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For almost as long as can be remembered the best way (probably the only way) to break into an existing cast iron main has been to expose it from surface in a pit and then hit it hard with something until it breaks. Whichever part of the utility industry you might be in, in today’s world this this would never be seen as a safe option. Now, after many discussions, the development of prototypes for industry testing and final successful trials, UIS Ltd (Utility Innovation Solutions Ltd) has provided the safe answer that the industry has been searching for, the Click Stick.
UIS has designed the Click Stick for breaking into cast iron mains pipes safely without the need for brute force from the site crew. This manually operated tool, designed with the best of British engineering behind it, is quick and easy to use. Once the pipe to be accessed is exposed, the lightweight Click Stick is manually lowered into the excavation and using its innovative ‘C’ section construction is easily positioned around the pipe. There is even a guide/location arrow to show precisely where the centre of the unit should be placed in relation to the pipe to ensure the breaking action is applied to best advantage.
When in the right position, the operator then activates the battery powered hydraulic pump which engages the Click Stick’s vertical ram to simply grip the pipe. As the force on the ram is increased the pipe breaks in a controlled and safe way with the operator at a safe distance from the fracture when it occurs.
Rosalind Macgregor, a Director at UIS said: “With the Click Stick now commercially available both domestically and internationally, we are delighted to be working with industry suppliers including PSS Hire and U Mole both of which are helping to deliver the Click Stick to contractors across the UK. However it must be said that without the help and support of on the first trials SGN and subsequently National Grid during the further development process, which took on the job of field testing the various designs along the way, we would not be where we are today. We believe this is a very significant innovation for the utility pipeline industries both in the UK and across the globe.”
Since the introduction of the British-manufactured Click Stick, National Grid has seen a change in the way its crews operate with improved site performance all-round. When asked about the new Click Stick, Mike Kiernan, Director of Health, Safety, Environment and Quality, for Forefront Utilities, one of tRIIO’s leading Gas Mains Replacement contractors he said: “After completing basic training and onsite training for use of the Click Stick, our replacement teams are now using the Click Stick on a daily basis and have found the equipment extremely useful and a far safer way of breaking/cracking existing metallic mains.” Mike also stated that: “The use of the Click Stick will also see major safety improvements across utility sectors which will significantly reduce the risk of impact, Musculoskeletal Disorders and Manual Handling injuries resulting from use of sledge hammers and podger bars.”
UIS is the leading supplier of innovative trenchless techniques for the utilities industry. Whether it is replacing or rehabilitating pipework, UIS provides the latest, most efficient products which deliver safety compliant projects within both timescale and budget for customers worldwide.
With over 30 years’ experience in the utilities industry, UIS develops products based on industry feedback and requirements from hands-on practical experience with a focus on creating innovative solutions bespoke to the utilities sector.