Keep risk at arm’s length.
For years, contractors have used manual waterjetting to achieve high productivity in a wide range of jobs. Today’s semi-automated systems have multi-application capabilities that not only make them even more versatile, but improve operator safety.
Systems like the ARM (Automated Remote Manipulator) from NLB have articulated arms mounted on commercial excavators, with changeable tooling for each application. They are directed by remote control (or from a cab), allowing operators to keep their distance from the high-pressure water and any flying debris. This exposes the operator to less risk (and fatigue) than holding a lance and makes it easier to comply with OSHA personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements.
Specially-designed tooling, mounted on a boom, gives an operator a wide jet pattern and a long reach (e.g. 12 inches vertical, 17 inches horizontal). The boom and tooling are easily manipulated from the cab, which also has start/stop controls for the high-pressure water. The cab is enclosed for protection while providing visibility of the work area.
In addition to reducing risk and fatigue, the ARM can produce more consistent waterjetting results than several lance operators with varying experience or skill levels. For tight spaces, NLB offers the Mini-ARM, which fits through a 30-inch doorway. Its boom swing is similar to the full-size ARM, but its reach is about 10 feet, and it has no cab. The Mini-ARM is operated by remote control and works with NLB pump units up to 300 hp.
High-pressure waterjetting has changed a lot in the past 50 years and continues to innovate to meet user needs. Semi-automated systems that prioritize operator safety, as well as productivity, not only help contractors improve their versatility, but also their uptime and cost-effectiveness.
NLB Corp. (www.nlbcorp.com), a global leader in high-pressure and ultra-high-pressure waterjet systems, manufactures a full line of quality waterjetting pump units and accessories for contractor and industrial uses. Applications include tube and pipe cleaning, tube bundle cleaning, tank cleaning, product removal, surface preparation, drill pipe cleaning, pavement marking and rubber removal, concrete hydrodemolition, concrete and pipe cutting, and more.