Steve Vick International showcase THREE new technologies at No-Dig

September 29, 2016

The 13th biennial trenchless technology exhibition, No-DIG LIVE, took place last week at Peterborough arena. The event attracted over 100 companies from the UK and abroad all showcasing different products and services.

Steve Vick International has been exhibiting at the event for over 20 years and following the successes of previous shows’, they saw the 2016 event as an opportunity to launch its latest new developments – The Rapid Cracker and the Enhanced S.E.A.L. technique. Also showcased was the Digital Pressure Tester (now SMARTester™), a current NIA development project with Wales & West Utilities.


Breaking out redundant or inserted cast iron mains has always been a risky business as operators have had no choice but to use a variety of hand-held tools, which are labour intensive and potentially unsafe.

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 Rapid Cracker (now CRACKERJACK™) , a manually operated mains cracker that combines performance and easy handling with low cost.

The major difference between the Rapid Cracker (now CRACKERJACK™) and other mechanised crackers on the market is its power source. Instead of being battery operated, the Rapid Cracker 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 Rapid Cracker (now CRACKERJACK™). By rotating and moving the Rapid Cracker 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.




In collaboration with Wales & West utilities, Steve Vick International is developing a digital hand held unit for pressure testing gas services. The wireless device talks directly to a mobile phone using wireless technology, whilst a custom built app records all the data straight back to the control centre. The Digital Pressure Tester (now SMARTester™) is in the final stages of development and will be available in 2017.


Steve Vick International and Northern Gas Networks have combined forces to develop an innovative new method of reducing disruption in the street. The technique allows 100% of Tier 1 gas mains, including the last joint, to be sealed and abandoned.

Richie Read, NGN Programme Manager said that ‘By adopting the technique NGN anticipate a saving of £4m in the current RIIO period’. Similar savings could be experienced by all the GDN’s.
Enhanced S.E.A.L. will contribute to providing a safe and efficient gas network for the future; with fewer gas leaks and less disruptions for customers.