It all started with The Spin Doctor. I almost called my blog, The Spin Doctor; but, because of the not-so-subtle and unsavory political nuances associated with the term “spin doctor”, Paulette and I decided on Infrastructure First. Paulette is my wife and the President of Tone Marketing LLC
What you may not know is that a Spin Doctor does exist for our industry; and, this spin doctor is responsible for one of most innovative and practical solutions to a major problem that is encountered every day in infrastructure management. The problem is defined by your question, “How do I collect accurate and verifiable information from the field regarding valves, hydrants, and mains?”
In 2000 Lynn Hurley, the founder and CEO of Hurco Technologies (HURCO),
was having diner with a customer in Minnesota. This customer had to turn in a bid for a valve exerciser to a city in Wisconsin and he asked if Lynn could build one for him? Now, Lynn has an extensive background in underground construction and he is one of those talented guys who can take an idea and turn it into a product quickly. For over 30 years Lynn has grown HURCO Technologies by inventing innovative products that solve problems common to all utility distribution and collection systems around the world.
Driving home from the meeting (Lynn lives in South Dakota) and starting from a sketch he had drawn on a table napkin at dinner, Lynn designed a hydraulic valve exerciser that would mount in the receiver trailer hitch on a pick-up truck. About three months later, HURCO produced its first valve exerciser. Since it had a verticle-double- articulated arm (think backhoe), and a hydraulic head that turned, or “spun” a valve wrench, Lynn named it The Spin Doctor.
At this point you might think the story would stop, but not so…Next, Lynn added GPS so the valves could be located on your GIS map and this led a small hand-held PDA type computer to collect the GPS location, the number of turns , the torque, etc..
Twelve years later, the little PDA computer has morphed into a powerful wireless hand-held PC.
Next came the icing on the cake – HURCO developed a comprehensive software program called the HURCO Infrastructure Management System (IMS) that automatically records GPS, Revolutions, Max Torque, Torque Log, Speed, and the condition of valves hydrants, and mains.
IMS also includes modules that works with Fire Flow Pro equipment developed by Lynn to support AWWA / NFPA Fire Flow Testing for hydrants, Unidirectional Flushing and c-Factor Testing of mains.
Over the years the original Spin Doctor design has been adapted to many configurations that meet the different needs of utilities. For example: The Spin doctor has been mounted on ATVs so it can reach places trucks can’t go – small streets, parks, resorts, sidewalks and soft terrain.
Valve boxes are usually full of dirt and often are buried under paving. So Lynn developed the HURCO Valve & Vac with a vacuum system, with 250 gallon +/- debris storage tank storage tank and pressure 3000 psi washer to cut the pavement, vacuum out the valve box, a Spin Doctor 800 Chrome Moly Boom with G5 Valve Star to exercise the valves, or hydrants, and a wireless hand-held computer to collect the data. The HURCO Valve & Vac can also be used to Soft-Dig for safe location of underground lines.
Because it automatically collects all the field data from these events and uploads directly to your infrastructure management database, the truth is HURCO’s IMS System and equipment eliminates any “spin” . This makes your IMS database “spin free”, accurate and verifiable; which of course, answers your question, “How do I collect accurate and verifiable information regarding valves, hydrants, and mains from the field?”.
Stay tuned to see what The Spin Doctor has up his sleeve next…