The IUOE and the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA), in joint cooperation, hold more than 170 training classes, working with more than 700 students each year, in programs that train operators from beginner through advanced levels. Sessions range from one to three weeks, and traditionally incorporate six days of 10 hours daily with classroom and field training in pipeline construction. Because the ALLU Transformer is recognized as an effective tool for pipeline padding and backfilling applications, IUOE/PLCA National Pipeline Training Director Bryan D. Abel and ALLU Group Inc. President Edgar J. Chavez began discussing its potential as a tool for the IUOE pipeline training program. The ALLU Transformer allows material to be screened onsite and then backfilled directly into a trench, thus eliminating the need for dedicated stationary screening or the purchase of fine soil.
“We had spoken previously, but we developed the partnership more fully during CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 in Las Vegas,” says Abel. “We sat down at the show, and Edgar told us, ‘We want to help.’ We have IUOE operators who use the ALLU buckets, and we agreed this would enhance our training. So, we ironed out the details.”
The ALLU Transformer was delivered to IUOE’s Texas training facility just prior to the June 17 session. Chavez and ALLU Group Inc. Vice President, Training and Application, Bernie Olender attended for initial setup and to observe and assist with the class, which hosted 19 students. Moving forward, the ALLU Transformer will be used with IUOE’s intermediate pipeline training classes, in field training sessions where students will operate the unit in three- to four-hour rotations.
According to Chavez, “Safety is one of ALLU’s core values. The partnership with ALLU, IUOE and PLCA solidifies this value in the pipeline industry, as better training means safer overall operation.”
The pipeline training at the IUOE facility near Houston, Texas, covers all pipeline techniques from digging trenches, to laying pipeline, to padding/backfilling, to removing old pipeline. The mock pipeline jobsite accurately simulates real pipeline job sites and situations. With the ALLU unit, training will include padding and backfilling, as well as maintenance of the unit.
“Our Texas training facility is first-class,” notes Abel. “We fly our members in and pick them up at the airport. We have a 225-room dormitory onsite, with a fully staffed kitchen and amenities. We serve three meals a day, we have a swimming pool and a recreation area — and our training is at no cost to IUOE members.”
Abel says the addition of the ALLU Transformer to the pipeline training program is a great benefit to IUOE membership, as it is an excellent embodiment of the advances in technology within the pipeline industry. “Right down to the ability to use Bluetooth to communicate between a smartphone and the bucket – ALLU is really on top of its game with technology,” he adds.
Additionally, Abel says participants were grateful to have Chavez and Olender onsite during training. “One participant told us it was refreshing and encouraging to see executives with ALLU step up, want to help and personally see it through.”
Beginning this fall, a new ALLU AC Crusher bucket will be delivered to an IUOE sister affiliate — Local 181 in Kentucky — to assist with hill and winch training. Abel says the rocky and hilly terrain in Kentucky lends to challenges that are unique from conditions in eastern Texas. The ability to train with the ALLU AC will be an additional benefit for IUOE members.