Growing Wiser

April 3, 2018
Efficient equipment aids English main installation

Boston—a town and small port in the county of Lincolnshire, England—nearly doubled its population from 2001 to 2011, and the explosive growth is expected to continue. Because of this, private water company Anglian Water is installing the infrastructure to support the future of the town.

The new source of water for Boston is 63 km away at Covenham Reservoir. The 200-acre reservoir is expected to provide 26 million L 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 project

The £40 million project is a two-phase project, with the first phase consisting of the first 40 km 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 project began in spring of 2012. The second phase that constructs the last 20-plus km of pipe with Boston will occur in 2013.

The solution

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-in. IPS to 36-in. outer diameter (340 mm to 900 mm). To fuse the 560-mm 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 reround it 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 in. laterally and 34 in. 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 results

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

“Over the next 20 years, I really think there’s going to be a lot of pipes like this going in,” said Young.

About the Author

Tyler Henning

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