High Capacity Trailers Cut Costs & Dramatically Reduce Carbon Footprint For Wales & West Utilities

November 12, 2012

Having taken delivery of 18 new high capacity pipe coil trailers manufactured by Steve Vick International, Wales & West Utilities (WWU) report that they are already achieving the anticipated 13% cost savings on PE pipe usage after just six months.

What is more, the company are delighted to find that use of the trailers is reducing their carbon footprint by over 400 tonnes per annum – enough carbon to drive a family car two million miles! “Using Department of Energy & Climate Change calculations, that is equivalent to a financial carbon value of around £22,000 a year. Over the ten-year life of the trailers, that equates to over £220,000”, says Chris Clarke, WWU’s Director of Asset Management and HS&E.
Chris goes on to explain that 20% of WWU’s business operating carbon footprint is made up of PE purchase. By using the new high capacity trailers, the company is now cutting pipe wastage by 50% resulting in the substantial reduction in their carbon footprint.


Trailer holds 500 metre coil of 90mm PE

The 90/500 trailers (now Hexi Pipe Coil Trailer), which WWU helped to design, are the first of their type in the UK to transport and dispense 500 metre coils of PE with diameters from 63mm to 90mm.
The company was keen to reduce its pipe wastage from a rate of 20% per year, which is average for the industry. They decided that using coils of PE much longer than the traditional 120m coils would bring about significant savings. Wastage of PE pipe, particularly in the diameters 63mm, 75mm and 90mm, is the result of unused sections of pipe at the end of the coil being discarded as they are not long enough for the next project. Being able to use 500 metre coils has enabled WWU to reduce pipe wastage from 20% to 7%.
Chris continues to talk about WWU’s achievement in reducing PE wastage, “We have seen savings on PE coming from various aspects of using the high capacity trailers. Not only are we wasting less because of the more efficient use of PE over several insertion projects, but also less time is required in butt fusing lengths together for longer pushes. And we are saving time and money by digging less connection pits.”


New ‘one-man operation’ design

The 90/500 trailer (now Hexi Pipe Coil Trailer) is a completely new design from Steve Vick International.  With a hexagonal drum frame, the central drum is moved between the loading, transport and dispensing positions by hydraulics, enabling one operative to carry out these procedures. The method of removing and replacing the drum bars (there are six – two fewer than on previous Steve Vick trailers) in order to load the pipe coil has been simplified and is now also a one-man operation.
Due to the improved central drum configuration, pipe is dispensed quicker, faster and more smoothly and unused pipe is easily re-coiled for use on another project.  As the coil is fully supported by the hexagonal drum, re-coiling is a single-handed process.
With safety paramount, all loading and dispensing procedures are carried out from ground level with this trailer avoiding the need for operatives to climb onto the frame or put their hands within the rotating drum area. Once loaded onto the drum, a 500 metre coil of PE pipe can be easily rotated by hand to allow positioning of the leading edge prior to dispensing.
A central drum brake disc, which is mechanically applied, has been fitted to control the stored energy in the coil and avoid free rotation of the drum during dispensing and re-coiling as well as when loading drum bars.
Despite its large capacity, the Steve Vick 90/500 trailer (now Hexi Pipe Coil Trailer) weighs only 1900kg fully laden enabling it to be towed by a typical transit vehicle. The combination of its light weight and single axel make the trailer highly manoeuvrable.


Trailer finds favour with management and operatives

The new 90/500 trailers are now in use in five WWU depots in Bristol, Exeter, Cheltenham, Treforest and Llandarcy. Paul Breakey, WWU’s Technical Engineering Manager comments on the investment “Overall we are very pleased with the trailers both from management and operations perspectives, and it has been rewarding to see that operatives are really keen to use the trailers because of their benefits – not just because they are told to use them!”
Several other utilities and contractors are currently trialing the 90/500 trailer.