Fluid Operations Rely on Dependable PipesWed, 10/21/2015 - 18:47
Without a mesh of pipes pumping necessary fluids and materials in and out of a mine, and through the different stages of a mining project, any operation would be halted in its tracks. Pipes for mining and metallurgical applications need to be resistant to acidic and corrosive fluids, abrasive mineral sludge, and the impacts of rocks and equipment. Moreover, pipe suppliers need to be able to transport tonnes of their steel products through uncharted territory in the mountains or jungles of Mexico. As this is no easy feat, few companies manage to cater to such a demanding industry. Among those that have taken up the challenge is Tubería Laguna
Ignacio Aguirre Rascón, Executive Director of Sales & Administration at Tubería Laguna, goes into further detail about the role that pipes play in the development of a mine. “Mineral deployment, water deployment, and water extraction are all essential mining processes. Mines often intersect underground waterways, so water needs to be pumped out to prevent the extraction points from flooding. Additionally, water needs to be transported to different parts of a mine to assist in drilling and excavation. Our pipes are tailor-made to suit the needs of our clients, helping with such applications.” Some other uses for piping and tubing networks include fire prevention, the supply of drinking water, and the movement of different types of gases out of an underground mine.
Such a variety of applications requires a diversity of coating materials to tailor the right product for its intended application. Given the wide use of coated pipes in the mining industry, Tubería Laguna has its own coating plant where it can ensure the reliability of its products. Its single coated pipes possess one layer of tape to protect them from climate and environmental damage, while the company’s bi-coating and tri-coating offerings are polythene-based, endowing the pipes with a higher level of protection. Due to the fact that all mines are different, coating suggestions are based upon the location of the clients’ operations and the environment within the mine where the pipes will be placed. As well as a variety of coating options, the company boasts a diverse range of options for the pipes themselves. “The different pipes we offer are electric resistance welding (ERW) pipes, coil pipes, and seamless pipes,” lists Aguirre Rascón. “ERW is one of the best mechanisms available for straight seam pipes because no additional materials are needed to weld it. Instead, the edges are fused together. One edge is first smelted and then joined to the other by applying pressure. This process results in a bump that is easily smoothed out with razors, resulting in a perfectly rounded and homogenous pipe. Once completed, this seam is almost invisible to the naked eye. This method has been in the market for years and it is used worldwide.” To further guarantee quality, all of Tubería Laguna’s pipes are certified by API (The American Petroleum Institute) and are uniquelyserialized. Serial numbers are commonly applied to a batch of pipes, but one of Tubería Laguna’s unique selling points is that each and every single pipe has a unique ID. “We are one of the few companies in the world that does this,” explains Aguirre Rascón. “Most companies serialize their batches based on the type of steel used. With our system, it is easy for me to find out which types of steel were used on which pipes ten years ago, and even who supplied which element.” For this purpose, the company also stores information about the chemical composition of the types of steel used.
As most companies would admit, customer service is a top priority. Tubería Laguna’s approach to ensuring this priority is met has been to open distribution centers in addition to its manufacturing plants. “We have distribution centers in Chihuahua, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Mexico City, and Villahermosa,” describes Aguirre Rascón. “We also opened representation offices in Puebla and Hermosillo, among other cities. The intention was to spread our inventory across different parts of the country so that our logistics could be in line with our clients’ needs. We have met that target.” For 75 years, Tubería Laguna has been involved in agriculture, oil and gas, and construction, as well as mining. Looking to the future of the company, Aguirre Rascón states that increased market penetration for all of these segments is a primary goal, and is confident of achieving this through a continued quality and customer-focused approach to business. If the mines themselves are the beating hearts of the industry, then Tubería Laguna’s pipes and tubing products represent the veins and arteries of the sector’s circulatory system.