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Analysis

Choosing the Right Polyethylene Pipeline Solution

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 13:10

There are many producers of high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipeline solutions in Mexico, yet Ricardo Ambros Segundo, Marketing Manager of Innovations, claims that few have focused on professionalism and quality. In this line, Innovations has partnered up with companies in Germany and Israel to provide superior quality products and service.

“Innovations acquires cutting-edge technology from Germany which allows us to trace the production process and guarantee quality for each piece we manufacture. Moreover, we are the representatives of WIDOWS, the German thermofusion pioneer, while we acquire our couplings and electrofusion equipment from Plasson, our commercial partner in Israel with 50 years of market experience,” he adds.

At its Queretaro plant, the company manufactures its own fittings, adapters, elbows, branches, and other HDPE special parts for the mining, oil and gas, and water treatment industries. Its products are used in aqueducts and pipelines for the conduction of mineral slurry, water, and acidic fluids in mines. Innovations uses polyethylene resins, such as PE100 and PE4710, to increase its products’ resistance to abrasion, corrosion, and internal pressure, as well as to improve flexibility and reduce their weight, Ambros Segundo claims that the polyethylene products that his company uses can last up to twice as long as its metal counterparts. He also mentions that for HDPE solutions suppliers it is crucial to have a production process that can be strictly monitored and by which temperature, pressure, and time can be controlled.

While product manufacturing and distribution are an important part of Innovations, its true advantage lies in its expertise and experience with pipeline joining techniques such as thermofusion and electrofusion. Electrofusion requires HDPE couplings with internal electrical resistance to be connected to a DC power supply in order to generate an electrical current. The current generates heat and causes the internal surface of the coupling and the external surface of the pipe to fuse, creating the joint. Thermofusion, on the other hand, uses equipment that fuses the two faces of the pipes without the need for couplings. It requires precise cutting of the pipe faces and subsequent pressure and heating for a specific amount of time to fuse the two pipes together. Innovations relies on WIDOWS’ and Plasson’s decades of experience in thermofusion and electrofusion, respectively, to guarantee that the products it provides the mining industry meet the highest national and international standards. “If a joint is not of the right quality, it can cause non-alignment in the pipelines and may lead to ruptures. This could have severe consequences if a rupture happens in pipelines conducting mineral slurry or acidic fluids,” Ambros Segundo states.

If he had to choose, Ambros Segundo states that electrofusion should be the preferred technique when joints have to be made in confined spaces. This is due to the fact that the equipment needed for electrofusion is smaller than that used for thermofusion. However, while it is faster than thermofusion, electrofusion tends to be more expensive due to the need for couplings. “Studies in Europe show that for pipe diameters smaller than 8in, electrofusion is more competitive than thermofusion,” Ambros Segundo shares. “For bigger pipes, a deeper analysis is necessary to select the most cost-effective solution. If a project requires joints of an aqueduct that is 20km long with 36in diameter pipes, it might be better to transport the thermofusion equipment needed for the operation.”