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tiliing demonstration at Farm Progress Show
LAYING IT RIGHT: Skilled crews make tile installations during a previous Farm Progress Show. You can get close enough to judge for yourself how well each crew does laying tile.

See tiling demos, learn about installation safety at FPS

Groups will conduct a mock pipeline strike each day of the Farm Progress Show.

Expect the tiling demonstration field at this year’s Farm Progress Show to draw a crowd. If 2019 has proved anything, it’s that pattern tiling pays. Those with working tile still waited for soils to dry this spring, but most got a head start on neighbors without modern tile systems.

Ryan Arch, executive director of the Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association, says members will be on hand with their equipment to install tile all three days of the show, Aug. 27-29, in Decatur, Ill.

Show manager Matt Jungmann says tiling demonstrations will be north of Tent City. It’s the same field where ILICA has conducted demonstrations and installed tile during previous Farm Progress Shows. This year they will add another section of pattern tile within the same field.

Arch says since different member-companies bring their own equipment and associate members bring various tile products, you’ll see a variety of equipment operating.

Typically, each crew is assigned a line to install during a demonstration. People often gather around the area where the crew digs and hooks the lateral to the main on the north end of the field. It’s a time to interact and ask questions of people who install tile every day, Arch says. Tiling demonstrations are scheduled to begin each day at noon, weather permitting.

ILICA will also install another bioreactor during the show. Bioreactors are designed to capture nitrogen and prevent it from reaching waterways. It’s one of the strategies experts are touting to reduce nutrient runoff from farm fields.

Mock strike demo

A first for the Farm Progress Show will be mock pipeline strike demonstrations during the tiling demos. A mock strike is scheduled for each day, tentatively at 1 p.m.

The impetus for this demonstration came from a tragedy that occurred near Dixon, Ill., last year, when a tiling crew stuck a gas pipeline. An explosion followed, and several lives were lost.

“The idea is to educate everyone so that they know how simple it is to avoid these types of tragedies,” Arch says.

Marathon is helping sponsor these mock pipeline strike presentations. An Illinois utility association, Ameren, will also help prepare and conduct these demonstrations.

The plan is to place a small-diameter hose with gas under pressure underground and strike it, simulating on a much smaller scale what happens when a large gas pipeline is struck by a tiling machine by accident, Arch says.

“We want to make this is as realistic as possible,” he says. “We will also have EMS personnel reacting to a call for help, just as if it was a real disaster.”

Arch is aware that some farmers install their own tile with their own equipment. The goal is to educate them as well, so they know how these situations can be avoided.

The Drain Tile Safety Coalition will also be involved in planning and carrying out these demonstrations, Arch says.

If you can’t make it out to the actual mock pipeline strike during tiling demos, the coalition will have a mock display in its area within the Farm Progress Show grounds. That display will contain actual pipe damaged in an accident and show the scope of the impact area from such an explosion.

“We want people to be safe when they’re installing tile, and these demonstrations will, hopefully, drive the point home,” Arch concludes.

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