So many countries, so many customs… replace customs with challenges and you will see why it is important for us at TRACTO to work closely and confidently with our overseas sister companies. 

TRACTO UK has been an integral part of the TRACTO family since 1982. This sister company, with its headquarters in Bedford UK, was established to bring our established trenchless technologies to the UK market. It quickly became clear that the location in the UK could become more than just a sales and service base especially in the field of keyhole technology where TRACTO UK is considered to be a real innovator.

Exceptional innovation enables better customer service

One project that helped shape TRACTO UK's reputation for innovation excellence was 'iCore', developed in partnership with Scottish Gas Networks (SGN) and designed to quickly re-connect house connections following gas mains replacement. As one of the UK's largest gas suppliers, SGN operates a 74,000 km network of gas pipelines and services. One expensive and labour-intensive project was a 30-year programme to replace 7000 km of old grey cast iron pipes with durable PE pipes. A solution was needed to speed up the process and save costs. The know-how and expertise of the TRACTO team was solicited and the iCore system was conceived. 

An End-To-End-Keyhole solution

RUNDOCORE drilling unit to remove the asphalt surface and specially developed Long Handled Tools (LHT) for safe working on connections within the small excavation pit. The complete package makes it possible to use trenchless technology to replace and reconnect gas pipes and house connection pipes in a very short time frame. The unique solution helps to conserve resources and minimise waste as the small, circular hole (Keyhole) in the asphalt surface is sufficient as an excavation pit.

The Keyhole-Technology in brief

The job starts with the creation of the keyhole or the excavation pit. A round hole, 650mm in diameter, is cut out of the asphalt surface with the GRUNDOCORE coring unit. In England, this is often a real test for the TRACTO machine, as the asphalt layers are sometimes half a metre thick. A suction excavator then removes the spoil from the excavation pit to create access to the main pipe. Next, the mini drill rig is placed inside the keyhole, the bore head and the drill rods are inserted and the pilot bore can start. The product protection pipe is then pulled in, ready for connection to the main pipe. Connection is made with Long Handled Tool outside the excavation pit. The excavated material is reused as backfill and the original asphalt core is placed back into the keyhole and sealed with a special mortar mix.

From tailor-made
solution to market-ready system

The iCore solution from TRACTO UK offers enormous potential to the utilities sector and can be easily deployed worldwide thanks to a specially developed training programme. As such, TRACTO UK has made a positive contribution to the development of Keyhole technology and to the market acceptance of the concept; helping it to become well known globally. Today, the iCore system is being used and tested beyond the UK by other major utility companies, who have recognised the benefits of trenchless pipe installation, repair and maintenance through Keyhole techniques.

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British Expertise. Worldwide Influence

Brazil’s largest gas supplier, Comgás, uses the GRUNDOPIT KS50 and the Long Handled Tools to maintain its gas network sustainably. German water utility company, Hamburg Wasser, has added Long Handle Tools to its portfolio to carry out keyhole pipe repairs and Germany's largest telecommunications provider, Deutsche Telekom, is now testing the Keyhole technology to increase installation productivity with the introduction of Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Internet.

Long Handled Tools are now being used by Anglian Water as part of a pipe renewal programme with a GRUNDOBURST 400G.

The whole project was a great success thanks to TRACTO UK’s significant contribution. It has helped to increase awareness of trenchless installation technology worldwide and the great potential offered by the technology.

To offer a more comprehensive service throughout the UK, the company is expanding. In addition to the headquarters in Bedford, a service location in Staffordshire has been open since 2018 and, to provide customers in the far north of the UK with easy access to machines, training and accessories, another location was opened in Scotland in 2020.
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