Pipe Bursting System Provides Reliable Power and Productivity

HammerHead Trenchless machine has quickly recouped contractor’s initial investment

Pipe Bursting System Provides Reliable Power and Productivity

 Technicians (from left) Anthony Ibarra, Luis Castelar Truilljo and Kirino Pacheco Luna watch as Jose Pacheco Luna makes an adjustment to the pipe bursting machine in the pit. 

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Pipe bursting residential lateral lines is a core service at Sewer Experts, a sewer-line rehab and replacement company based in Commerce City, a northern suburb of Denver. So when co-owner Marisa Beaver started the business in 2017, she sought a machine that could reliably provide the two P’s: power and productivity.

Her solution was a PortaBurst PB30G2 pipe bursting system, built by HammerHead Trenchless Equipment (a Charles Machine Works Company). Buying it required a considerable up-front investment of about $30,000, but Beaver says the unit has paid for itself many times over the past few years.

“It means much less frustration for our customers and we don’t spend all day digging and then backfilling and repairing areas disturbed by excavation,” she says.

As a good example of the system’s value, consider a job Sewer Experts tackled in October 2020 in Fort Collins, about 65 miles north of Denver. The city was replacing restrooms in a city park, which included laying a new, 65-foot-long sewer line to replace an aging 4-inch-diameter clay line combined with some cast-iron pipe. The park features many old trees and city officials were concerned about damaging their roots, which could kill the trees. So the Sewer Experts crew used vacuum excavation to expose any tree roots 2 inches in diameter or larger, then plotted a course for the 65-foot pipe bursting run. The job took about five hours to complete and the PB30G2 played a big role.

“It was very intense,” Beaver says. “But it’s exactly the kind of job for which we bought the HammerHead machine.” 

The PB30G2 weighs about 364 pounds, but it breaks down into four components for easy transport, assembly and disassembly. It can burst 2- to 6-inch-diameter pipes and generates up to 30 tons of pulling force.

The unit can pull HDPE pipe at up to 6 feet per minute. It runs on any hydraulic power supply capable of generating 3,000 psi at 13 gpm. And its compact footprint — 25 inches long, 23 1/2 inches wide and 36 1/2 inches tall — eliminates the need for a large excavation pit, which aids productivity.

Furthermore, the 4- and 6-inch bursting heads can be connected to pipe quickly, without any need for hand tools, and can negotiate bends up to 45 degrees. Its cable-grip system applies continuous pressure, which eliminates the so-called “bungee effect” that crimps efficiency.

Sewer Experts uses the machine in conjunction with a Pit Bull pipe-fusion machine made by McElroy Manufacturing

“It’s very simple and uncomplicated to use,” Beaver says. “It’s absolutely worth the money.”


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