Midsize Rigs and Their Influence in the HDD Market


The market for midsize horizontal directional drills (HDDs) is like the proverbial middle child: overlooked at times, but quietly picking up the slack when needed.

It may not be as flashy or sexy as its larger and smaller siblings, but it helps keep things running smoothly while providing plenty of opportunity for growth in years to come. The coming decade will see many opportunities for new business models within mid-sized drilling rigs thanks to increased demand for trenchless construction.

We’ve all heard and read about the compact, sleek fiber-optic and telecom rigs.The big maxi rigs figure in a lot of amazing, massive installation stories. What about rigs in the midsize range?

The Value of Midsize Rigs

This rig class, with the widest range of size and power, quietly remains the bedrock of the HDD industry’s ups and downs, steadily righting the ship when its compact and maxi siblings falter.

According to industry experts, the midsize HDD rig sector is by far the most popular. Most contractors use midsize hdd crossing rigs on a daily basis. On today’s job sites, nearly two out of every three HDD units are in the medium category. When you look at the percentage of items that are placed into the ground each year, midsize rigs are responsible for 70% to 80% of it.

Whether it’s telecommunications, gas, electricity, sewer, or water, the midsize group practically covers every industry. These rigs will be used in a variety of industries. [The midsize class] is the most important market segment from the standpoint of manufacturers. Because it’s where the work is, it’s also where the volume of drills is built.

Since the 1900s, the size and power of all rig types have evolved. The compact class usually includes anything with a thrust and pullback of up to 20,000 pounds. Anything with more than 100,000 pounds of thrust and pullback is classified as a maxi.

The majority of the rigs in the medium class weigh between 20,000 and 60,000 pounds. According to certain theories, the midsize class could grow to be 500,000 pounds in size.

The midsize class was defined in the 1990s as rigs with thrust and pullback ranging from 40,000 to 500,000 pounds. However, they are now typically in the 40,000-pound range. For trailers and rails, the break is usually around the 500,000-pound range. The rigs are on trailers if they weigh more than 500,000 pounds.

The Middle Child in Rigs Market

Unlike the tiny and maxi rigs, which have cyclical cycles based on the state of the telecom and oil and gas markets, the midsize rig has a more stable and long-term existence. The midsize market is strong now, according to many specialists.

The adjective “robust” was used several times to characterize it. The market is expected to remain “robust” for the foreseeable future, owing to the continuous telecom/fiber-optic drive as well as the energy work that this rig type can handle. When you factor in the replacement market for rural urban regions, these rigs will be busy for a long time.

One of the reasons for this is that it encompasses such a wide range of tasks. This rig class is the market, in general. It is the most stable and largest in the rig market. Midsize rigs might have had some down years, although it is usually not non-existent when it is down. The contractors are still working despite the lesser volume.

The rig’s adaptability is crucial to its long-term success. Almost any drilling or underground construction project can work with midsize hdd crossing rigs. That is why it is so stable. It’s a varied product line because a 20,000-pound rig may be used for a 200-foot shot in one section of the country and a 600-foot shot in another, depending on soil conditions.

What Midsize Operators Want

When scouring the rig lots, what do HDD operators of midsize rigs seek for? Unsurprisingly, many of the operators’ requirements are similar to those of buyers of compact and maxi units: ease of operation, product reliability, and product line consistency.

Because these rigs will be up and running every day, operators want the rig to be dependable. They also want the rig to be simple to operate. Operators nowadays are being taught to be able to shift from machine to machine, whether compact, midsize, or large. Therefore transitioning from model to model is vital. In addition to power, operators want rigs that are easy to mobilize and dismantle. They want to cram as much power as possible into a smaller package.

Midsize customers have also expressed an interest in project and planning tools that may be downloaded to the rig and used to collect data as the project is installed. The capacity to collect data on a rig is becoming increasingly important, particularly for water and gas companies.

In terms of the future of midsize rigs, experts concur that the market will remain “robust” over the next two to five years.