Plastic perceptions demystified
Durapipe building services brand manager answers some of the misconceptions regarding the performance of plastic pipework systems.
While plastic pipework systems are now readily accepted as a viable alternative to traditional metal materials, there are still those that are mistaken about the performance capabilities of plastic pipework products. In our latest industry insight research, we worryingly uncovered that all of the contractors, consultants and end clients questioned had inaccurate information about the performance of plastic pipework systems.
One of the most common misconceptions is that all plastic pipework systems are the same and there is an assumption that the characteristics of one material will be the same with other plastic materials. However, every plastic material has different performance capabilities and has been specially designed for specific applications.
Here, our building services brand manager, Des Dolan, outlines the misconceptions that were revealed and provides the facts around the performance capabilities.
Myth: Plastics are more expensive
Fact: The mistake is often made of comparing initial material costs, but when looking at the installed costs of a system, plastics offer significant cost savings. The lightweight nature of plastic pipe systems, combined with their quick and simple jointing methods, significantly reduces the installation labour time and costs, offering installed cost savings of up to 50% compared with steel or copper systems.
Myth: Plastic pipes tend to snake due to thermal movement
Fact: While it is widely acknowledged that plastic materials expand and contract more, compared with metals, thermal expansion in plastic pipes can be easily catered for if addressed at the design stage of a project.
The simplest and most cost effective method of catering for thermal movement is to utilise the natural flexibility of the pipework system by building in changes of direction to the network design. The direction of pipe movement can be controlled by the use of anchor points at strategic positions. Other cost effective solutions include installing expansion loops, bellows, flexible hoses and expansion compensators.
Myth: Plastics are high maintenance
Fact: Plastic pipe systems require less maintenance than traditional materials, such as copper and steel. Corrosion is the biggest cause of maintenance and replacement costs in metal systems, with unseen corrosion in copper and steel HVAC systems having the potential to cause severe damage and having a significant impact on operational efficiency. As a result, metal pipework systems need to be continually monitored, with regular flushing of the system scheduled, alongside taking frequent water samples to ensure the water quality is not adversely affected by any corrosion. With plastic pipework systems completely corrosion resistant, this is not an issue and eradicates associated maintenance and repair time and costs.
In addition, the smooth bore of plastic pipe systems ensures no limescale can build up within the system, resulting in less friction loss and guaranteeing a consistent flow rate is maintained throughout the life of the system. With optimum flow levels maintained, minimal maintenance and repair work is required to ensure the system operates efficiently.
Myth: Plastic pipe systems aren’t designed to last
Fact: Plastic pipe systems have a 50 year design life, with the operational performance remaining at the same level throughout the lifetime of the system. The smooth bore of plastic pipe resists limescale build-up ensuring flow is not restricted and continues at the same rate throughout its working life.
Myth: Plastics are more likely to encourage the growth of bacteria, such as Legionella
Fact: While copper has natural anti-microbial properties, as limescale builds on the used, corroded pipe surface, biofilm can begin to colonise more easily. Bacteria settle and develop in biofilm, which easily attaches itself to sharp or jagged parts of a pipe’s surface, which can be caused by the corrosion/scale build up inside a used pipe. A rougher surface will provide a stronger platform for biofilm to grow, due to the fact that rough surfaces have more surface area for bacterial attachment and growth and also provide more shielding from flow.
The smoothness of the pipe material is an important factor; while the surface of some metallic pipes is rough, the smooth bore of plastic pipes helps to limit biofilm development.
Myth: Plastics have low impact resistance
Fact: While not all plastic systems boast impact resistance, ABS is in fact an extremely tough material that provides very high impact resistance and the pipe system remains ductile even at temperatures as low as -40°C. Polypropylene is also a very robust material, remaining ductile down to -20°C.
Myth: Plastics are flammable and therefore a fire hazard in buildings
Fact: The plastics pipes industry has never claimed that plastic pipes are non-combustible. In a real situation, however, the use of exposed pipework within a room is unlikely and there has been no report, over the last 50 years, that the use of plastic pipes has contributed to any fire related damage or injury, or increased risk to a property in the event of a fire.
In the UK, there are strict building regulations on the use of plastic, and all above ground drainage materials, which state that pipes should be installed within a duct or boxed in behind plasterboard. As a result, plastic pipework should always be concealed behind material of specified fire resistance, with furnishings and fittings much more likely to contribute to the spread of fire than any plastic pipes.
Myth: Plastic gives off large amounts of toxic gases when it burns
Fact: Some plastic materials can give off trace amounts, but not enough to be classed as hazardous in the event of a fire. As with many flammable materials, the primary hazard is smoke. All plastic products give off gases when the material is burning. The predominant gas with PVC-C, for example, is carbon dioxide, which is generally considered harmless.
Myth: Plastics are not sustainable
Fact: Plastic pipework systems offer strong sustainability credentials throughout all stages of their lifespan, requiring significantly less energy to manufacture, transport and install, compared with metal alternatives.
At every stage of its lifecycle, a plastic pipework system reduces the level of energy consumption, compared with metal pipe systems. On a typical commercial building project, the real impact of using plastic pipe and fittings equates to a 2,314kg CO2 saving, compared with copper, and a 3,606kg CO2 saving compared with carbon steel.
While one plastic pipework system may not be suitable for a specific application, it does not mean all plastics should be overlooked. Unlike metal systems’ ‘one product fits all’ approach, each plastic pipework system has individual performance capabilities that have been purpose-designed for a specific application and so will offer enhanced installation and operational benefits, when compared to traditional systems.
It is important for manufacturers and suppliers of plastic products to come together and educate the industry on their performance capabilities and the benefits they can offer specifiers, contractors, installers and end users.
A Change in Union
Durapipe is updating the design of our brass composite union fittings to provide a more lightweight and easier to install option for installers and end users.
While the brass male / female threaded ends will remain the same to allow effective connection to a wide range of brass systems, the brass nut will be replaced with a plastic nut in the corresponding material.
A composite union allows an effective connection to be made from a plastic system to either a brass or stainless steel thread, which can be easily removed for maintenance without impacting on the rest of the system.
The new style composite unions will retain all of the current performance capabilities, which will see the high grade of DZR brass utilised to maintain safe water supplies, while benefitting from a maximum 16 bar pressure rating, dependent on material. Available for our SuperFLO ABS, PVC-U, PP and Corzan C-PVC pipework systems, the unions come in sizes from 16mm up to 63mm and ½” up to 2”.
The current product will continue to be available while stocks last, but will then be phased out to make way for the updated design. Therefore, we are advising customers that require the existing product to place orders now. For more detailed information on the timings of the phase out and when the new product will be supplied, please contact our technical support team.
NEW VKR metering ball valve is launched
We are delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new valve. The new VKR metering ball valve, offers the most linear cotrol of flow of liquids on the market.
The new valve contains a ball which enables the linear flow of liquid, with a patented, regulating fin shaped ball, a dial on top of the valve to indicate percentage of flow and an updated easy to fit design. The range is available in various sizes from 16mm – 63mm and is available in PVC-U.
Unlike other solutions that are available, where the flow increase is greater or smaller at either the start or the end of the opening cycle, the new VKR valve is linear throughout the full cycle. Furthermore the valve can be proportionally actuated using an electric positioning actuator with 4-20mA input. The VKR valve is lightweight, easy to install and available from stock within 48 hours of ordering.
James Roper, our Head of Product Marketing, comments:
“Our patented ball valve design is unique and the most specialist design on the market as the ball allows for a more linear and controlled flow. The valve is ideal for installing on any chemical dosing projects at chemical treatment, water treatment and chemical processing plants.
This type of regulating operation is usually done with a diaphragm valve but the maximum flow can be increased by up to 37 percent by using the new VKR valve instead.
Additionally, the VKR valve is interchangeable with any existing Durapipe VKD valves, which makes retro-fitting the new valve much simpler.”
The Durapipe UK valve department can provide customers, with valve selection advice, actuation build, full testing of every item and general technical support. Please contact them on 01543 272424.
A former Post Office building in Carlisle has been completely renovated using Durapipe HTA pipework, feeding the domestic water services.
This 1916 listed neo-classical four storey building, is being converted into a new luxury aparthotel – The Halston. The external facade is being completely restored and the interior will be completely refurbished to offer 16 self-contained one and two bedroom apartments suites on the upper floors. The ground floor will house a magnificent reception, coffee bar, restaurant and function rooms.
As part of the project, the contractors were instructed to install a thoroughly reliable pipework solution to cater for the hot and cold water services throughout the building and had no hesitation in recommending Durapipe HTA.
In sizes up to 90mm, Durapipe HTA was installed, transporting water from the mains water supply in the basement plant room and distributing it throughout the building to feed all the individual apartments.
Another major factor in this decision, apart from the obvious technical, high performance and quality aspects of the product, was the fact that the plastic option reduced the risk of theft from site, in what would have been an obvious target for metal thiefs. A most cost effective solution, couple with quick and easy installation methods.
Durapipe HTA also offers excellent corrosion and limescale resistant properties, increasing the lifespan of the pipework and avoiding costly maintenance and replacement work. Its lightweight nature, combined with its quick and simple solvent weld jointing technique, which eliminates the need for hot works or skilled welders, further reduces the installation cost and time of projects.
Vulcathene chemical drainage pipework has been supplied for three science laboratories as part of a refurbishment project at Wimbledon High School, South West London.
The project consisted of refurbishing two of the school’s original laboratories and constructing an additional, new build, laboratory. For the chemical drainage requirements within the buildings, all three were installed with Vulcathene chemical drainage pipework.
Vulcathene is available in sizes from 38mm – 152mm and is renowned for its proven track record for chemical drainage. Each sink in the new and refurbished laboratories was connected with the chemical drainage pipework system, which transports all the waste to the existing soil stack in the school.
Plumbing and Heating specialists, Dickens & Wedge carried out the refurbishments and needed to ensure a reliable system was installed. Safety is a number one priority for Wimbledon High School. Experiments in science laboratories often lead to unknown combinations of chemicals being created, so it was therefore imperative that the drainage system selected could safely transport any chemical concoctions.
Vulcathene was the ideal solution as it offers educational establishments the reassurance that it has a proven pedigree over many decades in dealing with all manner of chemical waste cocktails from laboratories across the world.
Commenting on the project, Daniel Wedge, managing director at Dickens & Wedge said: “Vulcathene is the number one choice when dealing with chemical drainage. The product is proven to be reliable and safe, which is why we always turn to Durapipe UK for projects like this.”
Durapipe PLX has been installed as part of a refurbishment project at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
Kent and Canterbury Hospital, located in Kent, has received significant investment over the past few years and has undergone major refurbishments to various areas of the hospital. The latest project required the refurbishment of the hospital’s pipework systems, in particular the hot water and heating system.
The main diesel line within the hospital continually feeds the boilers, tanks and generators, which in turn, supply the hospital with heating and hot water. It was essential that during the refurbishment, the diesel line was replaced with a high performance pipework system in order for the system to remain effective.
Contractor, Kent County 24/7, was tasked with installing Durapipe PLX during the project due to the reliability and ease of installation the product offers.
Specified in sizes 25mm – 50mm, Durapipe PLX was selected for its high performance properties; a visible protective liner allows increased resistance to all types of fuel blends, ensuring there is no permeation of fuel into the atmosphere. In addition, its robust polyethylene material provides exceptional resistance to rapid crack propagation and long-term stress cracking.
Steve Kent, director at Kent County 24/7, comments: “We were required to install a pipework system to transport the fuel to the main boiler room in the hospital. It was important that the pipework would stand the test of time due to conveying such corrosive oil.
“Durapipe PLX came highly recommended and we found that it was the best product for the job. It was quick and easy to install and offered a cost effective option during the expansive refurbishment.”
Plastic pipework installed at new dementia care centre
Our leading plastic pipework systems, HTA and SuperFLO, have been specified within a new sheltered housing development in Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes.
The 34 bedroom scheme, Flowers House, is part of a £3.2 million project and will provide support to sufferers of dementia and their families in the Milton Keynes area.
As part of the development, Anders Heating was tasked with providing pipework solutions to service the hot and cold water requirements of the building.
HTA pipework was specified to transport all hot water services. SuperFLO was also specified to transport cold water to the flats.
Commenting on the installation, Anders Heating director, Tim Anders said: “We have been impressed with the pipework’s ease of installation and quality; the Durapipe pipework solutions are high performing systems and a great cost effective alternative to copper.
Durapipe HTA and Durapipe SuperFLO offer excellent corrosion and limescale resistant properties, increasing the lifespan of the pipework and avoiding costly maintenance and replacement work. Their lightweight nature, combined with quick and simple cold weld jointing technique, which eliminates the need for hot works or skilled welders, further reduces the installation cost and time of projects.
Durapipe SuperFLO is specially designed to cater for chilled or boosted cold water applications within the building services sector and offers wide operating temperatures so the pipework remains tough and durable down to -40°C.
SuperFLO specified for prison refurbishment
Durapipe SuperFLO pipework has been specified for a refurbishment at HMP Bullingdon prison in Oxon.
HMP Bullingdon opened in 1992 as a ‘new gallery' design prison with its four main house blocks divided into three galleried units. The recent refurbishment at the category C prison for adult males involved replacing the hot water generators and cold water storage tanks.
Specified by Boostfine, SuperFLO has been installed at HMP Bullingdon to carry cold water from the new cold water storage tanks to feed the water distribution network around the prison.
Durapipe SuperFLO, which was specified in 160mm, specialises in transporting low temperature liquids and as such was the ideal choice for Boostfine.
Tasked with the refurbishment, Stephen Hourihan from Boostfine said: “We were extremely impressed with the lightweight nature of the SuperFLO system as it made on-site handling hassle free. The fast solvent-welded jointing system also saved us valuable man hours as a result of the speedy jointing process.
“The plastic solution from Durapipe was a fantastic alternative to other metal systems for us.”
Durapipe SuperFLO is specially designed to cater for chilled or boosted cold water applications within the building services sector and offers increased benefits. Its lightweight properties, coupled with a simple solvent weld jointing technique, significantly reduce costs during the installation process, whilst the limescale and corrosion free capabilities and wide operating temperatures see the pipework remain tough and durable down to -40°C.
Durapipe PLX is number 1 in Leeds
Our specialist fuel pipework system, Durapipe PLX, has been specified to supply fuel solutions as part of an upgrade to the fuel supply system at No1 City Square in Leeds.
Leeds City SquareDue to health and safety issues surrounding the delivery of oil to the fuel storage tanks within the 11-storey office block, a refurbishment of the system was required. Previously, barrels of oil were carried into the basement before being manually pumped through the pipework system in order to feed the emergency generator. As part of the refurbishment, an automatic pipework system was selected to increase health and safety for the site and ease the manual labour needed with the existing system.
The contractor was tasked with supplying and fitting the office block with an automatic pipework system that would efficiently and effectively transport fuel to the emergency generators, to keep the offices active should a power failure occur. The high performing pipework system Durapipe PLX was specified following a demonstration from Durapipe UK. With the system’s proven capability for fuel transfer and its anti corrosion properties, PLX was the first choice product ahead of metal competitors such as steel. The PLX pipe-in-pipe system was specified in 25mm#40mm to safely transport fuel from the upper ground car park entrance to the storage tanks in the basement and onto the generators via a 35 metre pipework run.
The Durapipe PLX system is a specialist pipework solution that is designed to cater for a variety of fuel blends, and is manufactured in a robust polyethylene material that provides excellent resistance to long term stress cracking. Additionally, its impressive durability makes it ideal for use in emergency power applications, where it is imperative to install a system that does not have to be regularly maintained or replaced. The Durapipe PLX portfolio offers complete flexibility as it is available in both Close-Fit and Pipe-In-Pipe secondary contained pipework systems in sizes 32mm – 315mm. With an easy to use electrofusion system, Durapipe PLX also has a wide range of fittings and transition fittings to suit these systems.
Durapipe Pipe & Fittings Now Available From ABW Plastics
ABW Plastics are pleased to announce that we are now selling the full range of industrial Durapipe pipe and fittings, including PVC, ABS, Duracool, Air-Line Xtra, Corzan, Polypropylene, Guardian and PLX. Durapipe have been at the forefront of the development and manufacture of thermoplastic pipework for over half a century and their products are widely used in industries around the world. All ranges are fully matched, WRAS approved pipework systems with a wide range of flow controls and the commitment to quality is reflected by having an independently assessed quality management system registered under BS EN ISO 9001.
Durapipe UK pipe and fittings, now available online from ABW PlasticsThe Durapipe PVC-U range is a solvent welded, fully matched pipework system incorporating pipe, fittings and valves. It allows for the safe transportation of many acids, alkalis and chemical concentrates without fear of corrosion or environmental pollution. PVC-U is lightweight and extremely easy to install, saving you both time and money.
Durapipe ABS combines great product features including corrosion resistance, toughness and economic benefits, providing tremendous advantages for low temperature fluid transportations. ABS is a fully matched pipework system incorporating pipe, fittings and valves; it is also extremely lightweight and much easier to handle on-site than traditional materials.
The Duracool range is a completely innovative pre-insulated ABS pipework system that is specially designed to provide reduced installation costs. Duracool is a system of pre-insulated pipe with unique shells for the fittings; it is protected by an attractive polypropylene outer casing, fitting is quick and easy eliminating the need for manual lagging and making installation an easy and convenient process.
Durapipe Air-line Xtra was specifically designed for the conveyance of compressed air. Air-line Xtra boasts a 30 year design life also meeting the requirements of the UK Pressure Systems and Transportable Container Regulations. It is manufactured from a specially formulated blend of ABS making it suitable for continuous operation at 12.5 bar at 20°C. Air-Line Xtra is an ideal choice for ensuring that air is kept clean and uncontaminated.
The Durapipe Corzan range is a C-PVC plastic pipework system for handling hot corrosive fluids. Its smooth surface is corrosion resistant making it superior to other metal pipework systems which can result in leaks, flow restrictions and possible premature system failure. Corzan offers excellent performance in highly aggressive industrial conditions, making Durapipe Corzan an ideal choice for chemically resistant piping systems.
Durapipe Polypropylene is specially designed to convey the most hazardous of chemicals at high temperatures. Some of Polypropylene’s key product features include multiple jointing options (socket fusion, butt fusion & electrofusion couplings), excellent chemical resistance. It is also extremely lightweight and easy to use. Polypropylene is ideal for a range of industrial pipe supply purposes with characteristics that are perfectly suited to process applications including pharmaceutical and chemical processing.
The Durapipe Guardian range is a completely new dual contained pipework system made from PVC-U materials. It is ideal for water and waste treatment as it allows the safe transportation of different fluids and chemical concentrates. It’s a unique system that incorporates a Centra-Lok™ system, providing solid fixed fittings and offering a true point of difference from other dual contained systems.
The final range available within the Durapipe industrial pipework systems is a dedicated fusion-welded system for the safe transfer of fuels. Durapipe PLX is suitable for use with diesel, bio-diesel and fuel oils. The PLX range represents a major innovation in pipework technology as it offers the ultimate environmental protection with maximum protection against permeation and leak free joints. Typically the PLX range is used in buildings such as hospitals, banks and data centres where there is a need for uninterrupted power supply (UPS) or emergency power. PLX offers a high performance, fusion welded, multi-layered PE pipe system offering two types of secondary containment systems.
All of these ranges are now available to buy online via the ABW Plastics website and are competitively priced with great customer service – you won’t ever need to go anywhere else for pipe, fittings and accessories. Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 6522550 to place your order or get further information.
A New Approach To Plastic Pipe & Fittings
Plastic pipe and fittings provider, ABW plastics are set to change the way that plastic pipe and fittings are sold and distributed around the UK with the launch of its new website, www.abwplastics.co.uk. With plumbing being an industry that traditionally purchases plastic pipe, fittings and supplies from the trade counter, many hours are lost which could be better spent getting on with the job in hand. Companies are now able to order via the ABW Plastics website and get next day delivery to wherever the job is based if ordered by 3pm. Additionally, companies can apply for a trade account which enables the workforce to place orders for any items needed via a laptop, smart phone or tablet, without needing to worry about payment at that specific point in time.
ABW Plastics have built a strong relationship with leading pipe and fittings manufacturer Astore, which enables them to sell to customers at a discounted rate of anything up to 75%. These kinds of discounts often mean that ordering online is much cheaper than visiting the trade centre – another benefit and another reason to take a look at www.abwplastics.co.uk.
ABW Plastics are now hoping to focus on other online channels such as social media and online advertising to help build their reputation as a leading pipe and fittings provider as well as embark on programme of continual development for both the website and the company. They are hoping that the combination of a great website, low prices and excellent customer service will be enough to secure their place in the pipe and fittings supplies market for many years to come.