Innovation – Applying Knowledge To Solve A Problem

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Many times we fall into following paths we’ve been down in the past. Why? Because it’s familiar, it’s safe, and you know the way because you’ve been down the path before. To deviate from that path usually doesn’t come easy unless something blocks access to the path and you have to find a new path or way to do something. I think back to developments we’ve experienced at Pipe Lining Supply in finding new paths. When a customer tells us that he doesn’t like this product for whatever reason, we have two choices to make. Choice one is to respond with these words “ it might not be what you want or need, but it’s all I’ve got, so it’s best you take it now!” The other option is for us to find a product that meets their need or want. We usually take the second option unless the request makes no sense or is impossible to do.

Original Drain Cleaning Machine

Let’s get back to our path and how it relates to our drain cleaning and rehabilitation industry. A path that was started by Sam Blanc in the 1930’s has been followed approaching 90 years. The technology is close to the initial design on the path he blazed back then. He used a washing machine motor and attached it to a 3/8” steel cable and attached blades to cut roots and founded the Roto Rooter company. The steel cable was wrapped around a cage and turned at a relatively slow speed, pretty much as is done today by the majority of the drain cleaning machine providers. Since the ’30’s others have entered the marketplace and followed that basic design with a few bells and whistles added to sell their machines.

Many years later a new path was born. The new path was to line or rehabilitate sewer lines that had been damaged by roots and other things. This new path needed tools work with this new technology and one of those tools was to cut lateral openings to reinstate tie-ins. Some used the cable machines that were born in the Roto Rooter era, but were slow and production lining contractors looked for a faster tool, thus giving birth to air driven cutters that could travel down

Air Driven Cutterthe lined pipe and open up laterals. These tools work well but carry a couple of drawbacks. One is price and the other is maintenance.

the lined pipe and open up laterals. These tools work well but carry a couple of drawbacks. One is price and the other is maintenance.

Now enter a new batch of trailblazers. Goodway, Picote and Nu Flow, searching for a better way to clean scale off cast iron pipe, applied a faster speed to speed up the process of cleaning. These technologies were on to something. Speed! Several other contractors liked this method because it worked. It filled a need, cut the lateral open faster than a slow rotating cable machine, but cost more money and the speed ranges jumped from 240 RPM to 1800 RPM.

Ultra High Speed Drain Cleaning Cable Machine

Along comes Ken Beyer and Mike Phillips who liked the idea of speed, but thought that if the RPM’s were higher, they could get more done at a speed great enough to overcome the torque issues at slower speeds. Ken was at a job one day cleaning a drain with his regular cable machine. He had some roots that he just couldn’t get with his cable machine, and after his path was blocked in getting his job complete with his cable machine, decided to try to cut the roots with sleeved cable attached to his drill he used when reinstating a sewer tie-in to a CIPP lined pipe. He retrofitted his cable cutting heads to attach to the sleeved cable and inserted into the pipe. He knew that the cable speed was going to jump from about 250 rpm on his regular cable machine to up to 3,500 rpm and approached the root cautiously not wanting to grab the root and tear his machine or himself up in having it grab a root and transfer all of the torque back to him. His discovery was that speed overcame the torque issue and he removed the root successfully. He went back to his shop after being successful with this approach and immediately decided he could improve on having a cable tangled on the floor and built a housing unit for the cable. Ken & Mike built 4 machines to house 4 different sized cables to enable him to clean all sized drains he usually encountered. On subsequent jobs he employed the right sized unit for the job he was doing and found his smallest machine cleaned an 1 1/2” drain as well as his biggest machine cleaned much larger lines.

So what does all of this have to do with you? If you are in the drain cleaning business, this innovation will change your path. You can think of it as the change made when dentists went from low speed drills to grind decay out of your teeth to high speed drills that cut your suffering from sitting in the dental chair for a long session to seconds. You can experience the  benefits of Ultra High Speed drain cleaning right now. We’ve partnered with Ken & Mike’s company to sell and service his equipment throughout our distribution network. If you are using cable machines now and want to improve you drain cleaning experience you can find the full line of this contractor inspired product available today. Pricing is competitive and the innovative design allows easy insertion of the cable into the drain as well as easy extraction. This tool can adapt existing conventional cable cleaning ends as well as new tools that are currently being developed. Feedback on customers using the smallest 6mm offering report that they easily inserted the tool through a urinal without any trouble and cleaned the lines in the restroom in record time without pulling the urinal. Contact us for availability and pricing.

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