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Conduit Repair Systems: Protecting Your Underground Distribution Infrastructure

Seven years ago, a technician for a major cable TV company was attempting to repair a damaged underground cable television conduit.  While in the open trench, he noticed how difficult it was to repair the broken PVC pipe with the existing products and equipment used for such repairs.

The technician began to question, ?Why is the repair process so difficult?  Isn?t there a product that could easily, quickly, and completely repair a broken PVC pipe without sawing a piece of conduit in half, or having to use duct tape or wire ties to hold the repaired pipe together?  Or in most cases, is there a way to avoid disconnecting service, pulling the cables out, digging the pipe up 30 feet in each direction, making the proper repair, and then pulling in new cable to complete the repair?  Why are such small breaks causing so many wasted hours??

He thought to himself, ?There must be a better way!?

Luckily, he knew someone with whom he could share his ideas.  His father-in-law, and engineer by trade, was able to envision the product his son-in-law sought to create, and together they came up with an idea to simplify the conduit repair process.  They designed a split conduit that snaps and locks together having the same inside diameter of standard PVC pipe.  They also designed split couplings that snap and lock together, thus allowing the split conduit to be easily and securely attached to the ends of the regular PVC pipe.  These products now belong to the family of products of Conduit Repair Systems, Inc.

Over time, this revolutionary product has since found many other applications.  Not only is the product great for repairs but also has been very useful in enclosing short runs of fiber optics and other existing cables, transferring overhead service to underground, and a number of other specialized uses.

Paul Clove, chief operating officer of Conduit Repair Systems, said, ?One of the key factors in our rapid growth has been that the product has a much wider use than the cable TV market we had first anticipated.  Today our products are not only being used by cable TV companies, but also by the nations leading power companies, many municipal power providers, electrical contractors, telephone companies, and many other firms with underground distribution networks.?

According to Clove, people call almost daily suggesting new uses for the product.

?Some of the more interesting uses of the product we have heard of include enclosing cables that run across bridges, for use as pole risers, and for covering exposed cables in lakes that normally are covered by water, but due to drought conditions have become exposed,? said Clove.

The process of using the product for repairs is relatively simple: cut away the broken pipe making sure that the edges are clean and square, repair the damaged cable if necessary, cut the split conduit pieces to fit the damaged area, snap the two pieces of split conduit together, and snap the split adapter couplings on each end of the repair.

?The high durability and ease of fast ?snap? installation of CRS? split duct conduit has impressed many of our customers,? said Marc Savage, OSP manager of Teltek Sales, a distributor of the company?s products based in Philadelphia, PA.  ?These qualities are what appeal to our end-users in comparison to standard split conduit.?

With the amount of underground distribution infrastructure in place throughout the world, backhoes and other equipment can cause major damage to underground networks.  In the past, utilities of all types generally had to disconnect service until the repairs were complete, causing lost revenue and unhappy customers.

During this downtime, if the conduit was broken but the cable itself was not damaged, crews would have to disconnect service, pull the cable out so the broken pipe could be repaired, and then re-run the cable so service could be reinstated.  Now with the snap together split conduit, the damaged pipe can be cut away and the split pipe snapped into place, saving many hours of labor and service downtime.

?The key is the snap,? said Clove.  ?Once the conduit is snapped together, it is as good as the original pipe.?

With the snap together split conduit, this should eliminate most repair situations that cause extended service outages, pulling and re-running cable to make the repair, and should also help crews be more efficient and ultimately allow for more satisfied customers.

Repairs are not the only use for the split duct.  Other uses include enclosing short runs of fiber optics, and in new growth areas where service sometimes must be moved from overhead to underground.  In both of these instances, the split conduit can be laid open-faced in the ground.  Cable can then be laid carefully into the pipe and easily enclosed by snapping the other half of the conduit into place.  This prevents service disconnection and unnecessary handling and pulling of delicate cables such as fiber optics.

Other products by CRS include split couplings, split adapter couplings, split 45- and 90- degree sweeps, and prepackaged conduit repair kits.  All of their products are standard schedule 40 PVC products and have been specifically designed for power and communications applications.

?Our prepackaged repair kits have been one of our hottest items,? said Clove.  ?The repair kits come with the split pipe and split adapter couplings necessary to handle most small repair projects.  Our customers like the convenience of warehousing and transporting a small prepackaged kit that will fix many of their smaller repairs.?

For customers who use large quantities of the split conduit products, the product is sold in bulk in 10-foot lengths.  Bulk shipments generally ship on a pallet and can be delivered anywhere in the continental United States within five business days.

The products are available in 1? inch, 1? inch, 2 inch, 2? inch, 3 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch, and 6 inch sizes.

?CRS? products are one of a kind,? said Clove.  ?Nowhere else can you find products like this.?

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