Air Hammer Posts

Job Site Stories: CMP Technologies, Inc.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Equipment: RockEye 4.0 Hammer System, Vermeer 23x30 with Atlas Copco 1000x350 compressor

The Challenge:

North Carolina-based, the CMP Technologies was tasked with a 400-foot bore to install 8-inch poly pipe. The site, located in the Charlotte, North Carolina, Center City neighborhood, required a 20-foot depth, an aggressive 12 degree left turn to follow the easement and a fairly rapid 12-15 foot ascent to reach the road cut.

Part of the state’s Charlotte Belt formation, lurking 10 feet below a mix of course gravel and loam was very old igneous—mostly limestone—rock.

Conventional Methods Attempted First

Conventional rock methods & tools were initially specified. Hitting the ground hard on the first day, the CMP crew easily punched through the first 80 feet of soft soil. Hopes of a short work day ran high.

CMP Technology Charlotte bore path traveled through a varied mix of soils.

The hard limestone conditions in the Charlotte, North Carolina Center City neighborhood stymied initial drilling attempts using conventional rock tools.

The 400-foot bore was located in the shadows of Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers football team.

The enthusiasm ended quickly as the bore transitioned from soft soil into limestone. The three-tooth rock bit simply deflected off the rock. Changing the attack angle partially solved the deflection issue, but exposed a bigger problem: the rock bit simply would not cut the rock.

With production stalling, a crew member suggested contacting StraightLine HDD®. Having witnessed a RockEye® Hammer System in action with a previous employer, the crew member recalled the RockEye’s ability to steer and produce in similar conditions. A demo was scheduled.    


StraightLine field engineer, Ron Becker, arrived at the job site armed with a 4.0 RockEye. Following a quick bore review, set-up and operational briefing, the hammer hit the ground around mid-morning.  

Immediately, Becker realized the soft soil provided inadequate support to the bent sub (giving way rather than allowing the bent sub to push off). “We run into this frequently,” says Becker. “We adjusted technique by increasing forward pressure, which allowed us to push and steer the assembly through soft stuff.”

CMP Technologies working in Charlotte, North Carolina

Operating the RockEye, production rates clocked an impressive 15 feet/10-foot rod. Equally impressive was the flawless execution of a 12 degree turn.

Pushing through the soil layer, Becker recounted the moment the RockEye handled the transition between soft and hard conditions. “You know exactly when the hammer moves into rock—because you can hear it.”

“Once we had established a foothold in the rock—at the correct trajectory—then it was a matter of establishing a rhythm using the hammer’s carving technique” noted Becker.

As the sun set on the first day, the bore neared the halfway point. Production rates averaged 15 minutes/10-foot rod.  The following morning, production continued to impress. Even on the 12 degree turn, production consistently clocked 30 minutes/10-foot rod production rates. Just ten hours after the RockEye arrived on-site, the CMP Technologies crew completed the 400-foot pilot shot.

“A lot of times, we come in after the contractor has spent days—even weeks—trying to get product in,” says Becker. “So when we get 40 plus feet production per hour, and knock a bore out in a couple of days, there’s usually a mixture of shock and amazement on the job site. That’s what we had here.”

Training: Part 2 of the RockEye Hammer Series

Since introducing the RockEye Hammer System 10 years ago, StraightLine field engineers have logged hundreds of thousands of miles travelling to job sites across the country - and the world - to to demonstrate the RockEye's capabilities. Today, we remain committed to training the next generation of RockEye operators, including set up, a maintenance and troubleshooting overview and, of course, up to five days working side-by-side teaching the finer point of drilling in rock. 

To read stories of recent RockEye victories click here.

Facing a tough rock bore? Contact us to set up your own RockEye demo. 

Steering: Part 1 of the RockEye Hammer Series

The RockEye Hammer System gives you the power to pound through rock. The advanced geometry of the 2-point steering system also gives you total control to place the bit exactly where you want it. 

Read how the RockEye has become the "go to" choice for difficult rock bores.   

RockEye Hammer Wins Another Convert

After spending two and one-half weeks on a mud motor and conventional tooling, Oklahoma-based HDDI, Inc., deployed a RockEye 4.0 Hammer System. The result: a successful bore completed 6 times as fast as conventional methods.

Read the entire HDDI, Inc. story here.

RockEye Hammer System Finds a Home in Tough Texas Conditions.

From the Devil’s River Limestone to the Eagle Ford Formation, Texas boasts a nearly endless variety of soils and conditions. For a growing number of contractors, a consensus is building that for the toughest formations, there’s one tool you need:

The RockEye Hammer System from StraightLine HDD.

The RockEye's string of successes stretches across Texas, including job sites in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and more.

Read about how Broadband Specialists, Inc. used the RockEye in a telecom job in Austin, Texas.

The RockEye Hammer support pack AND 200 gallon tank easily mounts to a truck bed.

Even on rigs as small as 10k lbs., the RockEye 3.0 is the ideal solution when the ground is hard and easements are tight.

With three sizes available (3/4/5-inches), the RockEye offers a number of distinct advantages over conventional pilot-hole tooling.

  • Low cost. Low initial cost combined with high production rates (up to 100 feet/hour) turns the RockEye into one of the most economical rock tools available.    
  • Steerable. Field-proven 2-point steering system gives operators tremendous steering control
  • Compact. Support pack and fluid tank easily fits on a single truck.
  • Low fluid use. Using from 0 to 5GPM virtually eliminates the logistics nightmare of obtaining, transporting and cleaning up fluids.
  • Small rigs. The 3.0 RockEye is specifically designed to operate on rigs as small as 10k lbs. and small compressors.
  • FREE Training. Receive up to 5 days of on-site training from an expert with hundreds of hammer bore victories.

Using conventional drilling rock methods can be an expensive option. On this particular bore, the contractor toiled in tough layered limestone/flint for over for three weeks. The result was frustration and a costly assortment of destroyed tooling. A RockEye hammer was brought in and finished the job in a day and a half.

In west Texas, the ground conditions on this RockEye bore consisted of a nasty mix of limestone and ironstone.