Article by David Sear
The valve is just one of a number of innovations South West Water is using from R2M Ltd. The kits include an innovative machine that mills a small 120° slot in the top of the pipe, eliminating the need to cut a coupon or remove a section of the pipeline. This design allows the valve to be installed under pressure, enabling faster restoration than alternative solutions, preserving pipe integrity, and allowing installation under full pressure with no need to shut off the water supply.
The system is the lightest and most compact on the market and the fastest and simplest to install. As water flow does not have to be interrupted when placing the valve, South West Water can make repairs without interrupting service to its customers.
AVT President Harry Gray says, “We are pleased to help South West Water improve its internal capabilities for managing potential interruptions to supply. We designed the AVT EZ Valve Kits to put our technology in the hands of companies that need it. As the first water company in the UK to take advantage of this innovation, South West Water is in a position to respond swiftly to emergency situations and better manage its supply interruption outcomes.”
“We have a long history of close collaboration with South West Water,” says R2M Ltd. Valve Division Director Matt Harris. “They were looking for more ways to provide a better level of customer service as they work towards their AMP7 commitments. They like the EZ Valve as it is compact and fast to install on live networks. Importantly, they wanted an asset that not only looks like a valve but also operates the same as a standard valve.”
Valve installation training
South West Water has purchased three 100mm to 300mm (4-inch to 12-inch) AVT EZ Valve Kits along with a range of valves, spares and accessories and put 30 of their installers, a mix of internal resource and operatives who are contracted to the company from the Kier Group, through intensive training at their Exewater Depot in Exeter, Devon.
As part of the partnership agreement, AVT UK Sales Manager Jason Taylor, Installer Ewen Patrick and Sales Director Shawn Petty worked with R2M Valve Division Director Matt Harris to train the SWW and Kier Group employees to install the inline valve. Trainees received classroom instruction followed by hands-on training, during which they familiarised themselves with the installation process. SWW and Kier Group staff have 24/7 access to AVT and R2M Ltd. support and will carry out their first live installation with AVT or R2M expert oversight.
According to South West Water’s Mark Hillson (Director of Networks) additional employees will receive training to install AVT EZ Valves using the two installation kits which will be located at regional hubs and will serve customers across the South West and Bournemouth operating areas.
“We were eager to have access to the specialised kits so we could begin installing the valves ourselves,” he said. “With the exceptional training our field teams have received, we now are in a position to act much more quickly to emergency situations and will be better able to manage burst situations to offer even more reliable service and keep customers in supply”