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Day 2: New Rehabilitation Technologies
Not all new innovations were coming in the water side of the business. Arkema’s Rilsan offers the first plastic pipe approved by the Department of Transportation, and the company is aiming it at steel natural gas mains in need of rehabilitation. After 14 years of development, the pipe can withstand 200 PSI at diameters up to four inches, needs no corrosion-resistant coatings, resists both temperature and abrasion, and offers a 25% savings over steel insulation. After approval in December 2008, the pipe has just been deployed on a 6000-foot project in Texas, with a 56,000-foot project waiting in the wings and several large utilities interested.
The Cosmic TopHat CS100 Navigator Lateral Cutter, on the other hand, is so new that there is only one unit currently in the United States. Scheduled for a debut at the Rehab Zone this afternoon, the little lateral cutter instead went to Phoenix on New Year’s Eve for a rescue mission: a liner on a main line into a casino collapsed, requiring an emergency intervention that included four to six feet of liner cut out and three hours of operation for the navigator, which uses a 2HP electric motor and can fit into pipe as small as 3.5 inches in diameter. The untrained operator damaged the prototype, however, and although New Year’s Eve was saved the demonstration was called off.
Though not strictly rehab, ICS Blount’s Power Grit Utility Saw Chain is faring well at the exhibition, and seems to be attracting attention from contractors of all stripes. The diamond-coated saw chain is designed to fit on a regular chain saw, either hydraulic or gas-powered, and can cut through ductile iron, cast iron, PVC, HDPE and, with some modifications, concrete pipe. The saw increases operator safety and vastly increases the ease and speed of the operation, since it needs only to get to shovel depth before it can cut pipe.
With more new technology waiting to be uncovered tomorrow, the rehabilitation of America’s infrastructure is definitely looking up at UCT.