Regardless of the setting, whether it’s a home, a restaurant or a business premises, one thing is for sure: every drainage system needs occasional maintenance, either cleaning and/ or unblocking and for that you want a quick but efficient solution that leaves the pipes clean and free-flowing as if they were new.
Some homeowners would tackle odours or slow-flowing drains by pouring chemicals down the pipes to kill domestic blockages like grease or food waste, soap or hair residues. Short term, these chemicals are a health, environmental and safety hazard; long term, this practice won’t solve the issue. On the contrary, it could damage the drains considerably. It’s a given that at some point in time, thorough cleaning of these drains becomes a must and a much more substantial job.
Restaurants and businesses centres
Restaurants and other premises with high footfall may have issues with grease, limescale or uric stone built-ups in their drainage systems – for example, hotel bathrooms or public toilets in big shopping malls or business centres.
Tree roots can also be problematic as they seek the easiest way to source for their growth. Sometimes these drainage issues can cause smells, can saturate concrete floors, or flood underfloor voids. Root intrusion reduces flow and can potentially cause a blockage in drainage systems and gutters.
When RIDGID designed the new FlexShaft machine, one of the biggest goals was to bring real added value to professional drain cleaners. A machine that would tackle most soft blockages, clean pipe walls, do the job in a short time and with minimal effort or set-up, and allow the camera inside the pipe while cleaning, would become a real value-bringer.
One of the primary advantages of the two small FlexShaft machines is portability. The K9-102 weighs about 11kg, while K9-204 weighs 17kg – they are easy to carry around just about anywhere. FlexShaft machines are powered by widely used 18-volt battery-powered drills, so there’s no need to deal with power cords. All machines come with two chain knockers that expand as they rotate to clean the entire circumference of a pipe.
The latest addition to the FlexShaft range is the K9-306, featuring 38m of 10mm cable. It’s less playing in the portability field, but more in the power field – the machine weighs around 72 kg. K9-306 is a heavy-duty machine equipped with an internal universal motor powered with I-Clutch technology. The i-Clutch protects the cable by stalling the motor when you encounter a hard blockage. The drum is, just like the other FlexShaft machines, fully enclosed to keep the job site as clean as possible. The K9-306 aims a minimise set-up and clean up time. It has a telescoping handle, multiple wheels and grabs points to make loading, unloading, transporting, and storage of the machine easier.
FlexShaft is a new style of drain cleaner; all these machines clean drains at high speed. What makes FlexShaft specifically useful is that it utilises a very flexible shaft that can not only bend, but also still rotates. The fact it rotates within an outer sheath makes it also safer and cleaner during operation, as the hands don’t touch rotating cables and debris isn’t thrown around while doing a clean-out.
FlexShaft accessories – chain knockers
The benefits of using a chain knocker in the cleaning process is that the chains expand due to the high-speed rotation and centrifugal force, allowing grease and sludge to be hit off the walls of the pipe, rather than poking a hole in the blockage.
Evidently, selection of the correct tool for the blockage remains crucial for success. RIDGID has a wide chain knocker and brush offering for different types of blockages and different types of pipe material.
A chain knocker with smooth chains can be used for soft blockages, such as grease and soap. These chain knockers work in all pipe types, from PVC to cast iron.
A chain knocker with carbide tipped chains is much more aggressive and can be used for tougher blockages such as limescale and uric scale build-ups. Also, light roots can be tackled best with this type of chain knocker. As their action is much more aggressive, you need to be very careful while using these chain knocker types in softer pipe materials such as PVC.
The latest addition to the chain knocker accessory range is penetrating head and carbide tipped chains. These chain knockers can help you to better penetrate the heaviest build-ups of grease and soap or to break apart soft blockages like wet wipes and light tree roots. Again, use these chain knockers with care, as they are an aggressive cleaning tool, especially in softer pipe materials such as PVC.
FlexShaft accessories – brushes
Besides the more aggressive tools like chain knockers, FlexShaft can also be combined with brush add-ons. These brushes, both nylon or nylon/steel, can be used as a cleaning action after a chain knocker cycle or simply as a cleaning tool in the more fragile pipe types. For example, you can use a FlexShaft with a nylon brush while cleaning ventilation pipes as these type of pipes often need gentle cleaning. Nylon/steel brushes may be more convenient for light grinding clean-out of polluted pipe walls or for preparing a PVC pipe before CIPP renovation.
Wall-to-wall clean combined with simultaneous pipe inspection
When compared to other drain cleaning products in the RIDGID range, FlexShaft models are smaller, lighter and more flexible, making them easier to set up and operate. Additionally, because the cable rotates within the sheath, they also enable the simultaneous use of a camera while performing the drain/ pipe cleaning job which proves to be a true time-saver.
FlexShaft can be advantageous to use over other drain cleaning methods as it cleans drains without needing a water or power supply, which minimises set-up time. Certainly, when you’re considering drain cleaning jobs in confined spaces, very public or hygienic areas and hard-to-reach jobs, FlexShaft is the best option.
While other RIDGID mechanical tools certainly have their place in the van, FlexShaft machines are a light, powerful, clean, and effective new method to clean drains in a multitude of situations and can serve as an excellent additional tool in multiple industrial drain cleaning applications.