Fire hydrant quick and safe in Gilbert, Arizona
Manuel Sanchez is the supply manager for the city of Gilbert, AZ, a city of just under 250,000 residents southeast of Phoenix in the city’s metropolitan area. Gilbert grew extremely rapidly, growing from 1980 to 2010 at an average annual growth rate of nearly 13%. The city’s water infrastructure is relatively new and includes a variety of piping materials, including PVC, AC, and ductile iron, from 4 to 48 inches.
While most Gilbert fire hydrants have plumbing 3.5 feet underground, older hydrants have been buried closer to 6 feet. As the infrastructure for these hydrants deteriorated and had to be replaced, the repairs presented safety problems in view of the pipe depth.
Every time the crews had to reconnect the hydrant to the main line, a support had to be put in place to prevent collapses. In addition, excavation was required to make room for the screws to be tightened given the limited space. Sanchez was looking for a way to minimize time in the trench and get the job done quickly so his crew could go home or get on with the next repair. Given the depth of the trench and limited space, finding a way to make hydrant repairs quickly became the primary challenge for the project.
In Sanchez’s search for a quick hydrant replacement, he found the Hymax Grip. With just two screws to tighten, he saw the time savings that could result.
“Reducing the number of bolts you need to tighten makes a huge difference in getting the job done quickly,” said Sanchez. “If you don’t have to dig under it to reach bolts near the ground, it means the trench is more stable and less likely to collapse. The space needed to repair fire hydrants is relatively tight, so anything that can make the job easier is a real plus. “
Three reasons why Hymax was chosen
1. Easy installation
The device has a radial locking mechanism that holds the pipe firmly in place during installation so that the installer has full control of the gap between the pipes. In contrast to wedge-shaped restraint systems, which stress and weaken the pipe at certain points, the chain of this restraint system has given a circular restraint around the pipe. As the tube exerts axial pressure, the handle chain tightens around the tube to prevent it from being pulled out.
It has a universal gripping system for holding back metal and plastic pipes and a transition capability of up to 1.1 inches. This meant the utility had more flexibility to repair a variety of pipe sizes and pipe materials that were in the ground.
“When you’re working with pipe and connections that can be decades old, it’s good to have the flexibility to assemble and secure a coupling with the pipe sizes you can possibly find,” said Sanchez.
2. Durability and flexibility
The Hymax Grip also gave installers the flexibility to mate with a non-circular pipe shape (up to 0.16 inches). The radial locking design and sealing system of the product left room for the tube and coupling not to be perfectly aligned while still maintaining a secure connection.
“It helped a lot to have that space to make the connection without the tube and coupling being perfectly aligned or round,” said Sanchez. “Again, the tight space leaves little room for error, so every edge you can find makes a difference.”
The dynamic deflection of the coupling also reduced the risk of damage and cracks due to floor displacement. The patented seal effectively transforms the pipe connection into a flexible connection and enables dynamic deflection of up to 4 degrees per side. The handle is made of highly durable ductile iron and can withstand working temperatures of up to 125 ° F. It also meets or exceeds AWWA C219, NSF-61, and NSF-372 standards. Overall, Sanchez found that the product’s features provided the utility with a solution that would likely reduce future repairs and maintenance in the long term.
3. Advanced anti-galling
The nuts and bolts for this system feature advanced anti-galling using a dry treatment process with molecular anti-galling based on embedded zinc to prevent abrasion. This allows the screws to be tightened repeatedly and eliminates the need for grease, which prevents the accumulation of dust and dirt. The fused epoxy coating also protects against corrosion.
The city of Gilbert has installed more than 100 Hymax handles in the past three years and continues to use the product in all situations where pipe needs to be restrained.
“It is very convenient to have a product with a retention mechanism in the product ready to use,” said Sanchez. “This application is particularly valuable for hydrants as the work has to be carried out in a trench with limited space. These situations are about getting the job done right and getting out so we can move on to the next job or send workers home. “