Proven Reliability Brings Jet Rod Back for More — 23 Years On

Nick Leatherland, owner of Swindon-based and family run drainage systems specialist Jet Rod, started out in 1984 doing CCTV inspections, drain cleaning and root cutting with, in more recent years, the addition of localized patch and lining repair, treatment plant installation, septic tank and soak away construction facilities.

Working the local area within 30 miles of Swindon town center, with clients largely from the commercial and industrial sectors with a significant proportion of revenues derived from domestic works for thousands of customers, the company now operates four jetting units, two CCTV units and one pipe repair rig.

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Back in 1986, Leatherland invested in a second-hand Harben high-pressure jetting unit, supplied by Salisbury-based Flowplant Group Ltd., to expand his company’s drain cleaning/clearing facilities. Nothing strange there perhaps, but according to Leatherland: “We have just decided that, having been in use almost everyday since we bought it, our old Harben unit should now be gracefully retired after around 30 year’s service. It was 8 years old when we bought it.”

Over the years, Jet Rod has built up an impressive client list including government agencies, local councils, schools, facilities management companies, the MOD and Building Societies as well as being a recognized sub-contractor for a number of term contractors to other clients that have responsibility for drainage works within their remit.

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While the old Harben machine has had to have a new chassis during its lifetime, the original high-pressure pump, gear box and Lister engine are still going strong and although the rig could have had a full service and be kept on the road, Leatherland thought it was time to upgrade to a newer, quieter model and ‘let the old girl go into a gentle retirement.’

Having used other jetters alongside the Harben during the life span of the company, Leatherland said: “Our experience is that, while our other rigs can perform well enough, the Harben does the job in the field in a way, which means it offers very good value for money in terms of longevity, manufacturer back up, repair and service. Our other suppliers have yet to match the plant life and follow up offered by Flowplant. Alongside this, our other rigs have lasted barely more than 10 years apiece since purchase, with the Harben lasting nearly 30. If you include its use before coming to Jet Rod, then the sort of life span, reliability, productivity and cost-effectiveness offered by the Harben would be hard to beat. This is why for our new machine, we have decided to go back to Flowplant for the latest Harben DTB500 unit. We chose this rig because the Harben DTB500 Trailer rig has a similar engine, gear box and pump system to that of the old rig but designed to modern emissions, noise and performance standards. So we think we can expect a similar life span and even better performance from the new unit than we had from our old one.”

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The new DTB 500 Trailer Unit purchased by Jet Rod is a worthy replacement for the very popular DTB trailer-mounted jetting unit of the past. It has an all new chassis, which has been strengthened and stiffened to take the 500 l (110 gallon) rotationally molded water tanks. Power to drive the Harben ‘P’ type radial piston diaphragm pump comes from the latest Yanmar 45 hp, emission compliant engine, which is one of the quietest engines currently available. The power unit is capable of delivering 275 bar (4,000 psi) at 59 l/min (13 gpm), which makes it ideal for the toughest drain cleaning jobs. The unit is designed to work in drains of up to 300 mm in diameter and is ideal for unblocking, descaling and root cutting.

The equipment is also available in a variety of configurations with various pump options including: 3,500 psi at 16 gpm; 4,000 psi at 13 gpm; 5,000 psi at 9 gpm and 6,000 psi at 7 gpm. The variable-speed, hydraulic-rewind hose reel can carry up to 100 m of high-pressure hose, with a 90-m hose included as standard. The dry weight of the unit is 970 kg, while full its weight is 1,470 kg.

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As additional options, Flowplant also offers Echo Radio remote control, Hard Wire remote control, Jump Jet Kit and an Inlet hose reel. “New operators of the DTB 500 unit have already commented on the unit’s high work rate that comes from having the increased water tank size. Site tests have shown that up to 50 percent more meters can be cleaned in the same time as that compared to using other supposedly equivalent machines. This of course leads to increased efficiency and higher profits.” said Alistair Hiscock, Sales Director for Flowplant Group Ltd.

He added, “It is good to know what our customers really think of our products and service and it makes the effort we at Flowplant put in all the more worthwhile when the likes of Nick and his team at Jet Rod come back to us for more, even over 20 years after buying their old unit.”

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This article was supplied by Flowplant Group Ltd., which is based in Wiltshire, U.K.
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