Drain Cleaning and Inspection Tools From RIDGID are Built to Deliver

RIDGID tools are created with the professional in mind and stand the test of time

Drain Cleaning and Inspection Tools From RIDGID are Built to Deliver

 RIDGID knows that when it comes to drain cleaning, driving productivity is critical. The K9-102 FlexShaft drain cleaning machine quickly and efficiently works to clear 1 1/4- to 4-inch residential and commercial pipes up to 70 feet.

Interested in Cleaning?

Get Cleaning articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Cleaning + Get Alerts

Productivity is always top of mind for service contractors. And the tools they use need to be reliable and durable to stand up to whatever a tough job throws at them.

RIDGID is a company that has been delivering dependable tools for nearly 100 years. From its first pipe wrench in 1923 to its FlexShaft technology in 2019, RIDGID maintains its commitment to solving problems in the field by creating tools that are a complete solution.

Wyatt Kilmartin, RIDGID’s vice president of underground technologies, has worked with RIDGID for 15-plus years and served many different roles. Kilmartin joined Emerson in 2003 and shortly after started with RIDGID in brand marketing. After several years in Asia working in business development, about three years ago he came back to the states to run the Underground Technologies division, including drain cleaning, locating and inspection.

Cleaner recently spoke with Kilmartin about RIDGID’s history, its innovation and development of drain cleaning tools, and where the company is headed.

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

Kilmartin: I love the story of our founding because it reinforces our commitment to the professional trades. In the 1920s, it was a challenge to find a reliable tool to make or loosen tough pipe connections, as the wrenches of that era often broke or slipped off the pipe under heavy load. In 1923, our company launched its first product, the RIDGID pipe wrench, to solve this issue. It was built to solve the durability issues of prior products and it’s a product that is still used today.

Nearly 100 years later, we’re a leading manufacturer of dependable, rugged tools trusted around the world. More important, we still believe in the idea of field-driven innovation. Our tools are developed and tested on job sites, purpose-built to deliver a better way to work. Our customers know that RIDGID tools stand up to the toughest challenges.

Cleaner: What differentiates your drain cleaning equipment and tools from the competition?

Kilmartin: Visibility, flexibility and durability. Durability is so critically important ­— you’ve got to be able to drag drain cleaning and inspection equipment out of a truck, down the stairs or up a ladder, and pull them out of lines again and again. Not only are our machines designed to handle these rugged conditions but the technology we build into the machines is also just as durable.

For example, we launched our cameras with TruSense technology in 2019, adding clearer imaging and more data capabilities to the RIDGID SeeSnake. With TruSense, you get two big benefits. The first is high dynamic range for a better image. Contractors can see a greater level of detail in a picture that’s crystal clear and vibrant. The second is our TiltSense technology. It identifies gradual camera head pitch changes that are difficult to identify with the naked eye and gives the contractor the best chance at a proper diagnosis of the problem.

Our solutions are also built with flexibility and ease of use in mind. Our SeeSnake CSx Via provides a convenient means to stream, capture and share inspection images and has multi-reel compatibility. Our CS12x Digital Reporting Monitor is also designed to help users work smarter. It has dual battery power for maximum runtime on the job site and a large 12.1-inch display with 1024x768 resolution for crisp, clear and readable images even in heavy daylight.

Cleaner: What sort of needs do they address? Tell us about some of the drain machines and what applications they best serve.  

Kilmartin: When it comes to drain cleaning, driving productivity is critical. Locating an issue, cleaning it without multiple trips back to the truck, and being able to carry less equipment are big wins. That is where RIDGID FlexShaft drain machines shine. They feature an enclosed cable so our RIDGID SeeSnake cameras are able to go into the pipe simultaneously. You can put your camera down next to the chain knocker so you can see what you’re doing. It saves you time since you can do it all in one trip.

Our K-5208 sectional machine is also designed to enhance efficiency. It features infield clutch serviceability to minimize downtime, an enclosed cable carrier and cable feeder for faster cleanup, and an optional transport cart for easier job site maneuvering and storage.  

Cleaner: You seem to be always coming out with new equipment. The FlexShaft machines come to mind. What’s the philosophy behind development and innovation at RIDGID?

Kilmartin: The response to our initial launch of RIDGID FlexShaft drain cleaning machines at WWETT 2019 was phenomenal, and in 2020 we expanded our FlexShaft line to address a request we heard often from our customers: the need for a machine that reached 125 feet. The K9-306 clears up to 125 feet in 3- to 6-inch pipes, making it ideal for large-scale commercial and residential jobs.

When developing new products, we always ask ourselves: what are some of the issues cleaners are dealing with in the field? How can we make things better or more productive for them? The RIDGID portfolio of drain cleaning and inspection tools provides a strong breadth and depth of products to meet the toughest job site challenges. We’re always excited to share these products firsthand at WWETT. At RIDGID we really value the people who use our products. Their feedback is essential in developing new products that are then rigorously tested by both our engineers and end users in the field.

Cleaner: What are some recommendations for customers shopping for drain cleaning equipment and tools?

Kilmartin: When it comes to drain cleaning, snakes and water jetters each have their place depending on the type of blockage. Advances in drain cleaning machines have made enclosed cables more common, like the durable nylon sheath that covers the cable in our RIDGID FlexShaft machines. Features like this help to contain messes and keep them off the job site floor; the cable can be easily wiped clean as it’s pulled from the line. And while FlexShaft is ideal for clearing scale, grease, sludge, tree roots and soft blockages, jetters, drum and sectional machines are better suited to other types of blockages.

When it comes to locating equipment, the key to successfully locating lines is accuracy, reliability, visibility and trust in the machine’s technology. Locating options continue to improve. For example, some locators can be paired with apps on smart devices to overlay water and other utility lines on a Google map. This mapping can be saved for future reference. Advancements like these will continue to improve job site safety, productivity and accuracy.

When considering cameras, durability is often the first factor. It’s a harsh environment inside a pipe. However, once you are in the pipe it is important to get the best image for proper diagnosis of the problem. Features such as high dynamic range can balance the lighting to reduce dark and bright spots. A longer cable is also helpful to both go on farther runs and reterminate the cable if it happens to get kinked. Different cameras come with different cable stiffness. That matters a lot when going on longer straight runs or pushing through multiple bends.

When choosing a monitor you should generally look at durability, data storage, screen size or no screen at all when using a Wi-Fi-enabled camera controller. All RIDGID monitors and the CSx Via have the ability to stream directly to a device using the free HQx Live app. Contractors have many choices in how they produce, share and store their data.

Cleaner: The past two years have been different for many contractors and manufacturers. How have things changed for RIDGID?

Kilmartin: This was a challenging time for everyone — but this year’s challenges highlighted how much our customers’ work matters to their communities.

As a manufacturer we looked for new ways to support the efforts of our customers and launched JobSite Live, a virtual event series designed to put RIDGID experts in front of our customers using social media channels and live broadcasts. Viewers could ask questions and get immediate feedback. This new platform allowed us to create a feeling of community in a virtual space. It’s a powerful way for us to have meaningful conversations with customers, giving them the educational resources and expertise they rely on from RIDGID. We missed being on the job site with our customers during the height of the pandemic, but our team did a great job adjusting. 

Cleaner: What’s new for RIDGID in 2022?

Kilmartin: We are very excited to get back out in the world in 2022. One of the events we always circle on the calendar is WWETT in Indianapolis. It is a great pulse on the entire industry. As always, we will have some exciting new product launches in multiple categories, including our smaller camera reels and new advanced drum machines, and welcome everyone to stop by the booth. We’re also planning to release details about our 2022 RIDGID Experience during WWETT. It will be our fifth RIDGID Experience event, and it’s become an exciting tradition for both us and the pros who participate.

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

Kilmartin: Productivity and profits. Speed, skill and efficiency have become a competitive advantage. Before buying a new tool, our customers often ask: “How can this make my life easier?” It’s important for us to be the brand cleaners choose because they trust us for the most demanding work conditions.

One way we’re doing this is by integrating technology into our tools where there is a clear value to our customers. They’re still as tough and rugged as our customers have come to expect, yet they’re also smarter. 


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.