West, in ISCO operations worked with the machine and said the machine’s self-loading feature was one of the most striking differences, making it much easier for operators working with large pipe since the pipe stays close to the ground and is not hanging overhead as can happen when pipe is loaded with equipment into traditional machines.
By using the Talon 2000, less heavy equipment and manpower was needed on the job. On a job fusing large pipe with a fuse in-place machine, a bulldozer is needed to pull the pipe and a massive excavator or crane is needed to lift it and load it over the top of the machine. This requires at least two operators and two laborers. With the Talon, only an off-road fork lift was used which required only one fusion operator and one forklift driver. The ability to fuse two and a half miles of pipe without having to do a single tie in — which takes a considerable amount of time and equipment — was another benefit. Fuse-in-place machines typically fuse several sticks of pipe together, then are moved down the pipeline to repeat the process. Once complete, at least three pieces of heavy equipment are brought in to help tie in the fused pipe strings. The Talon simply moved on its own from fusion to fusion without the assistance of heavy equipment.
The pipelining method worked out perfectly throughout the project as they were able to keep up with the pace of delivery from the pipe manufacturer. “It’s a great machine, it definitely is. I think once people start seeing the capabilities of the machine itself, it will really fly. When you get on to larger projects, one mile, two miles and greater that’s where you’ll really see the difference,” West said.
While the method of pipe handling is completely different with the Talon, its touchscreen interface is similar to McElroy’s other hydraulic machines. Users especially liked the Talon’s feature that sequences the heater removal process and completes the fusion with a single input from the operator. It also includes a built-in data logging feature to record joint fusion data to ensure proper fusion procedures were followed. McElroy conducted extensive fusion operator training on the new machine last year and also sent its engineers and technical support personnel to consult throughout much of the job.
The site crew were also pleased with the easiness of the setup and deployment of the Talon. They were able to setup and perform a test fusion the first day. They were planning on doing five fusions a day but found that they were quite capable of fusing six joints in each 10-hour shift — exceeding their expectations.