Articles & Case Studies

National Grid Gas get their claws on the New Pipe Hander

Posted: Monday 18th October 2010

Over 2000 metres of large diameter gas mains have been renewed using the new Steve Vick Pipe Handler in Attercliffe Road, a busy two way street in Sheffield. During the development stages with National Grid, they used the Live Mains Insertion technique to insert the pipe, ensuring customers and business owners experience minimal disruption during the operation.

The Pipe Handler

Steve Vick International recently launched The Pipe Handler as a safer alternative to winching or using an excavator bucket and sling to insert pipe. The device attaches to an excavator offering a new, efficient, safe way to pick up and manoeuvre PE pipe on site. At the same time, The Pipe Handler is capable of inserting long lengths of PE pipe into a host pipe making it a highly flexible and effective tool in pipe replacement operations. It is also safer, avoiding the need for operatives to work in the trench.

The Pipe Handler is attached to the quick hitch or bucket pins of the excavator. The operator is then able, from the safety of the cab, to grip the PE, position it in the excavation and insert the pipe in one straightforward, efficient operation.

A joint venture with National Grid Gas, the Pipe Handler has undergone extensive field trials across the network, and following successful results a total of 8 units have been allocated across the alliances and coalitions.

LMI job inSheffield

In Sheffield a new 315mm PE pipe was inserted into an existing 18”/20” low pressure cast iron main, using the Pipe Handler to push 1000 metres on each side of the road at record pace. With over 100 businesses being supplied by the gas main it was crucial for the replacement operation to be carried out with minimal disruption in gas supply, as well as maintaining access into establishments. Only a single excavation was required for the Pipe Handler to insert the 315mm pipe. The major safety benefit of Live Mains Insertion is that fewer excavations in roads and footpaths need to be left open for long periods, minimising the hazards for road users and pedestrians.

Live Mains Insertion

Live Mains Insertion is similar to normal insertion of PE pipe into an old cast iron main with one beneficial difference: by using a special gland box, the old main is kept live throughout the insertion process and the new PE is gassed up to maintain gas supplies to customers. Once insertion is complete, the main is still kept live to supply customers via the annular space until it is operationally convenient to transfer the services to the new main.

The single excavation was used to insert the new 315mm pipe in both directions of the street. Steve Vick Lyontec Gland Boxes were fitted on either side of the abandoned cast iron main in allowance for the entire process to be completed gas free.

Steve Bloomer, Network Officer of National Grid Gas, summarised the benefits of using the Pipe Handler “Being able to carry out the insertion without the need for operatives working in the excavation ensured that the project could be carried out in a safe and efficient manor”

Steve Vick International Special Contracting Service

Once the 2000 metres of pipe had successfully been inserted, a member of the Steve Vick International Special Contracting department carried out a flow stopping operation.

Steve Vick International supplied all hardware and equipment required to carry out Live Mains Insertion in Sheffield, including the new Pipe Handler.

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