Mindful Technology Investment Helps Company Complete World Record Pipe Lining Job

Dave Wickersham says he’s always in search of new technologies that can help his company be more profitable and productive, a mindset that was on display for the lining of a 42-inch-diameter, 600-foot-long gas main

Mindful Technology Investment Helps Company Complete World Record Pipe Lining Job

Dave Wickersham, owner and CEO of Progressive Pipeline Management in Wenonah, New Jersey

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Progressive Pipeline Management set a world record last July for lining the largest-diameter gas main ever: a 42-inch-diameter, 600-foot-long pipeline running below Central Avenue in East Orange, New Jersey.

While the project underscored the Wenonah, New Jersey-based company’s expertise, it also reflected a key to its success — investing in productivity-enhancing equipment that provides value for customers. In this case, it was a robotic PRD-Blast rotary sandblasting head made by Pacific Roller Die. Progressive Pipeline Management purchased the unit specifically for the project. 

“I’m always searching for new technologies that can help us be more profitable and productive,” says Dave Wickersham, the company’s owner and CEO. “The size of this pipe prompted us to look for a quicker alternative pipe cleaning method. We launched this technology for this project with the full support of our client.”

A PRD-Blast head costs about $40,000, but Wickersham says it’s a worthwhile investment.

“It not only cleans more aggressively, it’s also robotic,” he says. “So it removes an hour or two from the sandblasting process.”

In addition, its remote-control capability makes sandblasting safer. It also improves efficiency and productivity because it eliminates operator errors and cleans more consistently to required specifications.

Before buying the PRD-Blast head, crews would manually insert a blasting head and then pull it out with a winch.

“Pulling in a 100-pound cleaning head can be a slow process, and sometimes it gets hung up in a line,” Wickersham says. “But the new PRD head, which we call the Beast, is self-propelled. We just pull up, put in the head and we’re cleaning in 10 minutes.

“We probably save an hour or more in terms of staging time. When you’re dealing with road work, we’re usually up against tight stipulation times. So in an eight-hour day, that 1 1/2 hours is huge.”

Read more about Progressive Pipeline Management in the March 2020 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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