Pipe Ramming/Auger Boring

Pipe ramming is a simple method used for the installation of steel casing under roads, highways, rail beds and other structures.

Pipe Ramming Applications:

  • Steel casing installation
  • Culvert replacement
  • HDD Assist
    • Wash-over casings
    • Stuck Bores
      • Removal of drill stem
      • Hydro-locked casings


  • Able to swallow rock as large as the inside diameter of the casing
  • Method does not remove soil until casing is installed
  • Minimizes voids
    • Roads
    • Railroads
  • Reduced soil compaction

Preferred for Adverse Soil Conditions

  • Free flowing sand
  • Cobble conditions
  • Large rock formations
  • Excessive ground water

Preferred for Adverse Soil Conditions

  • Rock swallowed during ram
  • Spoil removed post ram

Auger Boring
Horizontal auger boring has been used to install utilities for decades. The process has changed over the years as the technology has changed. Auger boring is one of the most cost effective methods of installing utilities. It is considered the first trenchless method used by the construction industry.

Let’s cover the basics of auger boring from soil conditions to pit preparation. An auger boring machines drills a hole through the ground as the casing is installed. The auger is rotated using one to two power sources. Small drill may use hydraulic system for rotation while the larger units will apply torque to the auger via a diesel engine, to transmission the to the gear box to develop torque. Torque levels vary by machine size and can range from 1000ft lbs of torque to 170,000ftlbs of torque.

Advancing the machine into the bore while pushing the casing is achieved by hydraulic cylinders mounted under the machine. These cylinders are extended to there full length and then retraced back under the unit and pin into the next set of track holes. This process is repeated until the unit reaches the end of the tracks. A small hydraulic unit will have as little as 24,000lbs of thrust while a larger machine can have 950,000 lbs of thrust.

The diameter of a machine is determined by the largest casing the unit can push. Thus a 24″ auger boring machine and push up to 24″ casing. The unit can push smaller casing by using adapter kits. Using an adapter kit will allow a 24″ auger boring machine to push 6″, 12″ or 20″ casing.

When looking for the correct machine you have to consider a few factors. Diameter of the largest casing you would like to install, the length of the bore and soil conditions. It is always best to talk to the manufacture of the unit to determine which unit best meets your needs. Keeping in mind that purchasing a 24” auger boring machine to dill 24″ casing 20′, would be the wrong unit for the job. It will find that often you have to purchase the next larger unit to have the power need to complete the job.

Auger boring machines can drill in a variety of soil conditions. Clays, sand, shale can be drill with the basic equipment. Rock can be drilled as well but will require special equipment.