Waterblast System Improves Safety, Productivity

Waterblast System Improves Safety, Productivity
The automated remote manipulator (ARM) from NLB Corp.

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The automated remote manipulator (ARM) from NLB Corp. is a semiautomated waterjet system that enables operation of waterblasting tools from the safety of a climate-controlled cab. Joystick controls allow the operator to stop and start the flow of high-pressure water (up to 40,000 psi at 600 hp). The semiautomated system also produces more consistent results than individual operators with different techniques or skill levels.

“Safety is the main feature,” says Jim Van Dam, marketing and communications manager for NLB Corp. “The operator also is not experiencing any kind of fatigue while operating the tool.”

Applications include shellside tube bundle cleaning and hydrodemolition, especially in restricted areas, such as refineries and chemical plants.

“It can be used to replace any kind of manual hydrodemolition work as long as you can get the tool into the area that requires cleaning,” he says. “There are some companies out there that have stated there will be no manually operated waterjetting processes going on at their plants. Tools like the ARM let contractors still do the work that’s required.”

A quick-change connection enables the ARM to easily change accessories, such as NLB’s Spin Jet and Spin-Nozzle heads.

Based on a Cat 303.5E CR mini hydraulic excavator, the ARM is powered by a Cat C1.8 engine that delivers 31.6 net horsepower. It has a vertical reach of about 12 feet and horizontal reach of about 17 feet with a boom swing of 50 degrees right and 55 degrees left (80 degrees without stop).

“We install all the high-pressure tubing from the connection point to the end of the ARM,” Van Dam says. “We also install a system valve, which allows for the stop and start of the high-pressure water.”

The hydraulic ARM can be installed on an existing excavator, but contractors would need to provide NLB with the make, model and year of the excavator to determine if the machine is a potential fit.

The ARM is the first in a line of automated products from NLB. A smaller unit is designed to fit through doorways.

“It’s one of the new products from NLB that focuses on automation, operator comfort and operator safety,” Van Dam says. “That’s a big push with us and all the waterblast manufacturers right now.” 800/441-5059; www.nlbcorp.com.


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