Vortabrush and Vortavac Concrete Hole Cleaning System

Top 4 Reasons Vortabrush® and Vortavac are Needed

  1. Safety: Due to loss of life from failure of anchor systems (Boston Tunnel, 2007) further measures are needed to ensure that they perform to their designed capacity. The NTSB report filed on the Boston Tunnel collapse stated that, in addition to other factors, lack of thorough cleaning of holes was a probable cause of what the report called a “slow creep” failure of the anchors. Cored samples showed a layer of debris creating a barrier between the epoxy and the existing concrete thus reducing the bond. Cleaned holes verses un-cleaned holes more than doubles the pull-out value of epoxy anchor systems. The Vortabrush tool thoroughly cleans holes. Thus it has the potential to actually save lives.
  2. Consistency and thoroughness in cleaning: The traditionally approved methods of cleaning holes drilled in concrete and masonry for installation of anchors varies for many different reasons. The thoroughness of cleaning can vary depending on the laborer doing the work, the number of holes being cleaned, and the condition of the hole before cleaning. Many times the laborer assigned to do the job of cleaning holes is the newest person on the crew. He may have explained to him the process but does not understand the importance of cleaning every hole thoroughly. And, let’s face it, it is a boring job. After cleaning a large number of holes (I inspected one job that had over 12,000 rebar dowels) the laborers will often become less diligent in their work. Other times, holes have become damp or wet after drilling. This creates a silica paste that cannot be removed with dry brushing and blowing. The Vortabrush solves all of these issues. It is easy. Anyone can do it and it works the same way every time regardless of how many times it is repeated. The Vortabrush also offers the option of cleaning wet holes with an attachment that can be used to flush out the paste left behind in a damp hole.
  3. Cost: Simply put, the Vortabrush is very fast. Each dry hole typically takes less than 15 seconds total to clean. If you are familiar with the manufacturer prescribed cleaning methods, you know that it takes a lot of time and very often involves 2 laborers, one brushing and the other blowing out the holes. On one job site I witnessed 450 nine inch deep by 7/8” holes cleaned in 2 hours with the Vortabrush! This is a massive savings in time and thus labor cost.
  4. New OSHA requirements began being enforced on September 23, 2017 for all Silica dust producing tools used on jobsites.  All such tools must make available a dust collection system that will not allow silica dust to be dispersed in the open air.

I am an ICC/WABO Special Inspector and in 15 years in the industry have witnessed many thousands of holes being cleaned. I have watched the frustration of contractors. And I have nearly fallen asleep many times watching this slow and boring process. Then it is frustrating to learn that even when done as directed there are still failures due to lack of cleaning. It is time for the industry to step up and allow change by adopting the use of the Vortabrush.