Getting It Done

For tough industrial cleaning, Guzzler Liquid Ring vac truck brings the brawn — and opens up new markets for South Carolina contractor.

Getting It Done

A Guzzler Liquid Ring vacuum truck, owned by JRP Co. of Enoree, South Carolina, vacuums out a silicone mixing tank at a chemical plant in South Carolina.

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When JRP Co. was founded last year, management set out to establish the business around a vacuum truck that could service a wide range of markets and customers. The solution: A Guzzler Liquid Ring ACE industrial vacuum truck built by Vactor.

From liquid vac work like vacuuming sludge from wastewater ponds to dry vac work such as cleaning out tanks, the Guzzler Liquid Ring checks off several boxes, such as versatility and power. Moreover, the liquid-ring pump technology enables the company to safely clean reactors in polymer plants that would be riskier to clean with a conventional vacuum truck equipped with a blower, says Josh Wood, project manager for the company, based in Enoree, South Carolina.

The unit features an 18-cubic-yard debris tank, two Kaiser liquid-ring pumps (3,640 cfm combined), two 200-gallon water tanks, a 24-foot-long boom, a four-stage filtration system, a rear-mounted sludge pump, and remote-control capability.

The ability to safely serve polymer-manufacturing plant customers was a big factor in the company’s decision. “When you mix polymers, some of the raw materials are flammable,” Wood explains. “When we clean reactors (processing tanks/systems), there’s residual raw materials left, and if you pull those through a hot blower, you run the risk of an explosion.

“When we started the buying process, we more or less played with a few different vac trucks to feel things out before we purchased one because it’s such a big investment,” he adds. “And we chose the Guzzler Liquid Ring truck because it can do wet and dry vacuuming — just about anything a standard industrial air mover can do, plus the added flexibility of being able to do flammable materials safer than we could with a standard air mover.”

Productivity improvements

JRP (named after owner James R. Patterson) has seven employees and covers the state of South Carolina. The business also owns a hydro blaster (20,000 psi at 25 gpm) made by Jetstream with a conversion unit (40,000 psi at 12 gpm). The hydro blaster and Guzzler units are used together on some applications, such as cleaning industrial tanks, Wood points out.

The unit’s 24-foot boom is a productivity enhancer. “We rented an air handler once that had a boom, and it totally spoiled us,” Wood notes. “Someone doesn’t have to get up on the tailgate platform to hook up the hose to the rear inlet valve, which is nice because that’s a lot of weight.” In addition, when the company cleans wastewater pits at plants, employees can use the boom without any hose, depending on the depth of the pits. “We just add a couple of tubes to it, if necessary,” he says. “It’s much easier than handling a couple hundred pounds of hose in a deep pit.”

The optional sludge pump also is a productivity game-changer. For example, the company used to clean wastewater ponds at plants and factories by renting a long-reach excavator to dig out sludge, then hiring a hauler to transport the sludge with dump trucks. Furthermore, it required six or seven JRP employees on site. “It was expensive and labor-intensive,” Wood says.

But now the Guzzler sucks out the sludge, which Wood compares to the consistency of oatmeal. Then the operator uses the sludge pump to off-load the sludge on site into dewatering bags. “We’re effectively using the truck as a transfer station,” he explains. After the sludge dries, the bags are taken away for disposal in a landfill — no excavators or dump trucks required.

“It streamlines the whole process,” he points out. “What used to be a six- or seven-man job now is a three-man job. The beauty of that is it frees up labor for us to tackle other jobs. And the jobs (cleaning wastewater pits) are more profitable because we’re not spending a boatload on labor, subbing out trucks and so forth.”

Quietly efficient

The liquid-ring pumps, which require no lubrication and are virtually maintenance- and wear-free, also improve efficiency because they maintain vacuum when submerged. “You can put the hose in a pond all day and it never hiccups — just sink it and forget it,” Woods says. “One basin we clean out a few times a year holds 350,000 gallons and another one holds 1.4 million gallons, so the ability to maintain vacuum power while submerged is a big advantage.”

In addition, the liquid-ring pumps are 10 to 15 dBA quieter than a conventional positive displacement rotary blower. That makes a big difference for employees because they don’t have to shout at each other to communicate; customers also like it because the truck can be used in heavily populated areas without disturbing residents.

Purchased in spring after a successful demonstration that impressed JRP management, the Guzzler cost about $440,000. So far, it’s been a solid investment, Wood says. “It allows us to bid on jobs we couldn’t otherwise do,” he notes. “It provides us with a big selling point and gives us much more flexibility, so we’re not always stuck in the same market. And it brings down the cost of our projects, which makes us more profitable by a long shot.”


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