Pipe Bursting Opens Up New Market For Plumber

Pennsylvania’s Pronto Plumbing has found a lot of success using RODDIE bursting equipment to incorporate the service alongside its other work

Pipe Bursting Opens Up New Market For Plumber

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In an effort to generate a new revenue stream, Pronto Plumbing in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, decided to enter the market for trenchless pipeline rehabilitation about five years ago. So far, so good — thanks to R8 pipe bursting systems manufactured by RODDIE.

At first, an under-performing pipe bursting system prevented the business from making headway as fast as co-owner John Gribble would have liked. But the RODDIE R8 units changed all that, bringing more efficiency, productivity and power to each project.

“Those RODDIEs make our company a lot of money,” he says. “They gave us a big productivity boost and about a 200% increase in revenue. We plan on buying another one soon.”

Technicians can both set up and break down the hydraulically powered R8s about an hour faster, which saves roughly two hours per job.

“Time is money,” Gribble says.

Furthermore, the units are significantly lighter; the system breaks down into two 70-pound components, making it easier to carry. And its compact size means a smaller trench footprint, plus it can be set up vertically or horizontally, which provides greater flexibility when using it in cramped quarters, Gribble says. While it may be compact, the R8 still generates plenty of muscle: 30 tons of pulling force at 3,000 psi.

The company bought a Hydra Control accessory that provides better control while pulling the bursting head.

“You don’t want to over-pull your pipe and end up lodging the bursting head in the machine,” Gribble says. “The Hydra Control also allows you to stop a pull quickly when you hit a snag and the cable starts to bind.”

In addition, the R8’s swiveling bursting head allows it to easily travel through 45- and 22-degree bends in pipes, he says.

The RODDIE system proved its value about one year ago during a very difficult job performed under challenging conditions: a 300-foot-long pull under eight attached rowhouses. At issue was a completely collapsed 6-inch terra cotta sewer line under the rowhouses, which turned the area under the homes into a giant cesspool, Gribble says. 

“It was painful. The line was completely gone, so it was nasty.”

Each end of the bursting job also included two 45-degree bends followed by a 90-foot-long run to the mainline. Pronto technicians had to jackhammer through the tops of the footings on the end of each home — nine footings in all — to create holes large enough for the RODDIE bursting head to fit through. The jackhammering was done through the floors of the homes, he says.

“It was the only way to fix it without tearing down the homes.”

The job was completed in four days and Gribble says the R8 made all the difference between success and failure.


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