Fiberglass Liners, UV Light Prove to be Effective Cure for Ailing Pipes

Quick and consistent curing system helps New York contractor satisfy customers year-round.
Fiberglass Liners, UV Light Prove to be Effective Cure for Ailing Pipes
The 13-foot-long UV light train is tested before the Precision Trenchless crew heads out to a job site. As the train passes through a lined pipe, the UV lights penetrate the material and cure the liner.

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When Precision Trenchless of Schenectady, New York, decided to enter the pipe lining market, company management wanted a liner that cured quickly and a system that could easily produce consistent results time after time. The answer? Fiberglass-infused plastic liners made by SAERTEX multiCom and a UV light curing system made by IBG Hydro-Tech.

“This technology enables us to work with greater efficiencies and get a consistent, totally repeatable result,” says Mike App, the company’s senior project manager. “It’s a darn-near bulletproof system.”

In a nutshell, here’s how it works: After the liner is inserted into a pipeline and inflated, a “light train” — essentially a cable-like structure that’s equipped with UV light bulbs and a series of tri-spoked devices with small wheels at the end of each spoke — gets pulled through it. As the train passes through, UV lights penetrate the material and cure the liner. A camera mounted on the front of the train keeps operators apprised of the liner’s condition and an infrared temperature sensor measures the liner’s surface temperature.

The pipe diameter dictates how fast the liner will cure. In an 8-inch-diameter pipe, for instance, the train can cover 5 to 7 feet per minute, but only about a foot per minute in 63-inch-diameter pipes.

“The return to service is lightning fast,” App says. “When the light train arrives back at the point where we started, the line can be used immediately. With a traditional system, you might have to wait at least a couple hours to more than a day because the liner needs to cool down in order to cure. That means the bypass has to stay in place and you’d need to keep all your guys and equipment on site. All those costs add up.”

The SAERTEX liners are very thin (no more than 12 millimeters thick), which boosts curing time. But at the same time, they’re exceptionally strong, able to withstand 1.7 million psi, App notes.

“The system allows us to work year-round because our curing methodology isn’t dependent on heat to cure the liner,” App explains. “We’ve installed liners in very extreme weather, from a 110-degree heat index to 30 degrees below zero.

“In addition, the liners come pre-wetted out — they’re not thermal-dependent whatsoever,” he adds. “That also enables us to work year-round.”

Furthermore, it reduces job time, which minimizes the time required for disruptive sewer-bypass setups, which are required during the lining.

The ability to consistently achieve the same results helps App more accurately price jobs, as well as bolster customer satisfaction.

“We can confidently assure customers what the finished product will be like,” he says.

For proof of the system’s effectiveness, App points to how Precision Trenchless installed the longest UV-cured liner in America: a roughly 190-foot-long, 63-inch-diameter culvert in Syracuse, New York.

Read more about Precision Trenchless in this full profile featured in the November issue of Cleaner magazine.


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