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Efficient McElroy Equipment Aids English Main Installation

by Tyler Henning

Boston, a town and small port in the county of Lincolnshire, has nearly doubled its population between 2001 and 2011, with the explosive growth expected to continue. Because of the growth, private water company Anglian Water is putting in the infrastructure to support the future of Boston.

The new source of water for Boston is 63 kilometers away at Covenham Reservoir. The 200-acre reservoir is expected to provide 26 million liters of water per day to Boston upon completion, while still being a supply feed for several other small towns and villages in the area.

The £40 million project is a two-phase project with the first phase consisting of the first 40 kilometers of the project, from Covenham Reservoir to Miningsby. Twelve work compounds were established, often in farmland, to create work sites for fusing and pulling pipe into place. As with many projects in the United Kingdom, the pipeline was fused and then rolled into an open trench where possible.

The biggest benefit for us is not double-handling the pipe

Andrew Young

The project began in spring of 2012. The second phase that constructs the last 20-plus kilometers of pipe with Boston will occur in 2013.

In mid-June of 2012, construction lead JN Bentley's Compound 5 and Compound 6 were both fully stocked with McElroy Automated TracStar® 900s and MegaMc® PolyHorses®. Together, the equipment helped to make the compounds organized and efficient. The equipment was provided by McElroy UK Distributor Plant & Site Services.

"We're trying to do as much of this project as possible with butt fusion," said Andrew Young, project manager for JN Bentley. "The majority of the project will be open trench, with a few crossings directionally drilled."

The TracStar 900 is a track-mounted, self-contained, and self-propelled fusion machine capable of fusing pipes from 12-inch IPS to 36-inch outer diameter (340mm - 900mm). To fuse the 560mm pipe on site, inserts were placed within the jaws of the machine to bring the inner circumference of the jaws down to the 560 pipe size. This helps grab the pipe tightly and re-round the pipe for a better fusion process.

An Automated TracStar 900 offers the same features as a traditional TracStar 900, but also includes special equipment to control and monitor the heat, soak, fuse and cool cycles. The unit also features built-in datalogging that keeps a record of each fusion joint, which allows you to verify joint integrity. Automated fusion machines are often required on UK job sites.

To hold the truckloads of pipe and more efficiently put the pipe into the fusion machine, JN Bentley consulted with Plant & Site Services to get the new MegaMc PolyHorses on site.

"The biggest benefit for us is not double-handling the pipe," said Young. "Also, it's easier to get the pipe alignment right with the machine."

The pipe-handling system consists of a series of pipe racks and powered pipe stands that work together and allow a single operator to dispense pipe into the integrated pipe stands. From there, the operator can move the pipe stands up to 24 inches laterally and 34 inches vertically to better align the pipe and maneuver it into the fusion machine. Typically, the MegaMc PolyHorse frees up heavy machinery to be used elsewhere on a jobsite.

The tandem of the MegaMc PolyHorses and TracStar 900s began producing more welds per day than was scheduled. With the 560mm SDR 13.6 pipe, pipe technicians were achieving 10 welds per day, along with two dummy welds that were required. Engineers planned for 8 welds on days where fusion crews were dedicated to the butt fusion process.

Along with the story we brought you last month, it appears that polyethylene is going in the ground for water use all over the United Kingdom. The use doesn't look to be slowing down anytime either.

"Over the next 20 years, I really think there's going to be a lot of pipes like this going in," stated Young.

The Boston water project was on schedule and on budget at last check.

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