We all know time is money on the pipeline. Projects are bid with intentions of meeting a target completion date, and when these dates are threatened by weather or other unforeseen circumstances, contractors need an edge.
While pipeline machinery is getting more productive, many projects are completed the same way as years past. One area in which contractors have found an edge to speed up installation is by using boring equipment to cross roads, creeks or rivers.
In these cases, which typically cannot be done by open-cut techniques, contractors will complete the crossing with either dry techniques using a tracked auger boring machine (ABM) or a cradle boring machine (CBM), or with wet techniques using a slurry mix and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) equipment.
HDD is the preferred choice for accuracy beyond 400 ft, but with it comes the need for water onsite, which is an issue in some areas both in terms of getting the water to the jobsite and its disposal. Typical setup time and completion of bore is a minimal of five days with HDD.
Auger boring is typically used for bores less than 400 ft. The ABM requires pit excavation and grade established to determine bore angle. Typical setup time and completion of bore is three to six days with ABM.
Given these considerations, cradle boring can be better suited for pipeline installation for many reasons. Typical setup time and completion of a bore is one day with CBM. The installation time is greatly enhanced due to minimal bore pit excavation. The CBM is not on the ground during boring but rather supported from pipelayer or excavator. This minimizes the amount of excavation and eliminates the need for graded bore pit. The grade on CBM is accomplished by raising/lowering the machine.
Sometimes rights of way are minimal in width and require bore pit dirt that’s excavated be hauled away. The CBM’s minimal excavation saves this need for moving dirt a second time. Since there’s no track on the ground, the bore casing/auger connection can be pre-fabricated along the right of way to the longest length desired to avoid welding sections during installation, potentially providing huge time savings while allowing the CBM and bore casing to be transported down the right of way to the next bore without teardown. It is common for an experienced crew to accomplish three bores per day with proper planning.
While new to some, CBMs have been around since the 1970s. The older models are still in use by some, but breakdowns are common and parts availability is an issue. Additionally, safety requirements have changed.
Equipment manufacturer Heavy Equipment Services (HES), of Piedmont, South Carolina, reviewed these machines in the field with pipeline veterans. A plan was made to bring reliability, safety, performance and productivity to a new line of CBMs. This was a long process with research and field trials.
The first few machines were brought into difficult situations in which completion deadlines were approaching and the CBMs had to perform well. Most scenarios were in mountainous terrain and swampy areas where an ABM would require much more setup time due to conditions. The CBMs performed well, completing multiple bores each day. As a result, more customers began contacting HES about cradle boring equipment.
In an effort to speed production and provide superior product, HES has teamed up with Barbco Inc., of Canton, Ohio, to offer their years of boring machine excellence in a joint CBM product line. Barbco has provided HES superior components and support in the past, so the partnership was a natural fit. The combined product knowledge produces high-quality equipment with options including remote controls and ROPS/FOPS certified cab for extreme climates.
HES has developed four CBM models (816, 824, 842 and 854) that range from 4- to 54-in. casing. The models can be adapted with a variety of casing sizes. HES offers turn-key solutions with the correct rigging required, including proper power requirements. Operator training is also available.
The 816 machine installs 4- to 16-in. diameter casing and is designed specifically for small diameter bores. It is the first and only cradle boring machine that’s completely hydraulic. Its compact size and weight allow excavators to handle the machine with ease. The 816 is hydraulically powered from an excavator similar to an attachment. It includes mechanical binders and chain to secure the casing to the machine. The machine is controlled with remote joysticks. Machine weight is 2,500 lbs.
The 824 machine installs 8- to 24-in. diameter casing and is designed specifically for quick and efficient small diameter bores. It is the first and only cradle boring machine in this size. Its compact size and weight allow small pipelayers and excavators to handle the machine with ease. The 824 is direct drive with four-speed mechanical transmission. It includes high force lockdown cylinders and chain to secure the casing to the machine. The operator station is designed for ergonomic operation and includes modern safety controls. Machine weight is 6,500 lbs.
The 842 machine installs 8- to 42-in. diameter casing. It is available with two engine choices and is backed by a five-speed direct drive transmission with steep ratio planetary for high torque. The goal was to have a lightweight machine that is easily handled while providing excessive power. With the high-horsepower engine option, torque is over 200,000 ft-lbs at the front drive hub. It includes high force lockdown cylinders and chain to secure the casing to the machine. The operator station is designed for ergonomic operation and includes a fully adjustable seat. Machine weight is 14,500 lbs.
The 854 machine installs 8- to 54-in. diameter casing and is specifically for big-inch work. The driveline uses all high load components with an oversized winch. The structure is strengthened in areas critical to the machine’s durability. It includes high force lockdown cylinders and chain to secure the casing to the machine. The operator station is designed for ergonomic operation and includes a fully adjustable seat. Machine weight is 17,500 lbs.
This article was supplied by Heavy Equipment Services (HES).