Complete Trenchless Solutions with HammerHead Trenchless

HammerHead evolves with a complete line of trenchless equipment that serves the entire life cycle of pipe

Complete Trenchless Solutions with HammerHead Trenchless

 HammerHead University is an innovative educational experience that includes both virtual and in-person training to provide hands-on learning opportunities, including job site simulation. 

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HammerHead Trenchless has become a well-known name in the trenchless industry. From its launch in 1989 with the HammerHead Mole piercing tool to today with a broad range of pipe rehab and replacement products, the company has focused on building tools and equipment to serve customers’ specific needs.

Jeff Urbanski is the company’s senior manager of marketing and training. He has 20 years of trenchless industry experience and played an integral role in developing HammerHead University to advocate and support hands-on training and education.

Cleaner recently spoke with Urbanski about the company’s culture, product development philosophy and the future of the industry.

CLEANER: Tell us a little about the history of HammerHead and how it serves the water and wastewater industry.

Urbanski: The HammerHead Mole piercing tool was initially produced out of a converted chicken coop on one of our founder’s properties. What began as three friends with a drive to create a better earth-piercing tool has transformed into the industry’s most complete offering of trenchless solutions from a single source. The evolution of HammerHead Trenchless encompasses a focus on trenchless technologies that service the entire life cycle of the pipe, embracing the rehabilitation and replacement of existing infrastructure. Contractors across the world have utilized our technology to grow their businesses several fold and we are a part of contractor’s day-to-day lifestyles.

CLEANER: What differentiates your trenchless pipe rehab equipment from the competition?

Urbanski: HammerHead has always stood out to the contractor regarding quality of products and the service we provide both from the office and on the job site. HammerHead spends a tremendous amount of time perfecting their products using the voice of the customer — the contractor. Those ideas and concepts are a living tribute to the relationships we have with our installers. In the drain/waste world change is inevitable to keep up with the growing problems with infrastructure. We continue to innovate and produce new products that allow our customers to test them and validate their effectiveness both short and long term. In the drain cleaning world, HammerHead’s PB30 has been an extremely popular product for many years, along with our current offering of CIPP solutions, most notably HammerHead’s Bluelight system.

CLEANER: What sort of applications do they best serve?

Urbanski: As we look at rehabilitation and replacement of sewer and water pipes, I pointed out our PB30 as our replacement tool for lateral pipes. It can burst pipe and is a very compact, yet powerful unit that has the ability to upsize pipe, designed for the 4- to 6-inch market. It has become an easy asset for contractors to use in small, confined spaces along with utility-based jobs. As for the Bluelight system, it has been a significant part of the last four years at HammerHead. Bluelight is the fastest growing and most exciting product we have in the market today. It allows contractors to utilize current CIPP equipment and improve their efficiency on the job site by curing liners at five times what conventional lining methods will do. This improves contractors’ effectiveness along with their profitability for their business.

CLEANER: What are some recommendations for customers shopping for pipeline rehab and replacement equipment?

Urbanski: Every job for a contractor is different. Every job demands and needs different tools. That’s why at HammerHead we pride ourselves on offering a full set of trenchless tools for their trenchless toolbelt. Customers can purchase our products directly on our shop site and go to our brand site for more detailed information. The biggest takeaway I have is: No two jobs are alike, and you need to have a full offering of tools to meet the demands of the consumer.

CLEANER: How has the company as a whole evolved over the past eight years under the Charles Machine Works umbrella?

Urbanski: When HammerHead was initially acquired by Charles Machine Works, it was distinctively known for the HammerHead Mole. HammerHead supported areas of pipe replacement, but it wasn’t until we entered the CIPP market that we recognized the potential for the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure. As the organization continued to analyze the underground construction industry there was a lot of excitement around the opportunity for growth in rehabilitation. HammerHead has grown tremendously and now as a division of The Toro Company we feel that growth is only going to continue, and we could not be more excited for what is to come.

CLEANER: What kind of solutions and capabilities does HammerHead provide contractors? How do you see the trenchless rehab/repair industry evolving?

Urbanski: In the space of rehabilitation and replacement there isn’t too much that we do not touch. Other than excavation, we can burst pipe, we can use our winches to slip line, or pull liners in place, and we can cure liners in place. We can do point repairs; we can help with the cleaning of pipe. There are all these pieces that come together to make up HammerHead. We also offer a breath of services, featuring our training team that includes ex-contractors. Our training team goes out into the field and assists contractors and installers to understand the best use of our products and how they are effective on the job site. We even offer yearly recertification with our HammerHead University. Contractors can come to the university for additional education that allows for the growth of their team or the transition of their team. Today, there’s a big push to draw in the younger generation to come work in our industry. The best way to do that is to offer unique and innovative education. We pride ourselves on our unique way to educate everyone that steps foot in our industry.

As I stated earlier, every job site is different. The knowledge and education that comes from being live at the job site is imperative. The voice of the customer is what drives HammerHead. Where do I see innovation today? I see it with equipment becoming smaller but more powerful and effective. Speed is one of the biggest things I’m seeing right now. Look at light cure in the CIPP world and resins with longer pot life but shorter cure time. Those innovations, through chemistry, have occurred to advance our industry and keep up with the demands of the deteriorating infrastructure. We are looking at our environmental footprint and what it is doing out in the industry and how it’s impacting our environment. The smaller and more energy efficient we make products the better it’s going to serve the contractor today and our environment in the future.

CLEANER: Tell us more about the philosophy behind HammerHead University.

Urbanski: Like many things at HammerHead Trenchless, the inception of our HammerHead University came from the voice of the customer. The key thing we want to do is create an innovative educational experience. Trade schools are great, but we don’t see many trade schools training students on trenchless technology. So, we built a comprehensive curriculum that offers in-person and virtual training as well as an eLearning capability that will be available soon. The cool thing about having those different elements is that everyone learns differently. Some people must do it; some people need to read it; some people need to hear it. Some people need a combination of everything, and HammerHead University achieves all that and more.

For in-person training, we have a 5,000-square-foot facility designed specifically to provide hands-on learning opportunities in a distraction-free and risk-free environment for trenchless contractors, installers, project engineers, utility companies and municipal crews. One of the amazing capabilities of HammerHead University is job site simulation. Whether it be working in a two-story facility, a basement or even a manhole in a city street, HammerHead University has the tools to simulate any job site.

CLEANER: Do you sell direct to contractors or go through distributors?

Urbanski: HammerHead is unique in the sense that our R&R products are almost exclusively sold direct to customers. As a component of our direct sales, we have an e-commerce platform for consumables or smaller parts at Other categories like our gas utility products and the HammerHead Mole are sold through the Ditch Witch dealer network.

CLEANER: What’s on the horizon for HammerHead? Are new product lines in development?

Urbanski: Well, being a publicly traded company, we can’t really tell you any of our secrets that are coming. But Toro prides itself on developing new products and HammerHead is never going to stop. We’re working on multiple new opportunities and things that will be coming down the pipeline. You can see just in the last year, we launched our new bursting unit, the 175XT along with the solution to replace lead lateral services with HydraSlitter. We also launched a new epoxy system and our fast-curing point repair resin. Every year this is going to continue with HammerHead, we’re not going to slow down. And it doesn’t have to be just the development of a product. It can be development of services or aspects.

You’re going to see a lot more from HammerHead. On the education piece you’re going to see education in our learning management system through HammerHead University, you’re going to see learning in a variety of new ways, because that is also a product whether you recognize it or not. It can be a service; it can be a variety of ideas. HammerHead is not going to stop offering new solutions because our customers are the lifeblood of our company and that’s what keeps us going. 

CLEANER: What do you want your customers to think of when they hear the name HammerHead Trenchless?

Urbanski: We want our customers to think of HammerHead Trenchless and say they are a trusted adviser with a complete suite of solutions for every pipe rehab and replacement opportunity. HammerHead offers widgets, but it’s our service we want to be remembered for. Even if it’s the middle of the night, if you’re on a job site, we are there to help you through. Our staff is knowledgeable about not just HammerHead products, but the industry and other technologies that are available so they can make recommendations and work on solutions for the customer. Our training staff has over 100 years combined of field experience that we can bring to our customers. HammerHead Trenchless is about products, service and education.


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