HammerHead Trenchless Introduces Pipe Extraction System for Replacing Steel Gas Services

HammerHead Trenchless, a leading manufacturer of trenchless installation, rehabilitation, and replacement solutions for underground utility infrastructure, announced a new addition to its award-winning line of Same Path technology: the SLX1300 trenchless pipe extraction system for small diameter steel natural gas services.

Pipe extraction using the patented SLX1300 is an innovative method of replacing coated and bare steel gas service lines 0.5 to 1.25 inches in diameter, up to 100 feet in length. The hydraulically powered SLX1300 unit produces up to 13.3 tons of pulling force to extract the pipe from the ground while simultaneously pulling new HDPE or MDPE pipe into the same location as the existing pipe, reducing risk to surrounding utilities.

“HammerHead has a strong track record of working closely with crews in the field to find cost-effective solutions for addressing deteriorating gas pipelines,” said Josh Hood, HammerHead Trenchless senior product manager. “A gas company approached us about finding a trenchless way to replace bare steel and our engineering team applied operator feedback to design the SLX1300 to meet needs unique to the gas market. The final design includes innovative features to minimize excavation and reduce operating requirements.”

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One feature is the unit’s on-board pipe shear that the operator engages to cut the pipe material as it is extracted into manageable segments for easy disposal.

The pipe extraction process requires two access points: a machine pit located where the service connects to the main, and an access point opposite the machine from which to pull in the new pipe. A cable is fed from the machine through the pipe and attached to the new pipe at the other end. The machine’s jaws clamp the steel pipe and the cable within it, and the machine is then engaged to pull the pipe from the ground. The jaws release and the machine cycles forward to clamp and pull another segment.  The pipe shear located behind the machine’s clamping jaw can be engaged at the operator’s discretion to segment the extracted pipe in any length as space allows.

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The compact size of the unit requires a working pit approximately 4 feet wide by 4 feet long and the entire system can be transported in the back of a standard pickup truck, reducing costs associated with extensive excavation and support equipment needs.

“A lack of a protective coating can cause steel to corrode and deteriorate faster than other materials. Having efficient and cost-effective replacement methods for these kinds of pipes is critical,” explained Hood. “Operators across the country have observed the cost savings and benefits of trenchless construction methods so we’re proud to introduce a new trenchless technology that facilitates rapid replacement of at-risk steel gas pipes.”

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The HammerHead Trenchless line of Same Path Technology also includes a patented pipe slitting system used for the trenchless replacement of plastic gas services. The SLX1300 is designed for steel pipe but preliminary field testing on additional pipe materials is underway.

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