Articles & Case Studies


Posted: Friday 27th May 2011

A brand new technique for replacing lead or damaged domestic water and communication pipes, the Kobus Pipe Puller, is now in use with its first customer Essex & Suffolk Water.

The Kobus Pipe Puller, which replaces lead and copper pipes with MDPE pipe without the need to dig trenches is the new innovative alternative to trenching and thrustboring. It saves money and time for water companies and contractors, minimises disruption for the general public and reduces mess and damage for the property owner.

Essex & Suffolk Water has primarily purchased the unit to undertake its lead replacement programme to meet the new water quality legislation coming into effect in 2013, but is also using the new system on emergency repair projects where traditional techniques would require the whole road to be dug up, increasing traffic congestion, creating further time and money savings.

The Kobus Pipe Puller takes a different approach to removing lead or leaking domestic water pipes by feeding a cable through the pipe to be removed and filling the pipe with special formula Kobite which bonds with the pipe to create a single ‘composite rope’. The cable is then attached to the new MDPE pipe to be pulled through and as the old pipe is pulled out, the new pipe replaces it. The range of calibrated cables and adjustable force of the pulling ensures that the old pipe slides out of the ground and pulling the new pipe to exactly replace the space it has left behind.

Pipes of up to 25m can be replaced with only a small hole dug at either end. In addition, there is no risk to damaging other services in the road because the new pipe exactly replaces the position of the old.

“The Kobus Pipe Puller has already proved to be an excellent addition to our armoury of techniques which causes the least disruption,” said Ian Cleaver, Operations Controller at Essex & Suffolk Water, who has overseen the on-site introduction of the Kobus Pipe Puller. “We can clearly see the possibilities of the new unit to minimise cost and to keep the road open on cross road replacements which keeps the general public happy. Also the crew have quickly come to understand its operation and to feel comfortable using it which is key to the smooth introduction of any new techniques.”

“And when it comes to an emergency repair across a busy road for example we have found the system invaluable. Without the need to dig up the road to avoid all the other services we can quickly and efficiently pull out and replace the damaged pipe without delay or disruption the traffic or the considerable planning and liaison time required with Highways or other bodies being required,” he concluded.

“Essex & Suffolk Water have been very important as they were the first to take step of implementing this innovative technology,” said Kobus Cilliers, the inventor of the Kobus Pipe Puller and owner of a plumbing and drainage company in the West Midlands. “We have learned a great deal from working with them and their team in the field to ensure that the whole system is rugged and effective to withstand the task.”

Read the magazine online

August 2021

About the magazine »
Magazine archive »


Information for advertisers »

Harvey Communications British Water Huber buttonwood marketing Pulsar Button June 13 Cranfield University Water Aid wateractive
Pulsar New Banner