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How water jet cutting stopped fixing Sydney’s sewers from being a pipe dream

In Sydney, they had a problem with their sewers, a problem that needed sorting and soon.

Don’t worry, this isn’t the blurb from a straight-to-DVD horror about a super crocodile living below the city streets.

Instead, it is somewhat more mundane but just as problematic. Well, almost.

Sydney had a huge problem with blocked drains, with flow lost under a busy suburban street – many pipes had become flooded with a form of grout. This dense material needed removing, but how?

It became apparent that the best option was to cut through these blockages, but that appeared easier said than done, what equipment could be delivered to the pipes and then set to the cutting task?

Back above ground, some of the grout was tested to see what would cut through it. Numerous cutting heads did the job, but often with a high degree of wear, meaning there would be regular delays to pull the cutting head out, change the head, and then start the process again. This of course assumes the machine could be manoeuvred into location in the first place.

This was a material that was incredibly dense and so difficult to cut for most machines, if not impossible, and the cutting had to be carried out down in the pipes of the sewer system.

The answer was a specialist water jet cutting machine. The PC2000 can be used in conditions and spaces that might be called challenging. It has software that can plot its course and a camera that swivels through 360 degrees.
It also has a cutting head, or cutting nozzle that can deliver high-pressure water mixed with an abrasive.

This machine, complete with wheels and a motor to enable movement, replaced the chisel milling tool, a tool that had made some slow progress in removing the blockages.

Thanks to the mobile water jet cutting option, time and expense were saved, and no doubt the goodwill of residents forced to live with blocked pipes for a period of time.

The person in charge of the project said this of the water jet cutting option: “Traditional methods would have seen us use multiple cutting heads over the course of the job, costing the company thousands of dollars in replacements.”
He added: “I’ve never used such a capable and versatile piece of equipment.”

You can read more about this interesting use of water jet cutting on the trenchless-Australasia site.

As leading UK water jet cutters, we are fascinated by this novel use of the technology. That a water jet with abrasive is a powerful cutting force is well known, indeed the cutting potential eclipse that of alternatives.

However, the possibilities opened by water jet cutting that can be used remotely in the most challenging of environments or spaces are huge. Almost any location could have access to the most powerful of cutting tools – and the key things the technology needs to run are just water, and an abrasive.

We can’t personally claim to have worked unblocking any sewers, but we have carried out a huge range of water jet cutting jobs for organisations of all sizes.

Contact us to discuss your requirements for water jet cutting.


Work with the UK’s leading Water Jet Cutters

At TMC, we are a water jet cutter who serve the whole of the UK and increasingly Europe too, with clients across the content trusting us to work on their projects.

Despite our success, we remain a company that focusses on every client and work on projects of all sizes. If you think water jet cutting might be of use for your project, please do get in touch for an obligation-free chat.

Call us on 01625 610 441 or use our Contact Form.