Ditch Witch Introduces ‘Game Changer’ JT40 HDD Rig

Ditch Witch has introduced a new 40,000-pound pullback horizontal directional drill (HDD) model which is being promoted as an industry “game changer.”

From the front to the rear, everything contained in the JT40’s streamlined profile is all new, said Senior Product Manager Seth Matthesen.

“We’ve taken the best of previous drill models and optimized them to maximize productivity, performance and operator efficiency,” Matthesen continued. “The evolutionary process leading to the JT40 brings a completely new platform to mid-range directional drills.”

The operator’s station is a good place to begin a tour of the new model.

“It’s the most advanced in the industry,” he said. “There’s nothing else like it.”

Climb into the air conditioned, heated cab and settle onto a padded seat that actually is comfortable. The cab is positioned at an angle, giving the operator unobstructed vision points of essential functions. Looking slightly to the left and down are the breakout wrenches. Shift slightly to the right, and there is a direct view of the drill pipe’s entry point of the pilot bore. The cab traverses on a rail to slide back for a narrow machine configuration for transport, and forward to provide the best position for all vision points during drilling and pullback.


Controls to the left and right are easy to reach and understand. On the left, a radial control knob adjusts mud flow and carve mode. To the right are two data display screens. The top screen provides operational information: carriage position, thrust/pullback, rotary torque, rpm speed, breakout position and messaging for ease of operation and service. The lower screen shows tracking and engine information.

All functions can be operated with a handheld wireless control device (the remote ground drive control is not operational when the operator is seated in the operator’s station). The open cab model has a locking cover to secure controls.

The innovative operator station and cab do not overshadow the drilling system’s production capabilities. The JT40 is available with a 160-horsepower Tier 4 diesel or 148-horsepower Tier 3 diesel for use in areas with less stringent emission requirements. Rack-and-pinion carriage drive and new, proven hydraulic platform provide power for drilling and pullback. In addition to 40,000 pounds of pullback and push, the JT40 develops maximum spindle torque of 5,500 foot pounds, and spindle speeds to 225 rpm. Maximum carriage thrust and pullback travel speed is 180 fpm with industry leading cycle time.

There are standard and heavy-duty stake-down options.

A new pipe rack design allows access from either end. A mesh side panel allows the operator to view the pipe supply from the operator’s seat. Pipe boxes hold up to 600 feet of drill pipe. The patent-pending open breakout system is positioned closer to the operator than on previous models.

Access to maintenance points are facilitated by opening or removing steel side panels and lifting a fiberglass hood that is easily raised.

Popular, practical model

HDD equipment in the 40,000-pound pullback class has been popular in the industry for years – Ditch Witch introduced its JT4020 model in 1998 with several upgrades evolving to the JT4020 Mach 1.

“It is a popular size machine that crosses several markets,” Matthesen said. “Depending on soil conditions, a 40,000-pound machine has the power to install 600 feet or more for small-diameter pipelines. Its relatively small footprint is good for work in urban areas for telecommunications construction.”

JT40s began rolling off the production line in January, and it will be introduced at the 2017 Underground Construction Technology Conference & Exhibition (UCT) show which opens Jan. 31 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, TX.
Matthesen said the JT40 platform will be used on all new JT models.

In addition to HDD equipment, downhole tools and drill pipe, the Ditch Witch brand includes trenchers, vibratory plows, vacuum excavators, compact skid steer loaders and other multi-purpose utility equipment. Ditch Witch equipment and Subsite HDD trackers are sold through the worldwide Ditch Witch dealer organization.

Ditch Witch and Subsite Electronics are Charles Machine Works companies.

Ditch Witch
(800) 654-6481, ditchwitch.com

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