Sluggish Pipeline Inspections Are a Thing of the Past

These cameras help an Ohio contractor increase productivity, eliminate downtime and deliver fast results for customers.
Sluggish Pipeline Inspections Are a Thing of the Past
Lake County Sewer in Willowick, Ohio, relies on three camera/grouting trucks built out by Aries Industries. The trucks have provided a big boost in efficiency.

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When Rick Marucci invests in equipment for Lake County Sewer Co. Inc., the trenchless sewer rehabilitation firm he founded in 1980, he keeps a simple formula in mind: Greater productivity equals greater profitability.

That explains why the Willowick, Ohio-based company now owns three camera/grouting trucks built out by Aries Industries Inc., plus two other standard camera-televising trucks and 10 Aries pipeline inspection camera systems.

Marucci says reliability is a key factor in his buying decisions. While it’s a given that camera systems take a beating every day and breakdowns occur at times, Marucci lauds the Aries cameras for their ease of maintenance and repair.

“We own every camera that Aries makes,” says Marucci, the company’s owner and chief executive officer. “We work all over the country, so we have duplicates and sometimes triplicates of every camera, just in case they break down.

“Aries makes great equipment,” he continues. “It’s operator-friendly – easy to hook up, easy to insert into a sewer system and easy to break down. It’s easy to maintain, easy to repair in the field. Our labor and our equipment are our two biggest expenses, and if we have breakdowns, we have zero productivity. With Aries, we seldom send anything in for repairs – we can usually do them right here.”

The camera trucks feature International chassis with box bodies made by Morgan Corp. and US Truck Body. The company relies on grouting systems made by Logiball Inc. to seal connections between mainline sewers and laterals, or to seal leaking manholes and mainlines.

Good equipment doesn’t come cheaply. Marucci says a bare-bones Aries camera-televising truck costs about $200,000, and the last fully equipped camera/grouting truck the company purchased in 2011 cost around $450,000. But he says the company gets a return on its investment in the form of improved productivity.

“I’d say that in general, our new equipment ups production about 20 percent compared to what it was 10 years ago,” Marucci says. “Plus, the newer trucks get better fuel economy, too.”

Take the Lateral Evaluation Televising System (LETS) found inside the company’s newest truck, for example. It uses a Seeker push camera, mounted on a fiberglass-core push rod, to inspect 3-, 4- and 6-inch-diameter lateral connections up to 150 feet from a main sewer line. More important, it enables crews to avoid time-consuming and inconvenient inspections from a residential basement or yard clean-out.

“We used to have to go from the house and push it through the clean-out, or dig out a clean-out in the yard and go toward the main,” Marucci explains. “Now we just go from the mainline and we don’t have to bother anyone. It saves us hours on every job.”

The LETS system – which is available on either crawlers or wheels – can also inspect mainline sewers. Its efficiency enables crews to inspect more linear feet per day; on a good day, a crew might inspect 1,200 to 1,500 feet of sewer line, Marucci says.

“Crawler cameras are better than they were 10 years ago because they can go farther,” he notes. “Around 10 years ago, we could do 500 feet of inspections at a time. Now we can go 1,000 feet. So instead of breaking the truck down and doing mainline inspections manhole by manhole, now we’re capable of doing multiple manhole runs at the same time. It basically takes a 12-hour day and shrinks it to a 10-hour day.”

Marucci also likes the ease and speed with which crews can provide customers with inspection reports. At the end of a work day, a technician can print out a report and give it to a customer on the spot, or put it on a thumb drive or a CD/DVD.

“Plus, all our trucks have wireless Internet on them, so we can transfer info right to the client that way, too,” he says. “The speed of getting reports to clients is tenfold easier than it was 10 years ago. Customers love that convenience.”


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