ITS Trenchless provides a broad range of world’s best practice technologies for the installation and renovation of pipelines and structures in Australia. The company has built a reputation as the industry leader on the back of successful projects, innovative solutions, strong project management and a strong commitment to our systems.

As the sole licensee for swage lining in Australia, as well as being heavily involved in delivery of large bore pipe bursting projects, we identified the need to acquire more powerful equipment. ITS already owns an extensive inventory of pneumatic and hydraulic pipe bursting machines but nothing the company owned was capable of delivering the power required to provide a viable solution to a complex rehabilitation project that a client had approached us with. ITS had well defined performance requirements that needed to be met in the equipment selection process for this specific project as well as for future applications:

  • The rig had to be capable of pulling loads up to 200 tons;
  • It had to be capable of achieving run lengths of 600 m minimum;
  • It needed to be no longer than 4.5 m long;
  • The rig had to be capable of 60 m per hour installation speeds; and
  • It’s no down-hole component was to exceed 4,000 kgs for ease of handling.

It turned out that there was no “off the shelf” equipment available that met this specification. ITS carefully considered the available options, which were basically rod systems or wire rope systems and company officials opted to run with a wire rope system. The reason for this selection included:

  • The long run lengths we needed to achieve and the tonnage required meant that the overall weight of just the rods would have been 60 tons meaning transport would be a challenge
  • Some of the projects ITS is involved with require the ability to pull through bends which rod system are unable to cope with
  • A rod system will generally require someone down the connecting and disconnecting rods, a pipe bursting rig operator, an excavator or crane operator lifting the rods in an out of the excavation, and someone loading and unloading the rods into containers. The rope system requires only one operator
  • ITS already owned a range of Vermeer and Tracto Technik rod systems and a wire rope option would broaden our delivery capabilities.

After a detailed consultation and design process, ITS engaged ABS Trenchless to build the RBS1900 rope bursting unit. ABS Trenchless is based in Olpe, Germany, and has for some time been manufacturing auger boring systems and rope bursting units for clients throughout Europe. This was a new challenge for ABS as the previous largest rig it built delivered a maximum pulling load of 150 tons. This rig had proven itself in the successful delivery of swage lining and pipe bursting applications throughout Europe so ITS had the confidence that the RBS1900 would meet our needs.

In July 2010, ITS took delivery of the unit in Sydney, Australia. ABS Trenchless sent two technicians to carry out commissioning and training of the equipment and the unit was delivered to site to commence installation of a 4.5-km, 600-mm swage lining project in Adelaide, South Australia. So far the equipment is operating faultlessly.

ITS is also currently building expanders and roller cutter equipment to deliver a pipe bursting application where it will be installing 1,000-mm PE pipe into an existing 900-mm corrugated steel pipeline. This upsizing application will be the largest of its kind ever undertaken in Australia and ITS is confident the RBS1900 will again meet expectations.

With this new equipment in the ITS fleet, the company is well positioned to undertake larger and more challenging projects. At time of writing we are involved in discussions for swage applications of up to 1-m diameter pipe, as well as actively pursuing other large bore pipe bursting applications.

Trevor Groeneveld is owner/director of ITS Trenchless Pty Ltd., based in Sydney, Australia.

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