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For many years, PVC pipe has been something of a mainstay of underground pipeline networks for a variety of utilities. However, as with all pipes, they do occasionally need cleaning and the generally thinner wall design and stiffer nature of the plastic that makes up PVC has meant that aggressive cleaning, to a much greater extent than is seen in PE pipes, could lead to problems of pipe damage if not fracture.
With these potential problems in mind Finland-based Picote has developed a range of cleaning equipment and accessories that has either been specifically designed to work in PVC or can be adapted to clean PVC without detriment to the pipe.
One of these developments is the Picote Smart Spider. The Smart Spider cleans all types of pipes fast and in a highly efficient manner and is even safe to use in PVC pipes. As a unique tool, the Smart Spider is designed specifically for pipes where the invert or other pipe sections are missing. The unit easily navigates around 90° bends and is available for use in pipe diameters of 4 in (100 mm) and 6 in (150 mm) when used with Picote’s Maxi Miller machine to drive the cleaning unit. It is also available for use in 6 in (150 mm) and 8 in (200 mm) diameter pipes when used with the Maxi Power Plus miller machine. For smaller sizes in cast iron, clay or concrete pipes, it is recommended that Picote chains are utilised.
Advantages of the Picote Smart Spider include that it is easily rebuilt when necessary using affordable spare parts. There are even rebuild packages available. As the tip of the cleaning legs will wear with use, these are designed to be easily exchanged after the tip has worn out. It should be noted however that the Spider must always be operated with its spring leader to ensure its flexibility.

The Smart Spider is also easy to use with it being necessary to simply connect it to the miller machine shaft using a sleeve bearing. Once attached and the rotational direction has been checked to ensure it is always clockwise, the Smart Spider is placed inside the pipe by manually rotating the Spider legs. Once in position simply turn on the Maxi Miller to no more than the maximum 1,000 rpm and the cleaning process is started. The highly efficient nature of the cleaning process does mean that it is important to ensure that dust is continuously flushed out of the pipe with water when in use.    
Picote PVC Chains are available as the Cyclone and Original designs and both are very popular for cleaning PVC pipes. They are designed with all the benefits of the regular Picote cleaning chains, but without carbide inserts, making them very safe for use inside PVC pipes. The chains are used with the Picote Micro or Mini Miller machines utilising the ⅓ in (8.5 mm) diameter shaft in 2 in (50 mm), 3 in (75 mm) and 4 in (100 mm) diameter pipes. When used with the Midi and Maxi Miller machines with its ½ in (12.7 mm) shaft the chains can be used in 4 in (100 mm) and 6 in (150 mm) diameter pipes.
The different chains are designed for best use in differing circumstances. The Cyclone chain is designed for use in damaged pipes whilst the Original chain is designed for use on tougher cleaning jobs. Both provide fast and highly efficient cleaning operations.
The Picote Wire Brush range is a safe option for smaller diameter PVC pipes. They are designed specifically for lightly removing any build-up of scale. These practical tools are available for use with the Micro or Mini Miller machines in pipe diameters of 2 in (50 mm), 3 in (75 mm), 4 in (100 mm) and 6 in (150 mm).  Recently Picote has introduced a Wire Brush design for use with the Maxi Miller machine in pipe diameters including 4 in (100 mm), 6 in (150 mm), 8 in (200 mm), 10 in (250 mm) and 12 in (300 mm).
The Picote Twister Cleaner for PVC is a gentle cleaning option for PVC pipes. The unit is suitable for cleaning 4 in (100 mm) diameter pipe and it is also an effective tool for removing small inconsistencies inside pitch fibre pipes. The Twister Cleaner is used with the Midi Miller or Maxi Miller for excellent cleaning results.
Whilst it is easy for a manufacturer to make claims for it products it is only in the field that results will speak for the validity of such claims. Of the Picote Twister Cleaner James Stern, Director PBF Drainage Services Ltd in the UK said: “We have tried out the new PVC Twister Cleaner and found it good not only in PVC but also in pitch fibre to remove small defects as it is less aggressive than other tools. For example under a newly built conservatory, a PVC pipe that required lining was cleaned with the new PVC Twister Cleaner. The PVC Twister Cleaner was successfully used to scour the pipe to enable a good bond to be made with the epoxy resins that were used within the liner during installation.”
For Picote Jake Saltzman, Worldwide Technical Director based in the USA said: “It has long been our aim to provide the equipment needed to manage and maintain all forms of pipe material. Our latest range of products for PVC pipe we feel does just that whilst protecting to future viability of the pipe in the ground.”