Planned Maintenance (Pennine) Ltd (PMP Utilities) have purchased a Keel Cutter from Steve Vick International (SVI) to help them fulfil a contract with Thames Water which involves cutting a water main 20m underground.
The automatic pipe cutter will be used to cut a redundant 760mm (30 inch) ductile iron, cement lined water pipe with a 20mm wall thickness. The pipe is located in a 40m long tunnel with access via a 20 metre vertical drop.
Due to the challenging location, SVI supplied an exceptionally long 50 metres of hose to connect the Keel Cutter to the hydraulic power pack which was sited at ground level. In this way, any fumes from the 20 litre power pack are at a safe distance from the working area. After consultation between the two companies, it was decided to replace the standard ⅜” diameter hoses with ½” hoses due to the distance involved to avoid loss of power.
Steve Taylor, Joint Managing Director of PMP Utilities, says, “The business has used various types of cutters before but we needed something with high levels of efficiency whilst working at distance on this project and a machine that was operable with many site access restrictions, including height. The remote power pack and the semi-autonomous operation made the SVI Keel Cutter are ideal, Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) free choice for this job.
“The Keel cutter did not hesitate in doing exactly what we needed it to do”, continued Steve. “We are now searching for a job to test the cutter even more. We are sure we could, with a little fettling on the return side, reach operating depths of 35 metres.”
SVI is the exclusive worldwide supplier of Keel Cutters – machines that automatically cut steel, cast iron, ductile iron, plastic, asbestos and concrete pipes. There are two models in the range; the N450 cuts pipes from 200 to 900mm in diameter and the larger N600 model cuts and bevels pipes from 250mm diameter up to 1600mm.
The hydraulically powered cutter automatically tracks around the pipe with a fast cutting time of up to140 mm per minute (depending on model and material). Only 200mm (N450) to 250mm (N600) clearance is required around the pipe meaning that excavation can be kept to a minimum. The cutter even works in water if required.
Keel cutters are lightweight and easy to operate and are available to purchase from SVI; alternatively, the company’s Contract Service teams carry out cutting operations throughout the UK.
Based in Burnley, Lancashire, PMP Utilities provides bespoke engineering solutions in high-risk confined spaces in the utilities, civil engineering, power generation and process sectors. The company has worked for other water companies including Yorkshire Water, Welsh Water, United Utilities and Severn Trent.