NuCure System Gives Contractor More Control Over Pipe Lining Jobs

User-friendly pipe lining system allows for better quality control while reducing cure time and manpower

NuCure System Gives Contractor More Control Over Pipe Lining Jobs

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When Pipe Restoration Solutions tackles a pipe lining project, speed is of the utmost importance.

“We do a lot of work at hospitals and health care, industrial and food-manufacturing facilities, where it’s critically important to minimize shutdown times,” says Frank Rucco, a project manager at the Sarasota, Florida-based company. “We need to get in and out of these facilities as quickly as possible.”

To accomplish this, the company invested approximately $56,000 about a year ago in a NuCure pipe lining system from NuFlow Technologies. Designed to rehab pipes 3 to 6 inches in diameter, the system features two primary technologies — a cold-cure resin and a “light rope” — that significantly reduce liner curing times, he says.

“It used to take three to five hours for liners to cure at ambient temperatures,” Rucco says. “But with the NuCure system, the cure time is about 10 minutes. That allows us to get into places, do the work that needs to be done and get our customers back into service quickly, with minimal disruption to their operations.”

Moreover, the cold-cure system isn’t affected by high or low ambient temperatures, so there’s no need to adjust the resin mixture or the curing schedule for varying environmental conditions.

Furthermore, after liners are wetted out there’s usually a limited “pot life” — the amount of working time installers have to get the liner in place before the resin starts to set up and becomes unmanageable. But with the NuCure system, there’s virtually unrestricted pot life. That’s because curing doesn’t start until the light rope inside it is activated; this allows for better quality control, Rucco says.

“When you’re using a two-part epoxy to wet-out the liner, you’re always rushing around, trying to beat the clock. But with the NuCure system, installers can work calmly and deliberately because until you turn on those ultraviolet LED lights, no curing occurs,” Rucco says. “That gives our crew plenty of time to be sure the liner is exactly where it needs to be before it starts to cure.”

Another bonus: Instead of sending out a four-person crew to a job site to ensure the liner can be installed within the limited working time, Pipe Restoration Solutions can deploy only two workers. That allows the company to bid on jobs more competitively and save customers money through reduced labor costs.

Here’s a quick, simplified summary of how the NuCure system works: After the liner is wetted out (either ahead of time or on the job site), it’s either pushed or pulled into the host pipe, utilizing various pull/push points — clean-outs, manholes, vent stacks — to maneuver it into place.

Then the crew uses an air compressor to inflate a bladder inside the liner, which forces the liner to conform to the walls of the host pipe. After that, the light rope is illuminated and the resins start to cure. After the curing process is complete, the bladder is extracted from the pipe.

A plastic sheath around the light rope prevents it from adhering to the liner during the curing process. An internal timer and control system automatically deactivates the lights when curing is complete, at which time the light rope is removed, leaving behind a newly lined pipe, Rucco says.

Another benefit: The liner can withstand higher temperatures than some other liners, he says.

“No other liner we’ve ever used could tolerate high temperatures. So that opened up a new market for us because we now can bid on jobs we couldn’t bid on before.”

This temperature tolerance came in handy last year at an Ohio brewery. Because of the extreme temperature fluctuations in brewing processes, about 600 feet of 6-inch-diameter PVC pipes had developed cracks and was failing. About 10 lateral wye-fittings also were affected, Rucco says.

The work was performed during timed shutdowns, so there was little margin for error.

“It took us about six 12-hour days to complete the job. It would’ve taken us two to three weeks if we were using other types of liners. I would say that on average, we can do pipe lining jobs about 50% faster.”

NuFlow also has developed various liners specifically designed to cover fittings at branch connections (wyes, tees and so forth). Those liners get installed first, then the mainline liner is installed in sections that meet against the front and the back sides of the fitting liners; that eliminates the need for reinstating the mainline and provides full protection for the fittings, Rucco says.

“This system worked great at the brewery because the liner was compatible with high temperatures and the network of pipes with failed fittings was so intricate.”

Rucco says the NuCure system, along with a $15,000 companion NuCure system designed to line pipes as small as 2 inches in diameter, has been an excellent investment.

“It paid for itself pretty quickly, primarily through reduced labor costs,” he says. “And the risk factor on jobs dropped substantially because we have more control over the curing process. The bottom line is we’re doing two or three jobs in the same time that it used to take us to do one job. And getting in and out of jobs faster also gives us a bidding advantage. In the end, we’re capturing more revenue. It’s been a game-changing technology for us.” 



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