TDT Plumbing is known for pushing in-place pipe repair forward as they’ve pioneered epoxy pipe coating and cured in-place pipe repair. Now, TDT is pushing forward again with Picote pipe lining. It’s a resin lining breakthrough, and there’s a lot to know about it. And that’s why we’re joined by TDT Plumbing’s Gary Gould.
Gary, in a nutshell, what exactly is Picote pipe coating?
Picote is a relatively new technology in application. It’s a applicator. And so, what we’re able to do now is address types of pipes that maybe other applications are not able to line or pneumatically coat. And it’s basically a brushing on system, a system of coating inside of pipes, epoxy using a brush application.
Picote is as much a description as the name of it.
Okay. How does this process differentiate? I mean, what is the difference? This is a resin-base process. How is that different?
Well, the resin is very similar. Epoxy coatings have long been characterized for anti-corrosion, anti-erosion, and basically a way to seal the inside of lines and prevent leaks, prevent contamination and leeching of metals into water. But the Picote itself is an application of spinning that resin and laying a coating inside of a round tube.
And what’s nice about it for us is it hits diameters of pipe that sometimes are a little too small for lining, using the CIPP process, and sometimes they’re too big for using, let’s say, our e-pipe technology. Because it’s done, it’s just in stagnant pressure. It doesn’t need high volumes of air. It’s just a easier way to get epoxy into certain types of pipes.
What I see, the way you’re describing it, is it’s like a set of brushes that are spinning, and as it’s spinning, it’s pushing this resin out onto the pipe.
That is correct. We have a canister of resins. It’s a two-part epoxy that mixes, and it’s pumped to a head, and then this head just spins at a fairly decent RPM, and as it’s spinning, we can use a video camera and we can watch how it applies and it fills all the nooks and crannies, and basically completely coats the inside of the pipe.
And we will put multiple coats. We’ll build a base over two or three or even four coats in order to get a nice, thick, smooth coating on the inside of the pipe.
It sounds to me like you push it all the way through, and then you pull it back as you do this. Is that right?
Absolutely. Really, the difficult part is that we got to come in and we get the line very, very clean, and we descale it. All of this is done using this equipment with various attachments. We can heat the lines, and then, if we need to, we can sandblast. But then you install the delivery apparatus all the way in, and you start that epoxy mixing. And then once you start coating, as you’re pulling back, you’re able to see the resin bundled up and as you pull back, you’re applying that coating.
And it certainly helps you from getting all your equipment all gooey by going to the opposite direction. If we pushed in, it would all get resin everywhere.
Yeah, that would… Man, I could see where that would be difficult. What is the difference, then, Gary, between Picote and e-pipe? Because it sounds like they’re both using an epoxy resin.
Right. The end result is very, very similar. Both are applying an epoxy to the inside of a tube or a pipe, sealing it, preventing corrosion, erosion, et cetera. But the differences are the e-pipe epoxy, we do much smaller pipe; three-eighths of an inch, half inch, one inch. And when you get to about three inches, it starts to get more difficult and it requires a heck of a lot of air.
The Picote system really, one-and-a-half or two inches, that’s as small as you can go. Now, it’s overlapping the technologies, but it doesn’t require high volumes of air. And then, when you get to two, three, four, six-inch, the Picote loves that environment, so we can do these bigger pipes, whether they’re sewer lines, whether they’re storm drains, whether they’re gas pipes or domestic water, drinking water pipes, that’s a good place for it. And we like those diameters, right? We, as in TDT Plumbing, we like this size because it’s used in buildings and homes and what-have-you.
But it sounds to me like the applications for this are more likely to be commercial and municipal, larger applications and not so much residential, though.
Well, it could be, and it depends. Domestic water lines for residential pipes are too small. But when you get into a building or you get onto a platform or you get into office building or condo complex, something that has that bigger pipe, it’s perfect with the application. If you’re doing sewer and drain lines, well, your home has three and four-inch; two, three and four-inch sewer and drain lines under it.
That’s a good application. It’s very strong in that application. We worked on a project down at NASA a few weeks ago, and it was the grease lines in one of their cafeterias. And those are two, three, and four, and even up to six-inch diameters. So, that’s a little bit of residential and then a little bit of commercial, all in one place.
It’s a whole lot of grease at NASA!
Oh, yeah. It was horrible. That place has been in business, the cafeteria for, let’s say, 60 years.
I was going to say, well over 50!
Yeah. So, you’re at 60 years, and the four-inch pipes were 95%-plus clogged.
Oh, my. Yeah.
Clogged. You’re talking about, you could drop a pencil down the center of what was flowing, and that’s clearly why they were having so many problems.
That building is ready for a cath!
Yeah, they shut down the building, and I’ll tell you, you spend 80, 90% of your time cleaning and prepping to come in with the process that will take care of the pipe permanently, in a matter of hours.
I’m glad you said that, because my last question for you… This sounds like a great solution. But how long does it take? I mean, how long will a pipe be out of service with Picote?
Well, the less extreme conditions, we can come in in a half a day or morning, get the pipe clean, then apply the coating. We can apply the next coating within about an hour and a half, and if there’s a third or more coatings, we kind of space them out.
The return to service is as early as next day. So, depending on the environment, we have to understand downtime necessary for the client; we have to have access ready, so it has a very, very strong, fast return to service when you compare it to anything out there. Re-pipe, especially if it’s under a building or in a wall, it is fast. And we can put water on fast, so this is good in the environment where we have domestic water. Basically within a day or so.
This must be a very fast-curing epoxy, then, if it’s curing in that much time.
Yeah. It is a fast-curing. It’s similar to our e-pipe resin. All of these types of resins, between three to eight hours, and they can be back in service. We see those type of dry times.
It’s definitely application-specific. We look at the parameters around the project just to make sure that we have everything in line and ready. But one of the things we did in a recent project down at a power plant, on a domestic water line, is we force-cured it by adding warmer air onto the product. One of the things that we’re able to do is kind of manipulate and get the resin to cure a little quicker by blowing 120-degree air on it, rather than letting it sit at 70 degrees for six hours.
We can speed that curing time up. It’s very, very nice and easy to work with, and that’s one of the things that we like, being able to manipulate it and work with it well.
One of the advantages of working with TDT is Gary understands the DNA of this stuff, and can find those ways of innovating to push it forward and make the product work even better than maybe the manufacturer ever intended. You said now, Gary, that it’s similar to e-pipe epoxy, but different.
Correct. So, the e-pipe epoxy and those patented processes are performed in particular manner consistent with that process. This is completely different. Instead of being pneumatically blown in, again, it’s mechanically put on by brushing a spin-casting type method.
As far as that goes, it’s completely different application, and it bridges over to different-sized pipes that work well for us. But epoxies themselves are very characterized. Most epoxies are two or three-part epoxies; it is a two-part epoxy similar to e-pipe; different chemistry slightly, but very, very similar in many ways.
Those are some of the differences between the two technologies, and for us, we’re very excited about how we’re able to apply it in areas that, before, we had no chance. We couldn’t make the turns, or we couldn’t get into the lines. And it also brings sewer, storm, electrical conduit; it brings other types of pipes in that before, we were not able to do with e-pipe.
Like e-pipe, you’re creating a pipe within a pipe.
Absolutely. You’re sealing it off completely from the inside.
Picote pipe coating is a quick, simple, practical way to coat pipes, and TDT Plumbing has it available right now, as Gary has heard, and you’ve heard some actual applications of it. Gary, thanks for joining us!
Thank you, Charlie.
Learn more about Picote pipe coating and all of the TDT Plumbing pipe restoration options here at TDTPlumbing.com.