Loading System Adds Precision to Pipe Fusion Process

MegaMc PolyHorse pipe-handling system from McElroy
Loading System Adds Precision to Pipe Fusion Process

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The MegaMc PolyHorse pipe-handling system from McElroy is designed for use with a pipe fusion machine and 20- to 48-inch polyethylene pipe. The system has a capacity of 70,000 pounds and a maximum pipe weight of 10,500 pounds.

It combines a series of inclined racks that gravity-feed pipe to the dispenser. Pipe length is dispensed to the incorporated roller pipe stand, and a second, rubber-tracked pipe stand feeds the pipe axially into the fusion machine. All work is done hydraulically (20-gallon hydraulic reservoir, 3 gpm/ 2,500 psi) and controlled from a single tethered remote.

“If the pipe has been sitting on the ground, in the sun, it can curve,” says Brandon Jackman, project engineer. “So each pipe may be a little different, and a fixed pipe stand would have to be adjusted for each pipe.” With the hydraulic system, the pipe fusion machine operator can adjust the pipe stand 24 inches laterally and 36 inches vertically for proper alignment.

The system is designed for a once-per-day loading operation. Pipe is unloaded onto steel-tube racks. “The idea is that you have a full shift’s worth of work on the racks,” Jackman says.

The pipe racks act as a giant magazine with three-position dispenser arm (20- to 24-inch, 26- to 36-inch and 42- to 48-inch pipe) that enables the operator to feed, align and hold a stick of pipe for the fusion process. The automated system eliminates a second operator, trackhoe or other equipment to align, load and hold the pipe in place. “Everything is powered from one hydraulic power unit on the tracked pipe stand,” Jackman says.

Safety is another factor. “It’s eliminating some of the hazards of loading the pipe by a trackhoe or front-end loader,” Jackman says. There’s also less wear on the fusion machine.

The six-piece system consists of a track pipe stand, roller pipe stand, and four rack components. The package, along with the fusion machine and generator, fits on a flatbed semi-trailer.

The area needed for operation depends on the length of the pipe — typically 40- and 50-foot lengths. Depth is determined by the number of racks used. “Ideally you would use both sets of racks (39 feet) so you could get more pipe on,” Jackman says. “If you are limited by space, you can use just one set of racks (25 feet).”

The system can be unloaded and installed in less than an hour. It can be paired with any MegaMc fusion machine as well as TracStar 500, 630 and 900 machines. 918/836-8611; www.mcelroy.com/fusion.


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