As the United States became more urbanized and its cities increasingly congested, the need for trenchless pipe installations became more common. Trenchless installations allow underground pipeline installations that don’t disturb surface structures such as buildings, roads and railroad tracks. Trenchless technology is also used to install pipe under creeks, rivers and other bodies of water.
AMERICAN was an early player on the trenchless scene as it developed, and the company’s MT and GS ductile iron pipe were first used on trenchless projects in 1994. Trenchless projects in that period spanned relatively short distances and typically involved a new pipeline being pushed into place.
As technology evolved, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) developed. HDD involves boring an underground tunnel and then pulling the new pipeline through. The pipeline is either pre-assembled above ground in its entirety or assembled segment-by-segment prior to its pull through the bore hole. HDD has made it possible to perform trenchless jobs that span longer distances and with larger pipe than some of the earlier trenchless projects.
AMERICAN’s Flex-Ring pipe was first used for HDD in 1996. More recently, 2,180 feet of AMERICAN Flex-Ring was installed in Austin, Texas, and almost 1,000 feet of 36-inch Flex-Ring was installed on a project in Pasco County, Florida.