The innovation is a combined vacuum excavation and diamond coring system integrated on to a single 7.5 tonne GVW vehicle. The innovation enables a utility maintenance company to repair an underground service through a small circular coupon cut out of a road or highway. The pipe is repaired through the keyhole excavation using specially developed extended tooling. The vacuum excavated material is recycled in situ and compacted back into the excavation. The cored coupon is then glued back into the road. The coupon can then be trafficked within 30 to 60 minutes. Adopting keyhole repair methods will enable a utility maintenance company to be off the road within hours instead of days using conventional excavation and repair techniques. A key aspect of the combined core and vac system is protected by a granted patent.
My company was invited to a tender in 2008 by National Grid. National Grid wanted to adopt a new technique from the USA to repair gas leaks through keyholes in a road or highway. The tender criteria were to supply truck mounted vacuum excavation units and separate truck mounted diamond coring systems. The idea being that the 2 x trucks would work in conjunction with each other. I immediately thought to try and develop a way to combine the units into a single 7.5 tonne GVW core and vac unit. A single system would be greener/ cheaper to purchase, cheaper to run and maintain / less emissions and half the space or working footprint taken up within a highway. For the exercise I sent a tender in with an outlined plan for a combined system. However I suspect it was rejected due to there not being a proven unit in existence. Over a year later a self funded combined core and vac unit had been developed and successfully trialled.
Yes, Scotia Gas Networks plc has purchased 7x Mark 11 prototype systems. The units are currently on trial working in Scotland, London and south.
Family and friends inspire me.
I hope to achieve improved health and safety within utility companies by reducing the need for an operator to enter a potentially dangerous excavation. Minimise the presence of traffic cones and road works by enabling any utility company to repair / reinstate and be off a road within a day. The ability to achieve reduced traffic disruption and inconvenience for the public and business sectors will in turn increase the general revenue of any city or town. It will also allow utility companies to have fewer vehicles on the road which will reduce vehicle emissions and added congestion. Ultimately I would like to have combined core and vac systems operating within the Merseyside area (either via sales of vehicles or OSDS ltd to prove local employment as a service provider) and nation-wide.