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Harris Pye & Bulldog Marine - AbVac Case Study

Global maritime and offshore oil and gas engineering company Harris Pye, recently completed a major refurbishment project on North Sea drilling rig, the Ocean Guardian. The shot blasting work was undertaken by Bulldog Marine, the marine engineering specialist, using three AbVacs to retrieve all the spent shot and dust for off-site disposal:

“We vacuumed up about 200 tons of grit - I would definitely use them again.”


Avoidance of escaping dust made top priority


Local port authorities had insisted that because around 129170 ft. cu. of expendable abrasive was going to be used to remove rust and clean the surfaces of the rig’s underside back to bare metal, the whole working area had to be sealed in, so no dust or spent shot could escape into the atmosphere or quayside waters. So besides sealing off the work site, all the dust and spent grit was vacuumed up and collected by three AbVac industrial vacuum units, deployed for their ability to keep everything fully enclosed from the nozzle and 60 metre suction hoses, to the skips collecting the waste.


Why AbVac



Bulldog Marine’s owner, Alfie Bullock, had heard good things about the AbVac from colleagues in the shot blasting business: “I’d been told these machines were very good, and they sounded ideal for this particular job as we had to ensure the spent grit and any related waste and dust was all collected from within the working area.

“I also knew that the AbVacs only needed 32-amp welding sockets for their power, which is much more convenient than other machines that need 63 amp sockets. You can also move the AbVac around with a forklift, so you don’t have to wait for 3-4 hours before a crane is available to do the lifting.”

Bulldog Marine’s man in charge on site was Joe Brown: “At first we planned to have the three AbVac units on the quayside and pull the grit down 30 metres into the skips beneath them, but the rig had enough spare room on the deck for them.

“This meant the units were only sucking along a maximum length of 10 meters, giving us more flexibility which made it much easier for us.”

AbVacs are frequently used with suction hoses over much longer distances without any loss of suction power.


100% reliable, night after night


The Ocean Guardian refurbishment schedule was punishing, and shot blasting had to be undertaken day and night 24/7 in shifts. The AbVacs were expected to keep up a high work rate for the duration of the project, as Joe explained: “We were blasting through the dayshift and recovering all the grit on the nightshift.”

The grit was collected by using the AbVacs with skips which were then lowered by crane for onward disposal of the waste: “We placed the three AbVac units in skips with their legs up, and each morning we would lift them out and remove the skips to the quayside for removal by local disposal experts.”


Reputation well deserved


Joe was very conscious that the tight schedule didn’t allow for down time or stoppages due to failure “We only used two machines and kept one as a backup or spare! We vacuumed up about 180 tonnes of grit, and the workers told me they were very happy with the machines, as they normally use less powerful units from another company.”

“Owner Alfie Bullock had ordered the AbVac units as he had heard they were good and just what we needed for a big job like this one. As the person in charge on site, I was certainly happy with them and would definitely use them again.”

Key features


  • Powerful suction unit for the heavier workload.
  • Removes anything from dust up to 2" debris.
  • Easy to operate, fast and quiet in operation.
  • Labour saving, requires minimal maintenance & small footprint.
  • Fitted with forklift sleeves so fully mobile.
  • Collected material disposed directly into skips or bulk bags ready for recycling or disposal.
  • Exceptional filtration levels ensure dust-free collection.
  • Operated via a standard 32 amps 3 phase power supply.
  • Range of flexible hoses, tools and extensions – no area is inaccessible.
  • Can also be used for powering centralized pipework systems around multi-level sites.
  • Available for long or short-term hire, or for purchase.

Key benefits



Waste removal with an AbVac is faster, easier and more efficient, because less time is spent by operators cleaning, and downtime is significantly reduced. Large deposits can be sucked up quickly and if the material is of value it can easily be recovered and reused.

Put an end to back-breaking manual collection. With fully enclosed recovery and highly advanced filters, harmful dusts are instantly removed and safely contained.

Airblast AFC is recommended and trusted by hundreds of companies from a whole range of industrial sectors for our experience, quality and reliability, service and support.


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