Innovation – The Mity Mite

The Mity Mite Pipe Puller Built In The USA by JV Driver Fabricators

The innovative Mity Mite is a one-of-a-kind expansion joint compression tool used for pipe pulling and the installation of concrete pipe, concrete box culverts, precast concrete steel cylinder pipe, and ductile iron pipe. It is designed, manufactured, and tested out of our Phoenix, Arizona fabrication facility.

The Mity Mite was created as the result of a market gap in the construction industry when it came to joining large sections of concrete, steel, and plastic pipe over 40 years ago. There simply wasn’t anything that could effectively join large sections of pipe that weighed up to 40 tons and were as large as 144” in diameter. Hence, the Mity Mite Pipe Puller was born, the most cost-effective and time-saving product on the market for pipe pulling.

But how does it work? Simply put, it wedges on either side of the pipe and a hydraulic cylinder pulls them together. Here’s the step-by-step pulling process:

Innovation - Mity Mite

As you can see in panel 5, once the Mity Mite is set up on the pipe, the pulling process is automated remotely to the desired gap. This is the main advantage of the patented device, other than the ease of set-up and use. It allows the user to remain outside of the pipe, away from the pulling being carried out, at a safe and secure distance. It is also why the patented device is superior over the traditional “winch and cable” method.

All of this results in increased speed, efficiency, safety, and cost savings when dealing with pipe pulling.

If you’re interested in the innovative Mity Mite, please contact us.

JV Driver Fabricators

Click Here To Check Out Some Of Our Other Innovations 

Innovation – AWP Training and Safety

At JV Driver we believe in “Thinking Different and Building Better” in everything we do, this includes going one step further and bringing innovation to our AWP safety training, by using practical applications on top of our industry standard work. This was the idea behind our Aerial Work Platform (AWP) obstacle course, which allows our employees to prove their competency prior to the real thing. It was thought of by our Vice President, Corey Callahan, and HSE manager, Warren Knapp, after seeing an industry trend in AWP related incidents.

During the obstacle course, employees conduct pre-operational and operational checks before navigating through the course to capture a flag at various points. The goal is to be able to capture the flag without hitting any of the supporting scaffolding. In addition, they have a spotter on the ground in order to simulate the congested work areas they will be working in. Once they have completed the course, they are given a card and a hardhat sticker that deems them competent to work in the yard. In rare cases, if an individual needs more training, they are paired up with a competent operator until they can successfully complete the course. The average time it takes to complete the entire course is only 1.5 hours per person, but the positive benefits will be seen the entire time they’re on the yard.
Innovation, Construction, Fabrication, Maintenance, Safety
Since our Aerial Work Platform innovation has been implemented, worker vigilance while operating has been at an all-time high while incidents are at an all-time low. Also, our employees have found it to not only be a useful and effective means to utilize this type of heavy-equipment, but simply a fun exercise to perform!
What does this innovation translate into? For one, it results in a lower cost and a better service for our company, our clients, and our partners. But more importantly, it means that our employees are more confident, careful, and vigilant out in the yard, so that at the end of the day, they get to return to their families and loved ones unharmed and healthy.
The AWP obstacle course is just one of our many commitments to being an industry leader in both Innovation and Safety.
At the JV Driver Group, we take care of each other!

Our People – Industry Spotlight

We recently had the chance to sit down with Mike Ho, JV Driver’s Welding Guru, and ask him a few questions! Often referred to as ‘Yoda,’ Mike is well known and respected in the welding industry. Over the years, Mike has travelled all over the world, training both welders and welding instructors. Mike often works with the welders at JV Driver Fabricators by helping them perfect their craft. He has developed an on-site testing and training facility in Nisku to ensure that his welders get the training and experience that they need to be the best in the industry. If Mike Ho can’t teach you how to weld, it may be time to re-think your career choice!

Here are the questions!

1) What first attracted you to welding?
After high school I enrolled in the Kuala Belait trade school in Brunei. Back then I had to take four different trades in a year and found that welding came naturally to me, so I chose to pursue that. I found the many different processes of welding and all kind of different exotic materials one can weld on to be very fascinating.

2) How long have you been working for JVDF?
I have been with JVDF for 15 years.

3) Why do you think that JVDF has such an impressive safety record?
Safety has always been our first priority and one of the core values. We firmly believe in that and take care of each other.

4) If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring welders, what would it be?
To always think positive and do not be afraid to ask any questions if you run into welding problems.

5) Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would like to see JVDF have the most sophisticated welding technology and be the best in our industry in the next five years.

Mike relaxing!

6) Do you have any great JVDF stories to share with us?

One thing in particular always comes to mind when I think of some of the great times I’ve had with JV Driver. This was back in 2004 when we were still at the small fab shop in Sherwood park. The Xmas, Corey Callahan and I decided to send Bill (the president of JV Driver Group) an email to ask if we could have a bigger size shop as a Xmas present. This was sent jokingly and never expected what happened next. Bill replied and said be very careful what you wish and a year later we moved in to this 80 acres facility with a pipe shop that was 20 times bigger that our old shop. We had lots of challenges to start but have managed to do very well.

7) What was the most challenging welding job you’ve ever had to tackle?

There have been a number of challenging jobs over the past number of years but welding the boiler tubes with a mirror at the Crofton shutdown was probably one of most challenging one.

8) Is there anything else you would like to add?

I really enjoy working in JV Driver and I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to many places (South Korea, USA, India, Malaysia, Indonesia to name a few) to test and coach welders and instructors. I truly enjoy and am passionate about my job and I am very happy to shares my experiences and knowledge with JVD employees.
Thanks for your excellent answers, Mike!

The Importance of Stretching in Construction

Does Offshore Fabrication and Module Construction Save You Money?

The results don’t lie

In this era of low oil prices, it is no surprise that project owners are looking for ways to increase productivity and cut capital costs in every safe way they can. One way that project owners have tried to cut costs is by sourcing their fabrication of steel overseas, to areas that have a lower initial cost. But when you consider the Total Installed Cost (TIC), which includes the fabrication and pre-assemble overseas, the subsequent delivery of that steel, and the supply cost, is it really the cheaper and more efficient option? That was exactly the subject of a market test back in 2013.

James Wootton, of Ground State Market Solutions, compared the costs of out-of-province and offshoring fabrication to Alberta-based fabrication and his results may surprise some project owners! What he found was that the TIC when using Alberta steel fabricators was cheaper than the out-of-province or overseas options. A summary of his data:

Fabrication, Pipe and Steel, module construction

Read the study HERE.

Q & A with Market Researcher James Wooton

Now, the study occurred 2 years ago, so what has changed since then? Well, we were lucky enough to catch up with James and ask a few follow up questions to his 2013 study!

Q: Thanks for taking the time to sit down and answer some of our questions, James. Could you give a brief introduction to those that may not know you or your work?

A: Ground State Market Solutions is a research & consulting organization providing advisory services to investor groups, owner organizations, and contractors, with the unique advantage that we synthesize real time / high quality industry data to produce comprehensive research packages that can be tailored to a specific client’s requirements.
Q: Your 2013 study showed that Alberta based manufacturing & fabrication is the cheaper option for the oil sands, why is that?
A: Ultimately, it came down to a comparison of additional installation labour units versus extra-provincial supply and transport costs for the structures selected for the study, which were typical structures used in the oil sands.  Other procurement options exist, but we thought at the time it demonstrated that comprehensive research was required to assess the value proposition associated with extra-provincial strategies.
Q: Is that still the case in today’s low price per barrel oil market?
A: That’s an interesting question. Our perspective would be that the decline in the price of oil has a lot to do with the Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance. This was originally messaged to the market last August and had a great impact on both the US dollar and speculative commodity trading. So, we’re in a compressed margin market that requires capital expenditure solutions. The outcome is that China in particular becomes more challenged as a region from which to procure steel given its peg to the USD. Not to mention the near 30% elevation in value versus the Canadian dollar.
The labour installation items are being addressed by some EPCs with innovative ‘end connection’ designs. But, as noted in the study, the difference is substantial, requiring a 20% lift in labour productivity to be net neutral at the exchange rate at the time.  Given the currency differential today, a 35% productivity lift would be required.
We haven’t seen the results as yet from new fabrication and delivery formats, so it is difficult at this point to comment on how competitive that solution is, but the math of our study demonstrates the significance of the challenge.
Moreover, the first principles of value creation and project management remain the same, and we hoped more than anything that the study would prompt constructive questions and dialogue within project teams.  Do we really understand the first principles of complex project systems, and how discrete procurement decisions are affecting overall project value?
Q: In the two years since your study, have oil sand project owners started to catch on to the lower cost of Alberta manufacturers? 
A: In the November / December 2015 timeframe we surveyed ten project firms to assess sentiment / rationale per extra-provincial procurement and found the market was divided on the topic.  Both camps were focused on value enhancement, while one camp seemed to be chasing the proposed extra-provincial savings, and the others were focused on execution efficiency and holistic procurement analytics.

Q: What have you found to be the general response to your findings?


A: It has been well received. It’s encouraging to be involved in the progressive value based dialogue we’ve had with our clients since we completed the study.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Productivity is paramount for all entities involved in project development.
Harry Neale once remarked, after a losing season behind the bench of the Vancouver Canucks,
“Last season we couldn’t win at home. This season we can’t win on the road. My failure as a coach is I can’t think of any place else to play.”
If project teams are challenged to create value with either local, or extra-provincial procurement solutions, the project pipeline will dry up.
At the time of the study, we made the point that Alberta was the most expensive place in the world studied to fabricate steel (supply only), even when accounting for format of delivery differentials. However, we thought there was ample room for productivity improvements.
It has been inspiring to see fabricators with the Alberta entrepreneurial spirit, find new operating models during this downturn to enhance productivity.  That type of leadership and mature progression goes a long way to securing a prosperous business environment for the province going forward, and one that is less vulnerable to oil pricing shocks.