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HammerHead Trenchless Equipment Celebrates 25th Year

The HammerHead Mole, a pneumatic piercing tool that can install a new pipe with “smaller holes, fewer trenches,” was designed in 1989 by an earth-piercing tool owner and two design engineers.

Mon August 25, 2014 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Challenged to name a market-leading tool that got its start as a prototype built in the family garage, most people might list the personal computer. Ask a utility installer or pipe rehabilitation contractor the same question, and the answer might be in the back of the company truck. The HammerHead Mole, a pneumatic piercing tool that can install a new pipe with “smaller holes, fewer trenches,” was designed in 1989 by an earth-piercing tool owner and two design engineers with an entrepreneurial passion for making tools easier to use, simpler to service and more reliably productive.

Now a market-leading manufacturer of underground pipe installation and rehabilitation solutions, HammerHead celebrated its 25th anniversary May 9.

HammerHead CEO Brian Metcalf said: “Expansion and diversification have been features of HammerHead since its founders Jon Haas, Rob Crane and Steve Wentworth built that first Mole in Haas’ garage. Because of that, HammerHead has experienced double-digit growth year after year, introducing entire new lines of trenchless-related technologies that give customers a complete array of solutions.”

Metcalf said that 25 years later, with Ditch Witch as its official North American distributor, HammerHead now offers a full suite of solutions.

“Customers can come to us with any project and we’ll help them either burst it, line it or shoot a new run with our mole. Or we can line them up with a local Ditch Witch dealer for vacuum excavation, directional drilling or open trenching.”

Piercing tools

HammerHead’s 24 models of easy-to-service pneumatic-powered piercing tools range from 2 to 8 in. (5 to 20 cm). They include the Catamount reciprocating head and the first front locatable piercing tool, the Moletrac. Piercing tools allow contractors to install underground gas, water, cable, irrigation, fiber or electrical lines underground, with minimal disturbance to tree root systems, landscaping, buildings, streets and existing utilities or pipes and minimizes post-installation restoration.

Pipe Ramming

Pipe ramming is the most efficient alternative for placing steel casing 4 to 180 in. (10 to 457 cm) in diameter under roads, railroads, finished landscapes and structures. It is the method of choice in cobble or free-flowing soil conditions. The HammerHead range of pipe ramming equipment includes a 34-in. (86 cm) hammer, currently the largest pipe ramming hammer on the market.

Pipe Bursting

HammerHead static, pneumatic and lateral bursting systems are available to replace sewer, water and gas lines ranging from ½ in. through 36 in. (1.3 to 91 cm) in diameter. Upsizing pipe capacity is done easily, using larger diameter replacement pipe than the pipe in place. The HammerHead product line includes the Hydroburst Static pipe bursting systems and PortaBurst lateral replacement system.

Horizontal Directional Drilling

HammerHead has developed several solutions for the horizontal driller. The TriHawk drill heads are boltless head designs and feature a spline bit retention system with transmitter housing roll-pin lid, with no bolts to come loose while boring. Multiple interchangeable bits provide solutions for almost all jobs from dirt to medium-hard rock and hard compacted cobble.

HammerHead offers a wide range of quick connect systems including the Hawkeye and Splinelok. The Splinelok tooling connector was designed for maximum strength yet simple installation and removal of HDD accessories such as drill heads and backreamers.

Pneumatic hammers like the HammerHead 5 ¼-in. (13 cm) ROUGHNECK 400 and 6 ¼-in. (15.8 cm) ROUGHNECK 500 are now steerable, increasing any horizontal directional drill’s production capacity with penetration rates of up to 150-ft. (46 m) per hour in medium to hard rock conditions.

Cured-in-Place-Pipe Systems

The most recent introductions to HammerHead’s trenchless solutions have been the HammerHead HydraLiner cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) lateral pipe-lining systems. Special resins and liner materials create a brand new pipe inside of and integral with the existing pipe. CIPP technique can complete several runs in a single day. In comparison, open trench technique often requires several days for a single run.

HydraLiner CIPP systems repair cracked or broken pipes, eliminate root intrusion, bridge missing pipe sections, stop infiltration and exfiltration, and even rehabilitate lines with 22-, 45-, and sweeping 90- degree angles. It can be used with virtually any pipe material, including clay, cast, PVC, ABS and concrete.

A Team That Bleeds Red and Black

Metcalf said the tooling was not what he was most proud of. It’s the HammerHead team.

“When we transitioned successfully from private equity ownership to being part of a privately held, longstanding industry leading company like Charles Machine Works, our employees embraced the change and have thrived in that environment. Our employees create a culture of customer satisfaction, a dedication that fueled the company’s growth, doubling it in a short period of time.”

Employee passion, Metcalf said, has always been a HammerHead hallmark, making it a unique company in the industry.

“A passionate team who not only truly believe in our customer, but in each other and in HammerHead as an organization — our employees build upon the legacy of our company’s founders. The past 25 years of leadership, especially from our long-term employees, bleeds red and black.”

Tiffany Sewell-Howard, CEO of The Charles Machine Works Inc., said, "The HammerHead brand has grown significantly over the past 25 years and we are very proud to have them as part of the CMW family of companies. They are an instrumental part of achieving our vision of The Underground Authority for the next 25 years."

Metcalf said the next 25 years is looking bright for HammerHead.

“We’ll see significant growth from our core market segments, combined with new innovative solutions to meet customer needs at their jobsites worldwide.”

For more information, call 800/331-6653 or visit

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