directional drill to suit your drilling operations be sure to reach out to the team at Vermeer to get professional support in choosing the machine that is right for you and your operation.


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