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Posted: Wednesday 14th March 2012

Steve Vick International has added a Mini Pipe Handler to the company’s Pipe Handler range. The tool, which is currently being trialled by National Grid and by SGN in Scotland, attaches to a mini excavator enabling small diameter PE pipe, up to 125mm in diameter, to be inserted quickly and safely.

The unique ‘J-shape’ design of the jaw allows the pipe to be side-loaded, eliminating the need for operatives to work in the trench. Pipe manoeuvring and insertion operations are controlled entirely from the safety of the cab.

The lightweight tool attaches to a typical 1.5 to 3 tonne hydraulic excavator fitted with 25mm or 30mm bucket pins.The PE is side-loaded into the fixed J-shape lower jaw where it is cradled until the hydraulic upper jaw clamps the pipe. A one-stage set up is all that is required for the entire insertion process.

Using the hydraulic power of the excavator, the operative inserts the PE into the host pipe by alternatively gripping and pushing the pipe using controls in the cab. Typical insertion speeds of up to 10 metres per minute are possible. The Mini Handler is suitable for both single or dual fed excavators.

A full range of shell inserts is available to accommodate pipe diameters down to 55mm. Shell inserts from Steve Vick International’s pushing machine range may also be used in the Mini Pipe Handler.

Avoids the need to enter the trench

“The side loading jaw means that the Mini Pipe Handler entirely avoids the need for operatives to work in the trench,” says Crock Harrison, Managing Director of Steve Vick International, “which is always a safety issue. And being able to set up the entire insertion operation in one-stage means it’s fast too.”

The J-shaped jaw allows a constant pipe depth to be maintained to aid insertion and needs only 35mm ground clearance, minimising the depth of the trench required. An optional 360° swivel head provides the operator with maximum manoeuvrability when positioning and inserting the pipe whilst the clamp design prevents damage to the surface of the PE and minimises slippage in wet weather.

At 31kg, the Mini Pipe Handler is lightweight to avoid lifting problems on site. Compared with inserting PE using a sling on the excavator, it offers an efficient, controlled pushing force which can be reversed if necessary.

Steve Vick International also produces Pipe Handlers for larger excavators designed to manoeuvre and insert pipes up to 630mm in diameter.

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