Modec has been a provider and market leader of portable valve operating systems for many years. These systems are used across a broad spectrum of industry, and the water distribution sector has used Modec systems for many years to operate the underground valves that are part of these distribution systems.

A key part of this service provision is maintaining the pipe network and carrying out repairs when necessary. Water supply pipes are predominantly concentrated in urban areas, with the block valves that control water flow situated in the middle of busy roads and streets.

Whenever operation technicians need to open a valve for maintenance or repair, they are working in areas of heavy traffic – with all the dangers that involves.

Equally, much of the water supply pipe network is very old, and many of the original manual block valves (opened and closed by turning an iron rod inserted in the hand-wheel) have deteriorated over time, becoming more difficult to manoeuvre.

This means that operators are having to exert greater force to open the valves, increasing the threat of repetitive strain injury – notably tennis elbow – as well as the risk of opening the block valve too quickly and creating a water hammer effect which can cause serious damage in a water supply system.

System operators are seeking a way to manage these valves that offers greater protection to both operators and the overall water system.

Modec have adapted portable valve actuators to fulfil this requirement.  Rather than two operators exerting equal pressure on each end of an iron rod fixed to the hand-wheel, the procedure requires just one operator to set up the tool and hold it in place.

The technician is stationary, therefore better able to observe the traffic, and there is no risk of occupational strain or injury as the portable actuator is doing all the hard work. It also does the work in around half the time!

The other major advantage is that it opens and closes the block valves at a controlled speed, thereby eliminating the danger of water hammer which can prove so costly. It will also simply stop turning if the force applied threatens to break the valve.

Health and safety is a major issue for system operators – both the safety of their personnel working on busy roads, and the safety of their equipment – and Modec is pleased to work with companies to find a unique solution to their needs.

These portable actuators help to improve the security of both their employees and their supply system, while at the same time improving operational efficiency.

Through research and feedback from this sector, Modec has now created a standard “kit” for use in operating these underground valves.

This standard kit was formed within Modec to develop offerings that address specific applications in the water industry, paying particular attention to the development of solutions that address common issues that are seen globally throughout this sector.

This partner content is brought to you by Field Machine Tools (FMT). For more information, call 1300 FMT FMT (368 368), email [email protected], or visit

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