Small-Diameter Lining Solutions With NuFlow Technologies

NuFlow Technologies provides its certified contractors with the training and technology to become pipe lining experts

Small-Diameter Lining Solutions With NuFlow Technologies

Installers prepare NuDrain epoxy liner, a nonpressurized CIPP that uses NuFlow’s Precision PIP placement.

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As the demand for trenchless pipe lining continues to rise, NuFlow Technologies remains dedicated to providing new solutions for pipe rehabilitation.

For more than two decades, NuFlow has focused on small-diameter pipe lining systems that can be used in even the most intricate of piping systems. The company partners with contractors who become licensed to use its technology, providing extensive training in order to build a strong network of certified installers.

Cleaner recently spoke with Tom Bowman, NuFlow director, about the company’s offerings and its unique relationship with its contractors. 

Cleaner: Tell us a little about the history of NuFlow.

Bowman: NuFlow was founded in 1998 based on the need for a trenchless pipe lining solution for small-diameter pipes found in single-family homes. NuFlow developed a targeted installation method using a calibration tube combined with epoxy resins impregnated into felt that would form to the shape of the pipe and cure in place. Once the formula was developed and patented, the company began single-family home installations in addition to selling and teaching the process to other plumbing contractors.

Since then, NuFlow has been leading the way in the rehabilitation of intricate plumbing and piping systems. The business is now located in a 50,000-square-foot ISO 9001:2015 production and distribution facility in Ontario and has headquarter offices and training facilities in San Diego. The NuFlow network has grown to more than 250 NuFlow certified contractors with a presence on six continents. 

Cleaner: What differentiates your lining systems from the competition?

Bowman: Part of what defines our technology is our focus on small-diameter piping. To get “inside the building,” we have developed a foundation of materials and installation methods that allow us to service some of the most intricate piping systems. Precision PIP (push or pull in place) is our signature install method that follows simple principles of installation. It does not require any expensive inversion equipment, but it gives the contractor control over the install for perfect positioning in the pipe. Jobs can start and stop anywhere in the pipe system and use existing access points.

Another key differentiator that sets NuFlow apart is our training and support. The NuFlow team is made of seasoned professionals who bring a wealth of knowledge about the technology and the industry. When we partner with a new contractor, we want to make sure they are prepared. We think training is more than how to the install the product, so we offer Apprentice to Master curriculum, along with job support, business and sales training resources, job quoting materials, a multitude of in-class and online trainings, as well as education materials and large project support. It is a partnership that is always developing — we want our contractors to be successful, both for their benefit and ours.

Cleaner: Tell us about the lining systems, what applications they best serve and the needs they address.

Bowman: We’ve developed and patented many resin formulas over the years, so we can service any type of pipe system — drain, waste and vent systems, industrial waste and high-temperature applications, potable water, chiller, compressed air and gas systems. Our exclusive formulations seal the pipe from the inside to correct any cracks or leaks and provide protection against further damage and corrosion. Our materials and install methods allow for rehabilitation of an entire piping system including wyes and tees. The most common of these is NuDrain, a nonpressurized CIPP that uses our Precision PIP placement. Using this method, we can verify placement with a camera alongside the repair, ensuring a proper installation and quality repair.

Cleaner: What are some recommendations for customers shopping for trenchless pipe repair systems?

Bowman: The first things for a contractor to consider are the technology options. We provide a wide variety of materials and equipment that are specifically tailored for each application. By managing our own manufacturing and distribution facility, we can maintain continuity of our supply chain, which means no overseas shipping delays within North America. We manufacture all our own epoxies, lining materials and certain specialty installation equipment. This allows us to ensure our patented materials are the highest quality, which we back up with a manufacturer’s warranty on all our products. 

But the materials are just the beginning. It is important for a potential contractor to understand there is a learning curve to installing CIPP. Make sure you are with a company that is prepared to support that growth through apprentice, journeyman and master classes, as well as field training and job support. We offer the kind of support that is essential for a business to continue its success long after the first couple of employees are trained.

Cleaner: How does your partnership/licensing program work? Is it a traditional franchise system?

Bowman: We have never used a franchise model. There are no franchise fees or branding requirements. Some of our contractors use the NuFlow name to increase their market awareness, but if someone wants to use the family-name business they have used for the last 50 years, we are all for that.

However, we do run things a bit different than other CIPP suppliers. We license contractors to use our technology. Ultimately NuFlow and our certified contractors are more successful when we maintain high quality standards, so we established a set of parameters for those who want to invest. Once a contractor has passed our initial training, they are certified to continue their journey in the trade. But just as it works in the plumbing industry, you build your skill to a master level over time with help and guidance along the way. At NuFlow, we have been developing a system to build strong pipe-lining tradesmen.

Cleaner: What advice would you give businesses looking into becoming NuFlow installers?

Bowman: Talk to other NuFlow certified contractors. The best way to understand the challenges of the market is to talk to people who are in your industry. Ask a lot of questions: How can adding pipe lining to your business help you gain a competitive edge? How can you differentiate your business from your competitors, give more options to your clients and make more money in the end? What is the best way to get started? Find out about training and the initial buy-in. What support is offered once you are off and running in the field?

Cleaner: How do you see the pipe rehabilitation and repair industry evolving?

Bowman: As the pipe rehabilitation industry grows and the technology continues to evolve, we think there will be more involvement from governing bodies to ensure a higher level of quality control and quality deliverable to property owners. As industry veterans, we think it is important to represent the industry and get involved with governing bodies when necessary.

The recent UPC battle is a perfect example of a potential threat that almost terminated CIPP technology for rehabilitating cast iron pipes. That’s why we think our standards are so important. We want to ensure CIPP technology remains viable and part of the solution for years to come. 

There are many variables that come into play as the CIPP industry matures. Our systems provide a solid base of hands-on knowledge that makes the install process easy to execute in the field. With that foundation, contractors can evolve with the market and continually build on their expertise.

Cleaner: What’s new for NuFlow in 2020? What can customers expect out of NuFlow in the future?

Bowman: We have two exciting new technologies we are introducing this year: NuCure CCUV (cold-cure UV) and Potable CIPP. Both technologies are game changers for CIPP.

For our NuCure CCUV, we partnered with Pro-Kanal to combine its double-helix light core with our new cold-cure UV resins. There are a ton of advantages for NuCure, but the biggest reason why it stands out is that the technology minimizes almost any risk of error. The liners activate in place in as little as 10 minutes and allow the contractor to wet-out on site or offsite. The resin itself has some of the highest heat resistance that the CIPP market has ever seen.

The other new technology we have coming out a little later in the year is Potable CIPP. This technology originated from our first and largest international partner, NuFlow Australasia. Potable CIPP, an extremely versatile, potable-approved lining system, can structurally repair high-pressure water mains in diameters as small as 2 inches, with minimal disruption. A solution like this for small-diameter pipe is a first in the CIPP market. The composite material, in combination with needle-punched geotextiles, creates a hybrid CIPP liner capable of handling high burst pressure and high external loads.

Along with releasing new technology, we will continue offering worldwide technical sales, training support and quality assurance programming. I’m not sure if I have said this enough yet, but proper installation is as important to our brand as the materials, so we put a lot of effort into building our partnerships and preparing them with what they need to succeed.

Cleaner: What do you want your customers to think of when they hear the name NuFlow?

Bowman: We want the NuFlow name to represent a highly capable and proud network of certified contractors. They can trust they are part of an organization that is dedicated to the expansion of the technology applications, as well as proper installation and education, and that’s capable of handling their customer’s ever-growing needs.

There is no one better to team up with in the in-building pipe rehabilitation industry. At NuFlow, we are constantly improving processes and training to ensure our name represents quality and support. 


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