Grout Rigs Prove Key for Manhole Rehab Contractor’s Profitability

Illinois company avoids chronic equipment breakdowns while putting grout pumping units ‘through their paces’

Grout Rigs Prove Key for Manhole Rehab Contractor’s Profitability

Kim Construction’s Roberto Lopez prepares a brick manhole for a chimney rebuild. One of the most important pieces of equipment for the company’s multi-faceted approach to manhole rehab is its fleet of ChemGrout grout pumping rigs.

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Equipment breakdowns during deadline-sensitive projects hurt profitability and damage business reputations. That’s why manhole rehab specialist Kim Construction Company in Steger, Illinois, owns eight CG-570 progressive cavity grout pumping rigs made by ChemGrout.

“The best equipment is equipment that’s not breaking down,” says Brett Vallow, the company’s project manager and son of owners Kim and Lawrence Vallow. “We put these units through their paces, just through the sheer amount of material we pump through them on a yearly basis. We’ve definitely stood by ChemGrout as a manufacturer of choice.

“Breaking down midjob is a huge deal, especially when you’re set up in traffic and have limited time to work on a manhole. We work in confined space, too, so the equipment has to work. We want our technicians to finish jobs as quickly and safely as possible.”

Three of the ChemGrout rigs are mounted on flatbed trucks, and others ride on off-road vehicles that can more easily reach remotely located manholes. Each unit features a 300-gallon water tank and a three-stage roto-stator pump that breaks down the grouting material to make it easier to pump. 

The grout is mixed with water by paddles in a 45-gallon drum and then gravity fed into a hopper equipped with an auger that keeps the grout thoroughly mixed. From there, the variable speed pump takes over, pumping the grout through a 1-inch-diameter hose at anywhere from 9 to 15 gpm at 120 to 150 psi, Vallow says.

The mixing drum, water pump and roto-stator pump are hydraulically operated, driven by a 50 hp Deutz diesel engine.

“The hydraulics offer a safety advantage,” Vallow says. “You don’t want electricity involved in mixing cement, which is wet and corrosive.”

Vallow lauds the machine for its powerful pumping capability.

“We’ve probably pumped through up to 200 lineal feet of hose,” he says. “Considering the density of the materials we work with, that’s pretty remarkable. There’s so much resistance to cement inside the hoses.”

Read more about Kim Construction Company in this full profile featured in the September 2017 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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