Installing utility lines underground has proven itself a real money-saver time and again. Underground installation isolates electric, phone, and data cables from damage by wind, falling tree limbs, ice buildup, and other hazards. It’s also much easier on the eye, especially in neighborhoods. But having to dig a trench to bury cables can be an expensive and time-consuming procedure.

With the conventional method, a trench has to be dug, the cable inserted, and the earth that had been dug up put back in the trench and compacted. Having to restore the landscape eats up more time and money. The task becomes even more expensive and time consuming if the utility lines must be routed under existing underground utilities (gas, water, sewer, and other electrical lines), existing roadways, and waterways. These issues are all avoided with trenchless technology, which uses a horizontal directional drill machine to form an underground pilot tunnel for cables and pipes. The machines can even direct the tunnel under and around existing underground obstacles, such as existing utility lines and building foundations.

Theses self-propelled machines use hydraulics for most power functions, such as driving a pair of track-drive motors, a stakedown system, and all boring functions. The stakedown system is necessary to hold the machine in place during boring operations. Without it, the tremendous thrust produced by the hydraulic system to push the drill into the ground could move the entire machine. Once at the work site, an operator need only connect the machine to a source of water, deploy the stakedown system, and begin the underground operations.

Read more: Trenching Without the Trench