Industry Knowledge: What Is A Reclaimer?

Updated: Jul 10, 2019

If you’ve been on a horizontal directional drilling site, you may have seen or heard someone mention reclaimer equipment being utilized for the job. But what is a reclaimer and how do you use a reclaimer for directional drilling?

In this post, we’ll take a look at reclaimers, how they function, and why they are so vital to many HDD projects.

Reclaimers for Horizontal Directional Drilling

Horizontal directional drilling operations require a system that will supply the drill with fluid. The fluid lubricates the drill head and takes some pressure and tension off of the drill. To prevent heavy water waste, a reclaimer is used to recycle some of the water and mud that passes through the hole. In the pictures above you can see our reclaimer in action. It is the large rectangular machine that sits close to the drill.

Let’s take a look at some of the key aspects of reclaimers’ operations:

  • Reclaimers are different from mixing systems because the latter puts water and drilling fluid additives within the hole found in a site. While reclaimers feature a mixing system, recycling of fluid is the key component of the equipment.

  • The reclaimer filters the water and drilling fluid that has just been used to drill and separates the larger particles (such as dirt and rocks) from the liquid. The fluid can then be reused in the drilling process.

  • Reclaimers for horizontal directional drilling incorporate a system of components, including hydro-cyclones, shakers, and screens which separate solid material from the fluid itself, recirculating it back into the main system. The fluid consists of water, bentonite, and various HDD additives.

  • Initially, there is what is called a “scalping pass” which is performed by the shakers, bringing fluid through a screen mesh and leaving behind large portions of solid material.

  • For larger reclaimers, three tanks may be used for scalping, desanding, and desilting. For smaller reclaimers, two tanks are often used for only scalping and desilting.

  • During desanding and desilting the fluid that has already gone through the scalping process is then put into the hydro-cyclones at a set pressure. The fluid is then spun within the conical interior of the hydro-cyclones to further separate solids from liquid.

  • Any solids that are separated are then sent to a shaker to be dried and deposited into a roll-off box for later disposal.

Once all of these steps are completed, the drilling fluid is once again ready to be utilized for the job site to be pumped back into the bore path.

The Benefits of Reclaimers for Directional Drilling

Reclaimers offer a number of advantages to directional drilling companies and their clients, such as:

  • Reducing overall costs

  • Utilizing less drilling fluid during a job

  • Reducing the amount of drilling fluid that needs disposed of

  • Reducing the number of times drilling fluid must be disposed of at a facility

  • Reducing the amount of bentonite and additives needed

As you can see, there are a host of benefits to using a reclaimer for directional drilling, which is why ClearPath has incorporated one into our operations.

Have a Directional Drilling Project? Contact Us!

If you’re looking to utilize directional drilling to help you with an upcoming project, be sure to reach out to the experts at ClearPath because we’re ready to get to work!

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