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Talking Trenchless with Andrew Mollison

Trenchless Australasia speaks to Spoutvac Australia General Manager Andrew Mollison about his time in the trenchless industry and the technology that Spoutvac brings to the Australian market.

Can you tell us about your background and how you got involved in the trenchless industry?

I worked in the automotive industry until 1999, concentrated on alternative fuel systems, such as LPG and natural gas for passenger vehicles, fork lifts and trucks. Following that, I was employed as the Manufacturing Manager at Regent Pumps.

After two years in that role, I became division manager for Advanced Pressure Technologies, which was a competitor to Spoutvac at the time. In addition, I was also the Division Manager for a fire pump set manufacturing business.

In 2005, I purchased this business from Regent Pumps and moved it from Braeside to Dandenong, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. After 18 months, I was approached by a competitor with an offer to buy the business and subsequently sold it
to them.

I continued to run the business for the next three years to fill an exclusion clause in the sale agreement. I was then offered a position back with Regent Pumps as General Manager, which I accepted.

Following that, I became Group General Manager of five companies – including Spoutvac – as well as the Managing Director of Regent Dynamics, a building maintenance company specialising in the fire protection industry.

In 2015, I resigned from all roles except Regent Dynamics and Spoutvac; Spoutvac now had become very busy and I needed to devote more time to it.

Historically, Spoutvac machines were used to clean sewer and storm water drains. Around ten years ago, it started to incorporate digging pumps into the machines, making them a true combination vacuum, drain cleaning and hydro excavation tool.

What’s your role at Spoutvac?

As General Manager, I focus on business growth, productivity and clients. I have a terrific team of staff, so the day to day running of the business is supported by these people.

Spoutvac’s production schedule is full until late August; managing clients’ orders for on-time delivery is very important to me.

Can you tell me a little about Spoutvac?

Spoutvac Industries Pty Ltd was formed in October 1987 as Australia’s first major manufacturer of industrial vacuum and water jetting systems.

As a leader in vacuum loading and high-pressure water jetting technologies applications, Spoutvac specialises in the design of mobile solutions for the environment, industrial cleaning, material handling, hydro excavation, and drain and sewer cleaning.

In addition to manufacture, Spoutvac offers full service facility and over AU$2 million in spare parts.

What technology does Spoutvac offer its clients?

As well as manufacturing our own machines, Spoutvac are the sole Australian agent for a number of ranges of trenchless machinery, including Kroll recycling vacuum and drain cleaning equipment, Vac-tron equipment, Proteus CCTV equipment and RSP dry suction excavation equipment.

Kroll brings German technology to Australia, providing one of the most efficient combination water recycling trucks to the municipal market. This unit features a debris tank with a capacity of up to 7,700 L and offers a payload of up to 7,200 kg, while the water tank has a capacity of up to 5,800 L.

The vacuum is supplied by the German built CVS WR4000 vacuum pump, which gives 4,000 m3/hr, and the drain cleaning is provided by the Pratissoli water pump, which can achieve 346 L/m at 170 bar. As with most combination trucks in the Australian market, we provide this unit with a standalone hydro excavation system, supplying 20 L/m at 275 bar.

Our line of Vac-Tron equipment offers industrial vacuums, potholing, day lighting, hydro-excavation, and air excavation equipment.

This equipment can also be used for directional drill slurry removal, power pole setting, manhole and culvert clean out, lateral and storm drain clean out, clean up applications – including industrial, waste, lift station, oil spill and other natural disaster clean up.

Spoutvac offers custom made solutions to suit most applications when using the Proteus CCTV camera equipment range, which utilises a variety of crawlers and accessories, is also available for demonstration.

Spoutvac are proud to now offer the German built RSP product, known as the market leader in fan-operated suction excavation equipment. This technology is different from most other vacuum equipment in the Australian market.

Its major advantages include the volume of air you can move with a fan-based suction system, as well as its ability to vacuum excavate dry material without the use of water. It is the most powerful vacuum unit available in Australia and is able to produce up to 42,000 m3/hr of air, with a vacuum pressure of 11.8 hg.

All products mentioned above are either manufactured by Spoutvac, or the company has the exclusive agency over.

Is Trenchless Technology becoming more popular in Australasia?

No doubt. With government infrastructure spend suiting our range of manufactured and turnkey imported products, as well as utility and communication companies being very reluctant to mechanically digging around their assets, this lends itself to a bright future in hydro excavation and dry suction equipment.

Has Spoutvac machinery been used on any memorable projects?

Many Spoutvac machines were used in the rehabilitation of Christchurch in New Zealand after the earthquakes. Among many other projects, our machines have been used in the clean-up work in Queensland after the floods, for the Tullamarine widening project in Melbourne and rail level crossing works across Victoria.

How have you seen the industry change and what are your predictions for the future?

There has been a change from using a mechanical excavator to work around assets to the use of non-destructive equipment. This has had an impact on Spoutvac – four years ago, we were building machines for stock, today we are booked out 26 weeks in advance.

In the future, I expect a greater reliance on the RSP dry suction equipment in civil works, as it can unload the fill back onto the site and reducing landfill.

Spoutvac is focused on reducing our delivery times and hope to be able to put our manufactured machines back into stock soon. We are also increasing our stock holding of imported products.

This article was featured in the March edition of Trenchless Australasia. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet, or mobile device, click here.

For more information visit the Spoutvac website.

If you have a project you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Journalist Chloe Jenkins at cjenkins@gs-press.com.au

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