Pipe Cutting and Cracking

Steve Vick International manufacture a range of pipe cutters and crackers; all of which are available to buy or hire. Pipe cutting is also offered to the gas industry as a contract service.


NEW – Crackerjack™

The Crackerjack™

Breaking out redundant or inserted cast iron mains has always been risky as operators use a variety of hand-held tools, which are labour intensive and associated with hazards to the workforce and even to passers-by.

The alternatives – though effective and well designed – have been expensive; but Steve Vick believe that they have the answer to this longstanding problem with the Crackerjack™, a manually operated mains cracker that combines performance and easy handling with low cost.

The major difference between the Crackerjack™ and other mechanised crackers on the market is its power source. Instead of being battery operated, the Crackerjack™ is operated from a standard site compressor via an air over hydraulic pump which delivers 700 bar of hydraulic pressure, plenty of power to crack cast and spun iron mains up to 6” in diameter in a couple of minutes.

The operator uses a foot pedal on the pump to open and close the jaw of the Crackerjack™ and is thus able to control the pressure applied so that just sufficient force is used to crack the metal.

By rotating and moving the Crackerjack™ along the main the pipe can be broken out in several places to facilitate the removal of the redundant section or to gain access to an inserted PE pipe, making it the ideal system for live mains insertion.


Rapid Window Cutter

Ductile iron mains are notoriously problematical because they cannot be broken out like cast iron; now there is a solution with The Rapid Window Cutter.

The machine was developed in collaboration with Wales & West Utilities, who identified the need for a faster window cutting technique to allow them to extend their use of Live Mains Insertion onto their ductile network.

The Rapid Window Cutter

The new design introduces a revolutionary alternative to established methods, typically cutting a window on a 100mm/4” ductile iron main in under 12 minutes. Customers report that this is 50% faster than traditional equipment.

The hand-held tool is designed for precise, fast cutting of windows in abandoned or inserted ductile mains, without damaging the previously inserted PE. Easy to operate, the cutter connects to an onsite compressor. The operative simply engages the trigger, lowers the blade and glides the unit along or around the main. The chassis pivots easily to change from circumferential to longitudinal cuts.

The Rapid Window Cutter won first place in the Best Gas Improvement Category at The UK Energy Innovation Awards 2015.

NEW – Rapid Window Cutter for Steel

The Rapid Window Cutter for Steel

Following the successful launch of the Rapid Window Cutter for Ductile Iron, SVI has worked with Wales & West Utilities again to develop a cutter which allows the removal of a window from a steel main.
Previously, like all GDNs, WWU had not been able to plan the replacement of its 200km steel networks other than by inefficient ‘open cut’ methods.

The design of this tool builds on the successful engineering of the Rapid Window Cutter for Ductile Iron with modifications to the air powered motor and blade system.

The cutter makes both semi-circumferential and longitudinal cuts, the latter using a light weight, easy to fit guide frame that allows free linear movement.

Fitted to the guide frame, the SVI Window Cutter is set up to make a longitudinal cut on a steel main.

The Rapid Window Cutter for Steel is suitable for tier 1 mains with a maximum cutting depth of 13mm and comes with depth control discs which allow it to cut inserted mains safely without damaging the PE. The motor is air driven and is powered from a typical site compressor. The machine is quick to set up and easily operated by one person.

Typical cutting speed – a typical ‘top tee’ size window in less than 30 minutes; this is dramatically faster compared with existing approved tooling.


The steel cutter is designed to cut out windows on steel mains to allow the installation of a service top tee where the host main is already inserted with PE. The window is cut out with two semi-circumferential cuts at either end and two longitudinal cuts using a guide frame

Rapid Rotary Cutter

The Rapid Rotary Cutter

The Rapid Rotary Cutter offers a solution to the problems associated with making circumferential cuts on ductile iron pipes.

The Rapid Rotary Cutter is an air powered tool designed to cut around a ductile iron main. It is extremely fast, cutting a 4″ main in approximately 2 minutes. Incorporating depth gauges, the cutter is safe to use on inserted host pipes and allows immediate access.

The Rapid Rotary Cutter comprises two aluminium shells, with an air motor on the top shell, that interlink around the perimeter of the main. Using minimum effort the operator rotates the unit 360° by hand, to give a very precise circumferential cut.


NEW – Rapid Rotary Cutter for Steel

The Rapid Rotary Cutter for Steel

SVI have adapted the Rapid Rotary Cutter to make a version suitable for cutting steel pipes. By fitting a larger motor and a custom designed blade, the cutter rapidly cuts around a steel main. As with our other Rapid Cutters, this tool is easy to use, quick to set up and requires minimum access space around the pipe.

The Rapid Rotary Cutter for Steel is suitable for use on 100mm/4”, 150mm/6” and 200mm/8” diameter pipes and typically cuts a 4” steel main in less than 10 minutes.


Keel Cutter

Keel Cutter

In the Gas industry, Keel Cutters are an essential tool when carrying out alterations and diversions – any instance where a circumferential cut is required on a main whether or not it has already been inserted with PE.

When fitted on the main, minimum clearance is required to allow the blade to track around the pipe delivering a clean circumferential cut in minutes. The Keel Cutters can cut steel, cast iron, ductile iron, plastic, cement and other types of pipe up to 1500mm diameter.

The Keel Cutter can also be used in preparation when welding by using a specialised bevelled angle blade.

Available for hire or purchase. Pipe cutting is also offered as a contract service.


MACAW Pipe Crackers

Breaking out cast iron mains has been a long standing health and safety concern in the gas industry. This is due to the labour intensive tooling available, such as a sledge hammer or ‘podger’ bar, both of which have been associated with causing injury to operatives.

Steve Vick International offers the solution with the ‘MACAW’ Pipe Cracker range, so called because its pipe cracking arms resemble the powerful beak of the South American bird!

The MACAW attaches to the quick-hitch or bucket pins of a mini excavator. Controlled from the cab, and using the excavator’s hydraulic power, the operative manoeuvres the arms around the pipe and then applies sufficient pressure to crack the pipe. The MACAW may be used on cast iron pipes inserted with PE if required.

MACAW Pipe Cracker – Large Diameter Cracker

Large Diameter MACAW Cracker

The MACAW, suitable for cracking 8” to 24” cast iron mains attaches to the quick-hitch or bucket pins of a mini excavator.

Designed for use with a typical 1.5 to 3 tonne mini excavator, the entire operation is controlled from the cab, Using the excavator’s hydraulic power, the operative manoeuvres the arms around the pipe and then applies sufficient pressure to crack the pipe.

Differently sized arms can be attached to the base unit to accommodate varying sizes of pipe.


Mini MACAW Pipe Cracker – Small Diameter Cracker

Small Diameter MACAW Cracker

When hydraulic power is applied, the linkage arms squeeze the pipe making the breaker discs, which act as the pressure points, crack the pipe.

Adapting to all site environments and for the convenience of differing site conditions, the Mini Macaw has two means of hydraulic power, a hand pump or a 1.5 – 3 tonne mini digger.

To accommodate the range of pipe sizes, a choice of pin slots and a spacer seat cover all diameters up to 8”, eliminating the need of additional equipment.

Benefits of using a Steve Vick International MACAW Cracker

  • Safer and faster than using a ‘podger bar’ or sledge hammer
  • Does not require access around the whole circumference of the pipe
  • Controlled pressure applied – suitable on abandoned and inserted mains, without damaging internal PE
  • Easy to operate—highly manoeuvrable
  • Various power source options available to accommodate site conditions
  • Quick set up
  • Ideal for use with Live Mains Insertion