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We recently completed a project at a new delivery facility at Melbourne Airport, the brief was to cut multiple protruding PVC connections in 225mm, 300mm, 375mm, and 450mm SWD. The host pipes were PVC and FC and there was a requirement for the connection to be cut flush with the wall of the pipe.

Our client, the plumbing contractor on site, had taken over the job from another plumber that had gone out of business before completing the job. When they did the final CCTV survey they realised the previous plumber had left them with a large amount of protruding connections, some of which went all the way to the bottom of the pipe! The airport would not accept the pipes as they were, so we had to come up with a solution to cut them off cleanly without the pipe shattering.

This could be done on a few ways:                                 

  • We looked at using a robot cutter- Although this would work, it was decided it would be too expensive.                                             
  • Standard root cutter-  This would also work but would not cut the pipe cleanly, when the upright piece of the root cutter hits the pipe it tends to shatter.
  • We decided to make our own cutting heads to go on the root cutter motor, modelled after a large hole saw, we thought our custom hole saws would cut the connection cleanly and close to the wall of the pipe and after testing in our workshop we realised they would work. The customer and ourselves decided this was the most cost-effective way to complete the work.

We completed the work using the custom cutting heads, in conjunction with our tractor camera to view the process taking place, as there was no water on site we had to go up the pipe quickly and slow down just before touching cutter to the connection to avoid shattering the pipe. All the connections were cut quickly and cleanly and we were able to provide a cost effective solution to our client and the airport.