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Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory

Sweet Rewards: new composite cutting blade and hydraulic ram enable us to overcome accessibility challenges

Challenge
Replace corroded cast iron pipes without disrupting a factory’s production line.

Solution
Our consultant Ben Patterson found water standing under the plant’s cleanout grilles. A thick, opaque soup of cocoa butter mixed with debris from the floors packed the pipes, rendering his camera useless. He taped a Rycom sonde from South Coast Equipment to his 1/4-inch duct rodder from Condux International to locate the two lines. He feared that metal jetting nozzles or cutting tools would damage the old, fragile cast-iron pipes, so he invented a cocoa butter cutter. The mirrored, sculpted, solid composite blade tapers to a point on two sides and fits on the end of a standard sewer snake. Our team worked inside stiff materials regulations, intense heat and cramped conditions to burst and replace 30 feet of 4-inch interior line beneath a 12-inch thick concrete slab. View details.

Client:
Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, San Leandro, CA

Technology Utilized:
Pipe bursting system with our 20- and 30-ton rams; 1 1/4-hp, 7,500-psi electric Power Team hydraulic pump, prototype cocoa butter cutter from Ben Patterson, Turlock, CA

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