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The FlexShaft Effect

13 May, 2021

Regardless of the setting, whether it’s a home, a restaurant or a business premise, one thing is known for sure: every drainage system needs occasional maintenance. For that, you want a quick, but efficient solution that leaves the pipes clean and free-flowing as if they were new.

Residential Buildings

Some homeowners would tackle 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, 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 Business Centers

Restaurants put undue stress on their drain systems with grease and food waste they process and discard daily. Other premises with a lot of traffic passing through, may have issues with limescale or uric stone built-ups in their drainage systems. (hotel bathrooms, public sanitary in big shopping and business centers)

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.

FlexShaft For The Win

When RIDGID designed the new FlexShaft machine, one of the biggest goals was to bring real added value to the 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, allow the camera inside the pipe while cleaning, would become a real value-bringer to the professionals’ business.

Flexshaft proved to be nothing less than just that, a value bringer.

One of the primary advantages of the two small FlexShaft machines is portability. The K9-102 weighs about 11 kg, while K9-204 weighs 17 kg – they are easy to carry around just about anywhere. Besides, FlexShaft machines are powered by a widely used 18-volt battery-powered drill, 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 last addition to the FlexShaft range is the K9-306 featuring 38m of 10mm cable. It’s less playing in the portability field, but more playing 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 K9-306 aims a minimize 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 utilizes a very flexible shaft that can bend, but also still rotates. The fact that FlexShaft is cleaner in operation is more convenient especially when customers might have already used an arsenal of chemicals. The splatters are much more contained when the cable doesn’t spin in the open, making it safer for the operator.

FlexShaft Accessories – Chain Knockers

The selection of the correct tool for the blockage remains crucial for success on the job site. 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 built-ups. Also, light roots can be tackled best with these type of chain knockers. As their action is much more aggressive, one needs to be very careful while using these chain knocker types in softer pipe materials, such as PVC. When used in these cases, avoid keeping the carbide tipped chain knockers in one place, to not damage the pipe walls.

The latest addition to the chain knocker accessory range is the chain knocker with penetrating head and carbide tipped chains. These chain knockers can help you to better penetrate the heaviest built-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 as nylon/ steel, can be used as a cleaning action after a chain knocker passing 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

A FlexShaft allows a camera to be fed into the drain just behind the chain knocker at the same time the cleaning action occurs. This can be very helpful as it allows contractors/ operators to see exactly what blocks or contaminates the pipe, enabling them to adjust their cleaning method if needed and see if the cleanout is a success. Having the camera inside the line at the same time means a huge advantage in time spent on the job.

FlexShaft can be advantageous to use over other drain cleaning methods as they clean drains without a water supply needed, which is a lot less set-up hassle. Certainly, when you’re considering drain cleaning jobs in narrow spaces, very public or hygienic spaces and hard-to-reach spaces FlexShaft is your best option.

It’s for sure that the other RIDGID mechanical drain cleaners remain their spot in the drain cleaners’ van. But it’s clear that FlexShaft machines are a light, powerful, clean, and effective new method to clean drains in a multitude of situations and it can serve as an excellent additional tool in multiple industrial drain cleaning applications.

To purchase or learn more about FlexShaft machines or other drain cleaning solutions, contact your local distributor, visit RIDGID.com, or call +32 11 598 620.