• Andy Kibblewhite, Technical Trainer

PICOTE THE DAY WITH ANDY K. Mixing it up Picote style


Sometimes there are just ‘too many cooks’ as the saying goes. Our European Open House in Finland is a time of year where the Picote team all gather together, from various parts of the world, to bring you a couple of action-packed days showing and demonstrating our impressive range of products. We also look at future products and things in the pipeline (so to speak). The Mini Smart Sweeper is one such tool, so we have a Smart Sweeper and we wanted a Mini Smart Sweeper. ‘That's easy, just replicate the Smart Sweeper but make it smaller!’ I hear you say. If only it was as simple as that, just making it smaller doesn’t always work, the weights and shapes don’t always work and sometimes it’s just a matter of you can’t make it that small, so producing these things take time and several prototypes.

Anyway, the Mini Smart Sweeper for the small bore pipework (sinks, baths and urinals) was an eagerly awaited tool to add to our extensive tooling range. We all gathered excitedly to see it working on the Mini Cleaner, many hands all keen to help assemble the arm onto the hub and it’s ready to go…Only it didn’t work, but it did, wait - why’s it not working? We were all looking at it jam in the pipe, the clutch on the Mini Cleaner kicking in despite changing the speed setting. Gloomy faces all round, back to the drawing board then. Actually no, just back to basics - someone noticed the arms had been put in backwards in our rush to see the tool working.

By the way, it works brilliantly when you put together properly!


We are always learning, even as trainers. Feedback is always useful. For example, in training sessions we always cover the health and safety section of the operating manual to ensure you are all safe to work with our machines and tools. One of the safety points covers rotating parts, ‘that’s just common sense’ is normally the look I get back from the classroom, we all know if it’s moving don’t touch it!

However, I’ve now had to take this section a little further following a recent phone call. The call was to inform me that something was wrong with the equipment, the camera had stopped working somehow, they needed it fixed and why had it failed? A couple of pictures sent over WhatsApp and we established the rod on the camera was completely mangled - how? A closer look revealed the camera had been fastened to the casing of the miller so the operator could observe the work as he progressed, fine normally but the lesson here was don’t fasten it to the actual shaft connector which spins around… Luckily not the most expensive camera but still an expense no one needs. I have now added this to my training sessions, a lesson learned is now a lesson shared!


Putting all of the panels into the Smart Cutter™ Hub facing the same way round is as easy as counting 1,2,3 right? If the panels are put in the wrong way round they don’t grind; I’ve had a phone call from a customer asking why their Hub was rubbish and not working? By the magic of WhatsApp a quick photo revealed the panels were in back to front. That configuration works if you have a grinding disc on the front and don’t want to grind the walls of the host pipe your working in, as they just centralise the tool.

We blokes are regularly told we can’t multi-task and this was one of those times. Talking to a group in a training session, putting the panels in at the same time as warning them not to put the panels in the wrong way around usually leads to, yes you’ve guessed it…A red face! The following few minutes are then spent trying to work out which one is wrong - I wish I was good at puzzles. At least it’s an easy task to slide the panel out on it's wedge and flip it over when I’ve finally worked it out. The smaller Hubs tend to not be the wedge type, meaning it’s a plain panel held in place by the Hub’s two sections clamping it securely in place. It turns out that everyone else in the room at the time of your mistake can clearly see what you’ve done and suddenly everyone’s an expert – thanks guys!

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