Articles & Case Studies


Posted: Wednesday 15th September 2010

Severing two 48”/1200mm diameter steel water mains at a water treatment works in Oxford required specialist cutting expertise from a Steve Vick International Special Contract Services team.

Damar Group Ltd were contracted by Thames Water to replace failing valves on the large pipes feeding contact tanks at the Farmoor Water Treatment Works in Cumnore Road, Oxford. This necessitated cutting around the circumference of the 15mm thick steel pipes in order to remove the valves and replace them.

Farmoor supplies water to areas including Oxford and Swindon and the contractors were given only a 12 hour window to complete the project.

Damar sub-contracted the cutting operation to Steve Vick International Ltd who used the N600 Keel cutter supplied by South+West Pipe Tools. The hydraulically powered machine automatically tracks around the circumference of the pipe wall whilst the tungsten carbide tipped blade cuts through the metal.

The cutter requires just a 200mm-250mm clearance, making it ideal to use in confined areas, and even operates under water which was an advantage at Farmoor where it was not possible to pump out all the water surrounding the mains. As the project involved potable water, only water was used as a coolant.

Each 48”/1200mm diameter pipe took one and a half hours to cut out, enabling Damar to remove and replace the faulty valves within the given time frame.

Martin Hardy, Damar’s on-site foreman, was delighted with the cutting operations and commented, “Steve Vick International carried out the job very quickly and efficiently and I particularly liked the clean edge to the cuts”.

South+West Pipe Tools supply two models of the Keel cutter – one for diameters up to36”/900mm and the N600 which handles up to 60”/1500mm. The machines are capable of cutting a variety of materials including steel, cast iron, ductile iron, asbestos, cement and plastic pipe. A variety of blades are available to suite different materials. The machines are available to buy or hire.

Steve Vick International is a world leader in developing techniques for the minimum-dig repair and replacement of pipes. The company’s Special Contract Services teams provide on-site solutions to a wide variety of pipe renewal problems in the gas, water and civil engineering sectors.

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