Since the Acrobat machine line was launched for polypropylene (PP) pipe, it was quickly recognized as a tool that could be very useful on polyethylene (PE) pipe installations. Because PP jobs are typically indoor installations in very tight working environments, the Acrobat was designed with a small footprint and it is extremely lightweight compared to its PE machine counterparts. Yet there are many occasions that PE jobs are presented with the same space challenges.

Our team — Mike Pacheco, Manager of Product Innovation, and Brett Stone, Sales Channel Manager — found the perfect opportunity to showcase the capabilities of the lightweight Acrobat last year when a contractor consulted with them on a PE pipe job for the expansion of a sugar beet processing plant in North Dakota. Fusion Technologies was tasked with tying in 17, 8” DR17 lines to a pump house for methane gas collection. It was a challenging situation because the lines were all clustered together leaving little room for an operator to get between the lines to fuse pipe.

“We needed a fusion machine that would be small and compact enough to fit in between the adjacent lines and valves as well as light enough to be carried by hand,” said Casey Britton, Operations Manager, Fusion Technologies.

Initially, they were using a DynaMc® 28 HP (Hand Pump), a great, rugged and compact machine but perhaps not the best application when there are a lot of fusions to do in a very tight space. In this case, they had 76 fusions to do in a couple of days which would be a lot for a hand pump.

Pacheco suggested to them right away, “You really need an Acrobat.”

The weight and dimension comparisons are striking. The DynaMc carriage weighs 155 pounds while the slimmer Acrobat carriage is just 54 pounds for the 4-jaw configuration and 38 pounds for the 3-jaw. Also consider the carriage dimensions: 34x26x23.5 (DynaMc) to 30x18x17 (Acrobat 4-jaw).

Stone and Pacheco arranged to send a high-force Acrobat 250 overnight. The contractor gave it a try and it worked out beautifully. Two fusion technicians were able to complete the project in four days.

At one point in their exchange, Britton messaged Pacheco with fantastic news, “I’m grateful for this machine!” he said. He found the Acrobat to be versatile and light and quick to assemble and position.

“The Acrobat 250 is very easy to operate as the controls on the manifold block are identical to most of McElroy’s hydraulic fusion machines. The Acrobat 250 also creates the crispest and cleanest joint reports you could ask for,” he said.

Britton said the project had a level of complexity that required careful planning and calculation for each offset tie-in to come together efficiently and with aesthetic appeal. The Acrobat played an instrumental role in helping them meet their project goal which was to set the bar high in what their customers’ could expect from a fusion contractor.

“This project really showcases the Acrobat and its benefits in the PE world,” Pacheco said.

Learn more about McElroy’s Acrobat product line for PE pipe on our overview page. You can also use our Acrobat Selection Tool to find the best Acrobat and Hydraulic Power Unit (HPU) for your next job.

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