On Jan. 13, PipeLine Machinery International (PLM), the first Caterpillar dealership without geographic borders, held a grand opening of the company’s new equipment yard and a working demonstration of the DECKHAND Pipe Handling System, exclusively distributed by PLM.
(Editor’s note: This article appears courtesy of our sister publication, Underground Construction.)
The open house welcomed nearly 140 customers, vendors, industry media, and Mustang CAT, a sister company, who viewed the equipment demonstration and had lunch.
PLM provides equipment support to the mainline pipeline construction industry operating around the globe. From renting a pipelayer to buying multiple spreads of equipment, PLM provide solutions for pipeline customers.
According to Ted Hill, PLM’s chief financial officer, the company began exploring its options for a more permanent facility in 2008 and began actual construction in 2010. The project took approximately six months to complete.
“PLM was leasing yard space near the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, but we soon realized that we needed our own facility closer to the corporate office located in northwest Houston,” said Hill. “That area is a growing part of Houston and PLM’s new yard facility is now better positioned for that growth.”
The equipment yard will employ five people in the 80- by 120-foot shop complete with drive-through service bays, a 10-ton overhead crane, a 3,200 square foot secure parts storage facility and office spaces. A five-acre, graveled pad storage area with capacity for 150 units and double loading ramps for step deck and standard trailers are also part of the design.
“A state-of-the-art equipment wash bay is designed to conserve, clarify and reuse water,” explained Hill. “Now we have the ability to clean up and make minor repairs to the machines on site that are for rent or for shipping overseas.”
Visitors also had the chance to view the DECKHAND Pipe Handling System by LaValley Industries in operation.
The DECKHAND uses an excavator’s hydraulics to safely and efficiently load or unload pipe from a trailer, pipe rack, or from a drill rig. The system consists of the main head, which mounts to most excavators, as any other work tool, using the Quick Attach function. The controls are located on special handles mounted to excavator joystick controls. Rotate function allows for 360-degree continuous rotation of lower head and beam in both directions. A shift function allows arm housings to move along the main beam 5.5 inches and move left to right independent of each other or in unison. Tilt function allows for 19 degrees of tilt in both directions. The grab arm function is used to pick up pipe and hold it firmly to the attachment. The DECKHAND boasts 30,000 pounds of lift-capacity at 3,000 PSI maximum working pressure.
Jason LaValley, who was on hand to answer questions and provide insight on the machinery, stressed that safety is a key design of the DECKHAND. The system doesn’t require any labor assistance while handling drill pipe. A ground crew doesn’t need to be in close proximity to moving pipe in order to line it up, stabilize it and sometimes to clear it of snow or mud debris.”
LaValley Industries LLC is a family owned and operated attachment company with headquarters based in Bemidji, MN.