What is Moling?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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Moling is a type of construction strategy that is used in the process of laying pipes. This particular approach is often referred to as a trenchless method, since the process does not involve digging a trench in order to position the sections of pipe. Instead, molding equipment is used to imitate the activity of the mole, a small animal that burrows underground. The equipment forces a path through the soil, creating a tunnel that is the right dimensions for the pipes to be run through.

As part of the overall process of moling, a path is projected and points of entry and exit are identified, using simple mapping techniques. The required equipment is placed into position and begins to prepare the tunnel according to the projected angle and depth determined to be ideal for the task. Once the tunnel is completed, the piping can be fed in at the point of origin until it exits at the desired point.


While earlier processes associated with moling were more labor-intensive, pneumatically-driven equipment today has made the process somewhat more automated. With the use of computer-driven machines, it is possible to activate the tunneling process and then control the direction and depth of the activity remotely. This approach has made it possible to quickly deal with any unforeseen obstacles that may be found in the projected path, typically bypassing the obstacle with a slight detour before resuming on the desired course. More modern equipment also aids in expediting the moling process by making it possible to attach flexible piping that is dragged behind the equipment, effectively installing the pipe as the tunnel is dug.

The actual process of moling can save a great deal of time and money. Since there is no need to dig a trench, lay the pipe, then fill in the trench, this tunneling strategy minimizes the amount of labor needed to complete the job. At the same time, jobs that involve laying extensive networks of pipe can be somewhat costly in terms of the amount of time it takes to dig the trenches, position the pipes and then level the area for landscaping. With moling, the surface of the landscape is not disturbed, which also serves to save a lot of time and money. This approach can be especially effective when laying water pipes as part of a construction project, and can even be adapted to provide the means of positioning the heating coils used in heat pump systems in just the right position.


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