We put the new Acrobat™ 355 with QuikFit® Carriage in a tight spot to test the capabilities of its sleek, new jaw design and the results are in. Get ready for a game changer in the way large-diameter polypropylene pipe jobs are done with this agile, lightweight Acrobat!
The setting for the first successful field test was a chilled water and compressed air piping system project for an expansive industrial structure underway in West Virginia. The job presented an ideal setting to see how the machine performed in tight, indoor workspaces, and in horizontal as well as vertical fusing orientations that would be required in the air and on the ground.
The overhead fusions were carefully staged on a scissor lift about 40 feet in the air with fusion operators harnessed to the railing. All of the fusion equipment was able to be placed on board — the fusion carriage, drill-powered facer, lightweight heater, hydraulic power unit (HPU) and a DataLogger ® 6 tablet, which records and collects data to ensure fusion procedures were followed according to standard.
From the scissor lift, they fused 14″ (355mm) diameter sticks of Aquatherm polypropylene pipe which were strung through a hanger system that hung from the ceiling. The pipe lengths were spaced only a few feet apart, giving operators just enough room to make four fusions from each scissor lift position.
Because the carriage is designed to break down in multiple components to reduce weight and size, fusion operators were able to remove the top jaws and place just the cylinder assemblies, lower jaws and guide rods on the pipe first. The top jaws were then assembled with the other components around the pipe. This eliminated the need for extra equipment that would be needed to lift an entire carriage into fusion position.
The machine was so effective that the contractor asked if they could keep it on site until the job was complete. Word spread quickly that McElroy’s new Acrobat was a great option for their indoor, large-pipe challenges and contractors have been eager to try it out. Since this project, the Acrobat with QuikFit Carriage has been in demand for several large-scale, high-profile jobs in Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma and the requests keep coming in.
The making of the Acrobat with QuikFit Carriage was in response to a demand in the industry for lightweight, large-diameter fusion equipment that would make overhead pipe installations safe and efficient. This need is strongly backed by the growing use of polypropylene piping systems in the plumbing and mechanical market and an increasing demand for larger pipe systems.
Polypropylene has proven to be an excellent choice for pipe material because it is much lighter than metallic pipe and doesn’t corrode or scale. Users find it easier to install, and since it is joined through the heat fusion process, it eliminates open flames and sparks inside new construction and retrofit buildings.
With much encouragement, McElroy went to the drawing board to create a machine that would make these larger pipe installations easier to accomplish. The Acrobat with QuikFit Carriage is a fraction of the weight of McElroy’s machines in the underground/construction market that have been trusted for decades, but it still maintains the alignment and force necessary to produce consistent, quality joints.
Though the 355 is the smallest of the Acrobat QuikFit line, there is only about 20 pounds difference between the weight of the smallest and largest Acrobat with QuikFit Carriage which goes up to 24″ OD (630mm). That, coupled with a unique and lightweight, modular jaw design, is a huge advantage when working with large pipe overhead in a cramped space.
This is truly a machine custom-designed for the indoor job with a completely rethought, jaw design. Industry partners believe its workability will be a game-changer in the industry. It was the kind of challenge that was welcomed by McElroy — the leader by design.