Big-time fusion in the Land of Oz


When the McElroy Talon™ 2000 made its premiere with ISCO Industries on an almond farm near Fresno, Calif., it was an exciting feat for everyone involved. And now that a second job is complete — this time on the other side of the globe in Australia — it seems this will never get old. From the fusion operators and the contractors to the engineers, technicians and the manufacturer itself, there’s still a thrill when a Talon goes to work.

Ambitiously-minded GEM Industrial was eager to take on McElroy’s biggest fusion machine after John Holland turned to them for assistance to replace a failing concrete, sewer pipeline with HDPE as the solution; the pipe was manufactured by Iplex in their Albury plant, NSW.

The job presented another opportunity to put the capabilities of the Talon — released in 2013 — into action. This time, it was 1800mm DR 41 which is even larger, though thinner-walled, than the 54-inch polyethylene pipe used in Fresno.

McElroy’s team in Australia — Sergio Arellano and Sergio Yibrin — provided onsite technical assistance throughout the entire job and two of its engineers from McElroy’s headquarters in Tulsa, Okla., spent a week with the fusion crew. GEM Industrial was soon producing up to seven fusions a day. It was considered an impressive accomplishment given that the expectation was four joints a day, but the unique capabilities of the Talon, and the productive and skillful team at GEM Industrial made it all possible.

The Talon fused in place for some of the fusions and employed its signature pipelining method for others. Its maneuverability over the pipeline wasn’t hampered by any of the curvatures in the pipeline. Without any modification, the Talon was able to continue its path over 30-degree, prefabricated elbows. These jogged sections connected the main line to the pump station.

And although it was done in testing, this was the first time on a job that the Talon was converted from two fixed jaws and two movable jaws to one fixed jaw and three movable jaws. This is done to reduce the amount of pipe at the end of an elbow which makes the fittings smaller, less expensive and easier to ship. The conversion worked exactly as planned.

GEM Industrial has its sights set on many other large-diameter jobs currently planned in Australia that will require experts in pipeline construction. These pipelines will be longer and bigger — up to the Talon’s maximum 2000mm size. The success on this project, makes GEM Industrial and the Talon a tough player.

“This project is just another notch in the belt for the Talon,” said Seth Ahrens, Mechanical Engineer at McElroy. “It’s proven that it’s a successful product and has a great future in large-diameter pipe fusion.”

From humble beginnings in industrial plumbing, GEM Industrial has emerged as the leaders in large diameter HDPE projects across Australia and New Zealand.

With the purchase of their first McElroy machine 10 years ago, it seems that GEM Industrial has never looked back. The relationship between GEM Industrial and McElroy has continued to grow, along with the size of GEM’s projects, both in length and diameter.

Darren Chandler, Owner of GEM Industrial, and a strong HDPE supporter, says he’s “extremely happy having the largest McElroy-produced fusion machine working” in this country. “The first for Australia, the first for GEM Industrial and the first for McElroy.”

The Talon was built to help meet the world’s demands for increased pipeline capacity and to take on the challenges of large-diameter pipe fusion with its unique design. Founded in 1954, McElroy offers the industry’s most complete line of butt, saddle and socket fusion equipment for ½” CTS to 2000mm OD pipe as well as quality assurance accessories that increase productivity and efficiency on the jobsite.