Hydro Excavation Nozzles Featured in North American Oil and Gas Pipelines Magazine
The July 2014 issue of North American Oil & Gas Pipelines Magazine includes a feature story on hydro-excavation equipment for pipeline projects. Included with this article are tips from Justin Jovle, Hydra-Flex Product Line Manager, on the importance of selecting the right nozzle for the job.
An excerpt from this article:
Hydro excavation is a straightforward process: Use a high-pressure stream of water to loosen hard soils, reduce the soil to muddy slurry and vacuum away. The nozzle at the end of the water line plays an important role in the job performance.
A relatively new player in the hydro excavation nozzle business is Hydra-Flex Inc., which started offering products for the market this spring.
“Hydra-Flex was founded with a mission of ‘finding a better way’ to manufacture fluid handling products for the car wash industry,” says Justin Jovle, Hydra-Flex product line manager. “Because of the strong reputation we had earned in the car wash industry we were approached by a number of users in hydro excavation that wanted to know if we could develop a nozzle that could provide the same results for them.”
What contractors may not realize, he says, is that by optimizing the water stream quality, jobs get finished quicker and use less water.
“Choosing the correct nozzle is like having the right tool in your toolbox. By using the correct nozzle for the job, the contractor is able to ensure safe and efficient excavation,” Jovle says. The company manufactures different types of nozzles, with rotating or linear designs and a variety of flow rates that vary by soil conditions and job type.
Although vacuum excavation is a safe digging alternative to mechanical methods, Jovle recommends that a nozzle should feature a protective coating such as rubber or urethane to reduce the risk of striking a pipe with sharp metal and potentially causing damage.
Also important is the pressure rating of the water stream, which many best practices guides recommend running at 1,500 to 2,500 psi around utilities. Hydra-Flex nozzles can handle up to 3,200 psi, but the impingement mechanism allows them to run at lower pressures, Jovle says.
“Hydra-Flex’s Ripsaw and Switchblade nozzles are constructed with stainless steel housings and tungsten carbide wear surfaces to withstand harsh environments and provide longer life than ceramic nozzles,” Jovle says. “A more reliable, longer lasting nozzle means replacing nozzles less often, ensuring greater uptime.”